The staff of Ravine Winery share their expertise and offer a brief explanation about an aspect of wine in this regular feature. So, whether you’re an expert oenophile or a newbie just finding your way around wine country, we trust you’ll enjoy. Cheers!
Chaptalization is the addition of sugars to unfermented grape juice.
The intent is to increase the alcohol percentage of the wine; it is not to make the wine sweeter.
This process was developed by Jean Chaptal, a French chemist who later became minister of the interior under Napoleon.
The legality of chaptalization depends on the wine region, however it is accepted in most cool-climate regions.
This is common practice in regions such as Burgundy and Champagne, France and also legalized in Bordeaux.
According to VQA requirements, chaptalization is allowed but it is controlled.