The Sweet Life


A Margaret River wine symposium is shining light on one of the world’s sweetest drops. Happs Wines manager and viticulturalist Leah Clearwater tells Fabric about this tasty tipple.






FQ: Sweet wine might be easy to drink, but it’s not easy to make.

LC: Many people might assume that sweet wine is made by creating a normal dry wine first and then adding sugar to it, however this is not the case. Sweet wines are crafted by stopping fermentation at a certain point before the yeast has converted all the natural grape sugars into alcohol, which leaves “residual sugar” and resulting sweetness in the wine. Stopping the fermentation and preventing it from starting up again is a tricky process which requires technology, skill and experience. You’ll find that most wineries won’t divulge the secret of their sweet-wine making techniques – these are kept safely guarded.


FQ: What’s your favourite food to eat with sweet wine?

LC: Although most people might think of dessert or a cheese course as the best pairing with sweeter styles, I really enjoy matching a semi-sweet wine with a spicy curry; the sweetness and freshness of the wine offsets and complements the heat and rich flavours of the dish.


FQ:A sweet wine symposium is heading to Happ on October 20-21. Tell us more.

LC: There are huge number of people in Australia enjoying sweeter wines every week, so we’d like to hold an event to celebrate this. We will be pouring wines from all over Australia at the event; from off-dry styles (only slightly sweet) right through to rich ports. We’ve already had some big names such as Brown Brothers and d’Arenberg express their interest, as well as smaller players who want to be part of this inaugural event. We’re hoping that sweet wine lovers will come out of the woodwork and come along to taste a range of wines they won’t get to try at any other wine event in WA.


Visit – Happs Wines