The addition of cane or beet sugar to wine must before or during fermentation to increase the total amount of sugar and therefore raise the final alcohol content. Chaptalization is legal and widely practiced in many cooler northern European wine regions, where cool years can lead to grapes that aren’t fully ripe and, in turn, to wines that are thin and lacking in body. By increasing the alcohol content of such wines, the winemaker can make them a bit more full bodied and make them seem a bit more substantial.

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