Whether you are making a wine ingredient kit such as the ones we sell from WinExpert or Cellar Craft or whether you are making a wine from fruit, we get questions about how and when to sweeten wine.
Commercial wines vinted by wineries (plus a few wine ingredient kits) and intended to be finished as a sweet wine sometimes have the fermentation process stopped by the winemaker and the sweetness of the wine derives from residual sugars remaining in the wine.
Most times, however, wines (commercial wines and wine ingredient kits for home winemakers) are fermented completely dry or to very close to completely dry and then are sweetened post-fermetation.
Is the procedure of stopping a fermentation early (the wine is not yet dry) a practice that you should attempt on a batch of homemade wine from fruit or a purchased wine ingredient kit? We consider this way of making sweet wine an advanced winemaking technique and really do recommend against this unless you have developed the expertise to make sweet wine this way or unless the ingredient kit you purchased is intended to be made this way.
Our recommendation is that your wine be fermented to dry or to virtually dry. The wine should then be treated with a preservative (sodium metabisulphite or potassium metabisulphite) and a yeast stabilizer (potassium sorbate) and then sweetened to taste.
You can sweeten your wine in two ways. You can purchase a commercial sweetener (such as WinExpert's Wine Conditioner) or you can make your own sugar syrup by heating two cups of sugar and one cup of water in a saucepan until the sugar is completely dissolved. This sugar syrup can then be gradually added to your wine (add, stir, taste) and repeat until you reach the desired sweetness level.
Have questions about sweetening wine? You can e-mail your questions to me at firstname.lastname@example.org or to email@example.com. Visit us on the web at www.bluestemwine.com for a complete line of winemaking and home brewing equipment, supplies, ingredients and ingredient kits. We offer prompt, friendly service and are always willing to take the time to help with any questions or concerns.