Byron J.— FL
Thank you for your question. How much wine conditioner to add to a wine is a question that comes up often, so I’m glad to be able to clear things up.
There is no way anyone could answer this question with accuracy. This is because you can take two different dry wines and add the same amount of wine conditioner to each and come up with different intensities of sweetness.
This is because different wines handle sweetness differently. Some of it is due to the structure of the wine: body, tannin, acidity… Some of it has to do with how much residual sweetness is in the wine, already. So, it is almost impossible for anyone to tell you how much wine conditioner to add to your wine.
Tasting wine is a subjective venture, as well. This complicates matters even further. What one person might perceive as a sweet wine, another might perceive as not being sweet at all. This is why I think it is so important for the home winemaker to learn how to make any flavor adjustments based on their own taste. It is much more valuable and practical for you to add wine conditioner based on what you think is good, than me throwing some kind of number at you. How much wine conditioner to add should be dependent upon you, not anybody else.
For this reason, I never make recommendations on how much sweetening to add anyone’s wine. Instead, I recommend that you experiment a bit. You can do this by taking a one gallon sample of the wine and adding measured amounts of wine conditioner until you arrive at a sweetness you like best. This will establish a dosage that can then be use on your other two gallons. The best part is, if you accidentally add too much wine conditioner to the gallon sample, you can blend it with the other two, and start all over. This is by far the safest and best way to add wine conditioner to a wine. It also gives you a chance to discover the amount of sweetness you think is right, for you personally.
Just so you don’t think that I’m completely blowing-off you question, I will give you some general numbers. It’s not unusual for a winemaker to use the whole pint wine conditioner to 5 gallons. I’ve also seen winemakers use 2 pints to 5 gallons, and I’ve seen many winemakers only use 1/2 a pint to 5 gallons. As you can see, how much wine conditioner one adds can vary greatly.
Also, just as a reminder, if you add any wine conditioner at all, it needs to be at least 2 oz. per gallon. Potassium sorbate is blended into the wine conditioner as a stabilizer. This helps to eliminate a chance of a re-fermentation. If you use less than the 2 ozs. of wine conditioner per gallon there will not be enough potassium sorbate in the wine to guarantee that a re-fermentation does not occur with the newly added conditioner.
In your case with 3 gallons, that means you will need to add at least 6 ozs. or none at all. If you want to add less than 2 ounce per gallon, you can do so, but you will also need to add a separate dose of potassium sorbate along with it.
Hopefully, this has given you a little better idea of how much wine conditioner to add. I’d start out by adding 6 ounce of wine conditioner to the whole batch, then do same taste on a gallon of if from there.
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.