Winemaking throughout the ages
Until about 1756, the making of shipping wines, as Port Wines were called in those days, followed the so called 'ancient winemaking' techniques. The addition of brandy (and only in very limited amounts) only occurred after fermentation was over so that wines that were made were dry.
In 1820, a new method for adding brandy the so-called modern winemaking technique was applied whereby brandy was added to stop fermentation, thus creating a sweeter wine in the mouth. This method only became widespread in 1852 when the Ports began to take on the characteristics of the Port Wines we know today.