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Port Wine Recipe

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

One of the winemaking terms for today was Port. I thought that it would be helpful for everyone if I included a recipe for making port besides the definition.




Strictly speaking, a wine made in an area of the Douro Valley, Portugal, 50 miles inland from the port town of Oporto. The name is an abbreviation of the Portuguese name Vinho do Porto or wine of Oporto. More generally, a type of wine made in the style of Port. The wine is commercially made by adding sufficient brandy at the time of fermentation to bring the strength up to some 18 percent alcohol. This is sufficient to stop further natural fermentation, which means that the wine remains sweet. After aging several years, more brandy is added to bring the alcohol up to 20-22%. Port styles are:


Tawny Port: a light reddish-brown colored wine, either a blend of red and white port or a single wine of one year and one vineyard which has become russet coloured through great age in wood.


Ruby Port: a full, deep coloured, blended wine.


White Port: made with white grapes. Sometimes the Muscatel grape predominates, in which case the wine takes on this flavour.


Late Bottled Vintage: least known port, but according to many experts it combines the best qualities of vintage and tawny ports. These wines are produced by keeping a vintage port for 8 to 15 years and then bottling it for a further period of 5 years.


Vintage Port: when a year is extra good and produces a sufficient quantity, shippers may decide to declare a vintage, or declared year. The port is shipped unblended (as with tawny and ruby) to Britain to be bottled in that country in the October, November or December exactly two years after the vintage .


  • 1 gallon can California Red Grape Concentrate
  • 12 lbs fine granulated sugar
  • 5 gallons warm water
  • 6 oz dried elderberries
  • 16 oz dried, non-glazed, banana chips
  • 2 tsp yeast energizer
  • 3 oz acid blend
  • 5 crushed Campden tablets
  • 1 pkg Port wine yeast

Prepare yeast starter 3 days in advance according to instructions on yeast packet.

Separate banana chips in primary, add elderberries, grape concentrate, water, 1/2 sugar (6 lbs), yeast energizer, acid blend, and crushed Campden tablets.

Stir well to dissolve sugar, cover well, and wait 24 hours. Add yeast starter and stir gently once a day.

When specific gravity is 1.040, draw off 4-6 cups of must, slowly dissolve additional 3 lbs of sugar into it, then stir it into primary.

When S.G. is at 1.030, strain out elderberries and banana chips and siphon wine into secondary. Attach air lock and check S.G. daily.

When S.G. is at 1.010, draw off another 4-6 cups of must and slowly dissolve remaining 3 lbs of sugar into it. Gently add this back into secondary.

Rack as deposits form, but not more often that every three weeks. When no more deposits form, allow one month for wine to clear. If wine fails to clear, stabilize wine and add fining according to instructions for particular fining agent. Wait 10 days, rack wine one last time, sweeten to taste, then add 60 oz brandy and bottle wine.

Age one year before tasting or using for cooking.

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