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What is High Wine?

High wine can be used to produce spirits like whiskey and vodka.
High wine is sometimes aged in casks.
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  • Written By: Malcolm Tatum
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 20 October 2014
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High wine is a term used by distillers to describe the liquid that is produced from the distillation of what is known as low wine. While not containing as high an alcohol content as low wine, the content is still sufficiently high to allow the product to be used to produce different types of alcohol, including vodka and whiskey. The spirits can also be placed into wine casks and aged if that is the preference of the distiller.

Just about any type of wine or spirits goes through a distillation process that results in high wine at some point. Rectification or distillation occurs in any process that leads to the production of alcohol. This is true with the combination of water and sugar that ferments just prior to the beginning of the distillation process, which is commonly referred to as fermented wash. A typical wash is created using sugar derived from beets or sugar cane, and may involve the use of corn, barley, and other grains as well. High wine is also produced at one stage in the process when fruits such as grapes or berries are fermented and distilled.

After the first round of distillation, a product known as low wine is produced. A second round of distillation will produce the high wine. From that point, different types of alcohol are created, based on the number of distillations that the high wine is subjected to.

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High wine can also be kept and allowed to age. Assuming the conditions are just right, the result can be a wine with a highly desirable bouquet and a flavor that is considered to be smooth and inviting. However, adverse storage conditions can also result in allowing the high alcohol wine to develop into an unusually tart concoction that tastes a great deal like commercially produced vinegar.

The production and aging of high wine for later consumption is found in most countries around the world. Amateur winemakers who wish to enjoy a wine with a higher alcohol content than the commercial wines sold in many retail outlets produce their own high wine. Winemakers find that limiting the number of rounds in the distillation process makes it possible to produce a product that is full bodied and may contain anywhere from three to seven percent more alcohol than other wines. Still, high alcohol wines still fall under the usual twenty percent alcohol content found in low wine. There are also a number of wineries around the world that produce limited amounts of high alcohol wine for selected customers, as well as for commercial sale.

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