Fortified Wines

Born of the need to protect wines on long sea voyages, fortified wines were created. As trade expanded in the 16th and 17th Centuries to finally encompass the whole globe, many of the wines from Europe became spoiled on their long journeys across the oceans. To counteract this problem, wine makers took up the practice of adding measures of brandy to stabilize the wine.

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This is done either before or during the fermentation process depending on the type of wine being made. These new fortified wines were then better able to withstand the rigors of a long journey in the hold of a ship and the wildly fluctuating temperatures they would encounter.

Once these wines reached their destination, they were often preferred to the regular wine normally served, because of their higher alcohol content, robust flavors and firm texture. As a result, a new wine was encouraged and was continued to be made long after the need for fortification was necessary.

Pour with Confidence! Since 1990 The California Wine Club has featured the best of California’s small, artisan wineries.

Each month features a different winery and includes:

- Two bottles of limited production, award-winning wine
- Entertaining and informative 12 page club magazine, Uncorked
- A 100% satisfaction guarantee
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These wines generally contain between 17 and 21 percent alcohol. As a result, they are more stable than ordinary table wines and less likely to spoil once they have been opened. The best-known examples are Port, Sherry, Madeira, Marsala, Málaga and Montilla-Moriles.

Málaga & Montilla-Moriles

From the province of Andalucia in the south of Spain along the Mediterranean coast, are Málaga & Montilla-Moriles. Though cousins to Sherry, they are distinctly different in style. Málaga is on the Costa del Sol and gives its name to wine that is made but not grown there. The growing areas are in the hills 30 miles (50km) north of the city – hence its eighteenth-century name, "Mountain," as it became known in America and Britain – and about the same distance west. The two principle grapes are Pedro Ximénez and Moscatel.

For more than 25 years, The California Wine Club founders Bruce and Pam Boring have explored all corners of California’s wine country to find award-winning, handcrafted wine to share with the world. Each month, the club features a different small family winery and hand selects two of their best wines for members.

The regulations state that the grapes must be brought in to Málaga to age in its warehouses, to qualify for the DO. This rich, sweet, raisiny wine was traditionally made by leaving the grapes out in the sun on grass mats for 7 to 20 days to concentrate the natural sugars. Today, other methods – the addition of boiled-down must (Arrope) and arresting the fermentation with grape spirit – are also employed to achieve the same effect.