There’s a lot of buzz around infusion in wines nowadays. Fortified wines maybe one example of fusion (or more appropriately addition) of alcohol to wines to make it last long. Coffee infused wine are available too. Ultra modern phenomenon is cocaine & marijuana infused wines (not legal in India though).
However, infusion or additions to wine is not a recent fashion and actually dates back to ancient times. Greek and later Romans used to infuse their wines with many additives like resin etc. Portuguese even added meat during fermentation stage. Smoke was sometimes used to infuse the wine. Most popular method however was addition of the ‘product of the still’ i.e. alcohol to the wine.
These additions were mostly done to the ‘must’. And one of major reasons for this was to strengthen the wine because the wine produced in those time were inherently weak. This was because aim was to produce maximum yields from a given plot of land. More quantity affected the quality thereby resulting in thinner wines which didn’t last long – and so wine required additions to make it strong. At times the additives were so strong that wine needed to be diluted by adding water.
The other reason for using additives was (and still is) to infuse a typical flavour or even aroma. Romans even liked their wines scented.
However the recent trend is also towards pure, fruit forward, unadulterated wines (some even say no to oak). But experimenting never ends, and rightly so too.
Pic – winetrust100uk