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Czech winemakers to add sugar to wine to boost alcohol

Staff writer ▼ | November 8, 2014
The European Commission has allowed winemakers in the Czech Republic and other EU countries to use sugar to increase the alcohol content in their wine.
Czech wine
Enrichment   After poor weather season
The decision comes after winemakers complained that due to poor weather conditions this season, the natural content of sugar in grapes would be too low.

The EU authorities have announced they approved a request from winemakers in the Czech Republic, Austria, Belgium, Germany, France and seven other countries to use sugar in the wine-making process to increase the volume of alcohol in the final product.

Known as enrichment, the adding of sugar to fermenting grape juice is applied when the natural sugar content in the grapes is too low and would inhibit fermentation or greatly diminish the alcohol content in the wine.

The wet and cold summer with a lack of sunshine this year has negatively affected the quality of grapes, diminishing the volume of sugar. In the Czech Republic, some 40 percent of grapes, mainly some of the varieties, had to be harvested early due to a heightened risk of mould.

Winemakers in Moravia as well as many other wine regions of Europe therefore applied for an exception to the rules which limit the amount of sugar that can be added. Moravia is included in the EU’s wine making zone B where up to 3 kilos of sugar can be added to 100 litres of grape juice.