I have a batch of peach wine and a batch of pear wine in 5 gallon glass jugs ready to bottle. Both need to be sweetened at bottling time to bring out more of the fruit flavor. Please explain to this rookie exactly how you sweeten the wine as you bottle it. Do you add the sugar/water solutions to each bottle or do you add to the 5 gallon glass jugs, stir, and then bottle?? Same question on how to add the chemicals to prevent re-fermentation and oxidation. And, is plain sugar OK to sweeten with?
Thanks, ready to bottle in Missouri...
The first thing that needs to happen before you do anything to your homemade wine is to make sure that it has completed its fermentation. This takes more than just a visual inspections. This needs to be verified with a gravity hydrometer. The specific gravity reading on the hydrometer should be .998 or lower. If it is not, then your wine is not yet ready to be sweetened.
Essentially, the sugar needs to be added to your wine while it is in bulk. Adding the sugar per wine bottle is not practical nor is it necessary. It is also important to note that you will also want to have the wine siphoned out of the glass jugs and off the sediment before adding the sugar--a process called racking--otherwise unwanted sediment could be stirred up into your wine.
Almost everyone that sweetens their wine uses cane sugar, but what you choose to use is open for experimentation. Honey, grape concentrate, corn sugar can all be experimented with. Just remember that once it's in the wine it won't be coming back out. For this reason you may want to do a test batch before adding the sweetener to the rest of the wine. Maybe take a gallon of the wine off and sweeten that first.
Anytime you add a sugar to sweeten a homemade wine you will also want to add potassium sorbate to help eliminate the chance of the wine brewing again. And, anytime you bottle a wine you will want to add sodium metabisulfite to help keep the wine from turning color and/or spoiling.
The best way to add these wine making ingredients is to pre-dissolve them in a small amount of the wine first. Then blend that solution into the rest of the wine. You will want to bottle the wine right after blending the ingredients thoroughly.
The article, Making Sweet Wines, may be of some interest to you. It goes through all of this in more detail, so you might be worth taking a look.
Happy Wine Making,