Can You Add More Yeast To Wine?

Wanting To Add More Yeast To This WineAfter the wine is done fermenting and it sits for a few days can I add more yeast and sugar to increase the alcohol level?

Name: Dennis
State: Missouri
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Hello Dennis,

Once your wine has successfully fermented there is never any reason to add more yeast to the wine. The wine yeast you originally added at the beginning multiplies during the fermentation. If the fermentation went as it should, there should be about 100 to 150 times the amount of wine yeast you added, originally.

If the activity has stopped it does not mean that the yeast are dead. They have just gone dormant and are settling to the bottom. They ran out of sugar to consume, so they became inactive. When more sugar is added the yeast should pick up just fine on their own. There is absolutely no reason to add more yeast to the wine.

If you have racked the wine off the sediment this is still okay. There will still be plenty of wine yeast to get the fermentation up and running, again. Adding more yeast is not necessary.

Now that we have established that there is no reason to add more yeast to the wine, I would like to bring up a little twist that could put a wrench in the works.

There is a limit to how high of an alcohol level a wine yeast can produce. Most strains of wine yeast can make it up to 12% or 13% just fine. Some strains can even produce up to 16%, faithfully. But each strain of yeast does have its limits.

Shop Wine YeastThe point here being, is if you add more sugar than your wine yeast can handle, you could end up with a sweet wine – even one that is disgustingly sweet. It is important to understand this when making high alcohol wines.

So in summary, you can add more sugar to the wine to increase the alcohol level of the wine to a point, and to answer your specific question: Can you add more yeast to wine? There is absolutely no reason to do so, your wine will still have plenty of yeast in it.

Happy Winemaking,
Ed Kraus
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Ed Kraus is a 3rd generation home brewer/winemaker and has been an owner of E. C. Kraus since 1999. He has been helping individuals make better wine and beer for over 25 years.

16 thoughts on “Can You Add More Yeast To Wine?

  1. On day 7 of fermentation in my primary my P.A.=1(from12)now I would like to add the remaining sugar that I held back(feeding the sugar) to increase alcohol level……my question is…,should I get rid of the must or leave it in my primary? Should I add the sugar and put it in a carboy?
    Thanks in advance,
    Ron Boutet

  2. Ron, you need to rack the wine away off the sediment into another primary fermenter. Dissolve the sugar into the must. Once you see the fermentation is continuing (in a day or so) rack the wine into a carboy with an air-lock.

  3. My wine has been setting for about 8 days and is not fermenting like it should can I add more yeast and sauger to make it start back it’s setting in the apples what do I need to do???

    • Catfish, the first thing that you need to do is take a hydrometer reading to see if the fermentation is already complete and that is why you are not seeing any activity . If the reading indicates that it is not finished, you need to find out why it stopped before you can correct the situation. Adding more sugar is not the solution, that will just increase the alcohol content. The following article will go over the most common causes of fermentation failure.

      Reasons For Fermentation Failure
      http://www.eckraus.com/wine-making-failure

    • Thats not even 2 weeks so its fine not to see really any progress. Give it about ruffly 14 – 16 days then see, this is to say if u have been mixing your stuff daily.

  4. All that I’ve read makes sense and has been helpful, but when you go and tell me to take a hydrometer reading…this is life changing from English to Greek… I bought a hydrometer thinking that directions came with it…not!!..Sooooooo,I put it back into the wrapping and carefully stored it where it wouldn’t get broken. By God’s grace Iam making better wine than I’ve purchased in the store…for the most part; once in a while I have a batch with a little bite in it. Thanks for the emails.

    • Craig, we do hear from a lot of people that are not sure how to use the hydrometer. However, it is not as intimidating as it seems. Since your hydrometer did not come with instructions, you might want to take a look at the article posted below that explains the scales and how to use them.

      Getting To Know Your Hydrometer
      http://www.eckraus.com/wine-making-hydrometer

  5. I have found adding more sugar seems best when added before all the original sugars are fermented. It doesn’t happen often but I’ve had a few batches over the years get stuck when I waited too long resulting in sweeter wine than I wanted.
    For about the last 5 years I add when the hydrometer reads between 1.005 and 1.010 and never had one get stuck since.
    Two words of CAUTION: 1. Don’t add more sugar then the yeasts alcohol profile can handle. I often use D-47 AND EC-1181, the D-47 can help develop a nice bouquet and the EC-1181 has a high alcohol tolerance. 2. If you add sugar before racking BE SURE there is plenty of room for expansion because it WILL foam quite a bit.
    FYI My ‘table wine’ for everyday consumption is SunCal Cabernet Sauvignon which averages 17-18% alcohol. To balance the high alcohol I use 3 cans to 12 gal. water, 2 oz. of acid blend gets my target of 3.5 ph. Yeast nutrient, energizer and tannin are per can recipe. I start with 25 lbs. sugar (OSG 1.105 [14% POTENTIAL ALCOHOL]) and add another 5lbs. @ 1.005.
    To finish the ‘balance’ I shoot for a final reading at end of fermentation of 1.010 for a semi-sweet wine with extra body and high alcohol. My daughters and I bottle in 1gal. jugs with loose caps with no re-fermentation problems.

  6. I put the yeast nutrient in after I put in my. Y yeast Will that affect My wine fermenting at a all this Is the first time I’ve ever used y yeast nutrient. Please help.

  7. My wine has been in a carboy for over 3 months. I did a hydrometer test and it never sank. Wine is really sweet. How do I get the yeast to start working again?

    • Jeff, if you are experiencing a stuck fermentation, the following article will go over the most common cause of fermentation failure. It could be a number of things causing this to occur such as the temperature. Before you correct the situation, you need to find out why it is stuck.

      Top Reasons For Fermentation Failure
      http://www.eckraus.com/wine-making-failure

  8. Hi ed I have made a batch of mead and has been fermenting for 4 weeks.It tastes Very carbonated and there is still bubbles coming to the surface and tastes quite strong in alcohol could it still be fermenting?I used bread yeast and have a hydrometer which I bought halfway through fermentation and don’t no the original reading. What should be my reading about please

    • Lee, if it tastes carbonated and there are still bubbles that tells me that it is still fermenting. When the fermentation is complete, the hydrometer specific gravity reading will be .998 or less.

  9. First time making wine from home grown grape. We rack it 3 times and it’s very clear now. But it sour but not like vinegar. Alcohol content less than 1 %. We only add 1 TBSP of sugar. I think we read the measuring sugar of must wrong. Can we add sugar right now? Or can we treat it like plain sour grape juice start all over again?

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