Dried-Grape Wines

Appears in
Oxford Companion to Wine

By Jancis Robinson

Published 2006

  • About

dried-grape wines, varied and growing category of generally intense, complex, often sweet wines made from partially raisined grapes. The production technique, involving either leaving the grapes to raisin on the vine or picking and then drying them by various methods, is associated with most of the celebrated wines of antiquity. This early concentration technique continues one of the oldest traditions in the gastronomic world.

In the classical world this winemaking style may well have evolved because of problems of wine conservation, particularly for wines traded and consumed outside their area of origin, semi-dried grapes naturally resulting in sweeter, stronger and therefore more stable wines. (botrytized wines and the technique of fortification were developed many centuries later.) The dried grape tradition has proved particularly resilient close to its origins, notably in Italy.