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Sprites

to fortify (GB)
muter (F)
alcolizzare (I)

Term (also spraying) for the addition of mostly pure alcohol to grape must or wine. The term is derived from spirit or esprit (French spirit). However, the term sprit is not defined by wine law; the relevant legal texts always refer to "addition of alcohol". This form of winemaking has an old tradition, mainly in southern countries such as Italy, France, Greece, Portugal and Spain, and was formerly used mainly to make the wine more durable. This is why it is also called fortification (fortification, reinforcement). If this takes place during fermentation, it is stopped prematurely and a correspondingly high proportion of residual sugar is retained, which is the main reason today (in contrast to the enrichment of must with sugar with the aim of increasing the alcohol content).

The addition of alcohol can take place before or shortly after (for a mistela or vin de liqueur), during (for port or vin doux naturel) or even after (for sherry) fermentation. Depending on the time of addition, those substances that are only formed at the end of the fermentation - for example glycerine - may not be produced, which is prevented by stopping the fermentation. Depending on the method and type of wine, alcohol content can reach 20% vol. and more. For example, enriching with alcohol is common for different varieties of Madeira, Malaga, Marsala, Port, Rancio, Samos and Sherry wines, as well as for liqueur wines.

Complete lists of the numerous vinification measures or cellar techniques, as well as the various types of wine, sparkling wine and distillate regulated by wine law are included under the heading "Vinification". Comprehensive information on wine law can be found under the keyword wine law.

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