What are stickies?

A. A type of sticky yeast that clumps together readily and is therefore easy to disgorge when making sparkling wine

B. The slang term for thin sticks of oak that are left over after American oak barrels are made

C. A sticky plant-based “tape” commonly used in grafting to bind a bud to a rootstock

D. The colloquial name for sweet and sweet fortified wines in Australia


Stickies are the affectionate name Australians give to their country’s famous sweet and sweet fortified wines. There are several types. The most sensational, rare, and insanely delicious are Australia’s sweet fortified Muscats and Topaques, made in Rutherglen, a tiny district (once known for gold mining) in the state of Victoria. The Muscats are made from the white grape Muscat Blanc à Petits Grains; the Topaques, from the white grape Muscadelle.  These wines have unreal, hard-to-describe flavors reminiscent of toffee, brown sugar, dates, figs, vanilla, molasses, mushrooms, honey and exotic spices. Next are Australian Port-style wines, now called Australian fortified tawnies, usually made with Shiraz, Grenache, and/or Mourvèdre. They surge with dramatic, voluptuous, nutty, caramelly, chocolate, espresso, brown sugar, citrus, and spice flavors. There are also sweet fortified wines known as aperas (Sherry-style wines), usually made using two Spanish grapes, Palomino and Pedro Ximénez,. Made in minute quantities, the best come pretty close to having the finesse, complexity, and flavor of true Spanish Sherry. And finally, Australia also makes sensational botrytised wines from grapes like Semillon and Riesling.

Get WineSpeed

Join tens of thousands of other wine lovers. Get each week’s edition of WineSpeed delivered to your inbox every Friday. It’s fast. It’s free. It’s the smartest way to stay up to speed on wine.
Email address
First Name
Last Name
Be sure to check your inbox to confim your subscription.