Süssreserve

Let’s talk about a little technique that I have dubbed, “The Dr. Seuss Method” Hence, the image below. Har har, I’m so clever.

Moving on…Did you know that Germans actually add sterilized grape juice to their finished wine? Sacre bleu!! How can it be possible? I balked at this fact when I first heard about the German practice, too. But it actually makes a lot of sense once we break it down.

Overall, Germany does not produce wines with very high alcohol content. Mostly, you find wines with 7-12% alcohol. Germany is very cold and vineyards are usually at higher altitudes. Because there the grapes are exposed to a colder climate where there’s not a lot of sun year-round, the grapes have very low sugar levels.

To combat the low sugar factor and preserve the sweetness of their wines, Germans developed the Süssreserve method. They literally “doctor” the finished, fermented wine by adding sterilized grape juice. This increases the sweetness of the final wine and also dilutes the alcohol somewhat. Süssreserve allows winemakers to fully ferment the wine without having to worry about stopping fermentation before all the sugar has gone.

Two other important things to note about Süssreserve:  The grape juice must be sterilized so it does not begin to ferment after it is added to the wine. Also, by law, the final wine can contain no more than 15% Süssreserve by volume.

The technique has decreased in popularity with the trend toward drier wines. But if you can, try to get your hands on some German wine with added grape juice. Like Dr. Suess, the Dr. Süss Method definitely has a different way of doing things, but people seem to love it!