The addition of cane or beet sugar to wine MUST before or during FERMENTATION in order to increase the total amount of sugar and hence raise the potential ALCOHOL content. Chaptalization is legal and widely practiced in many cooler northern European wine regions, where cool vintage years in some years 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 fuller bodied and therefore make them seem more substantial. Chaptalization is not permitted in many warm wine regions, including California, where it is not needed but could be used to produce cheap wines high in alcohol but with virtually no flavor.


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