Adding More Grape Concentrate To Wine

Fading Grape ConcentrateI am getting ready to make 10 gallons of wine from 2 cans of Sun Cal Johannisberg Riesling concentrate. My question is would an additional can of Sun Cal Riesling really improve the fullness of the wine or would not really be worth the investment of shipping another can of concentrate? I have made a batch of this wine several years ago and it turn out pretty good. Hope you can help…

Name: Vincent O.
State: IA
Hello Vincent,

Thanks you for this interesting question.

[To catch up other readers, Sun Cal concentrated grape juices come in 46 fl. oz. cans. Each can makes 5 gallons of wine when you follow the directions. Along with the can, sugar, acid blend, tannin, yeast nutrient and yeast are added to make up the wine recipe. Vincent, wants to push the envelop a little by adding more grape concentrate to his wine. He’s making a double batch, 2 cans to 10 gallons. He’s thinking about adding a third can.]

Without question, adding a third can would bring up the body and flavor of the wine, but the perceived impression of the resulting wine would not be one with 50% more flavor and body. Adding more grape concentrate to the wine would only intensify the wine’s flavor only marginally.

This is because of the way us humans tend to perceive things. All of our senses do not react on an even scale. For example, two jet engines side-by-side are not twice as loud as one. If you double the wattage of a light bulb, it does not seem twice as bright. If you add 50% more concentrate to your wine recipe, it will not seem like 50% more flavor.Shop Grape Concentrate

I’m not saying that adding more grape concentrate to the wine is not a good idea, I’m just letting you know what to expect if you do decide to add more. Whether you feel it would be worth it is completely up to you. You can expect more flavor and body, but it will not be 50% more.

We’ve had many customers over the years that have used 2, and even, 3 cans of Sun Cal concentrate to just 5 gallons and loved the resulting wine.

Another important aspect to this that needs to be addressed is that if you do decide to add more grape concentrate to your wine, you will need to compensate by adding less sugar and less acid blend to the wine recipe. This is because the additional can of grape concentrate is adding both more sugar and more fruit acid.

Regardless, of how much flavor you are trying to get, the sugar level and acid level should always remain the same. The beginning sugar level determines how much alcohol the resulting wine will have. The acid level of the wine controls how tart or sharp the wine will be.

Keeping both of these at their proper level is relatively easy. You will need to use a hydrometer to add the proper amount of sugar. Keep dissolving sugar into wine must until the hydrometer gives you a reading on the potential alcohol scale of 10% or 11%.Shop Wine Kits

An acid test kit will be needed to know how much acid blend to add to the wine recipe for proper taste. An acid test kit is a valuable tool for controlling any wine’s acidity. After taking a reading the directions will show you how to determine how much acid blend to add.

Adding more grape concentrate to wine is something that is pretty simple to do. Plus, it’s away fun to experiment. That’s half the fun of making your own wine. You have the opportunity to make your own personal creations.

Happy Winemaking,
Ed Kraus
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.

Using Artificial Sweeteners To Sweeten Wine

Artificial Sweeteners To Sweeten WineI am a diabetic, but my doctor has suggested 2 glasses of wine a night. Can I use artificial sweeteners to sweeten my wines after the fermentation has stopped? Will it affect the aging after bottling?

Name: Frank
State: TX
Hello Frank,

There is nothing that suggest that artificial sweeteners affect the aging process, or aging-chemistry, of a wine. So from this perspective it is fine to add artificial sweeteners to sweeten wine at bottling time. But there are some other factors that come into play, depending on what kind of artificial sweetener you are planing on using to sweeten your homemade wine.

Not all artificial sweeteners are the same:

  • Sweet’n Low™: the main ingredient is saccharin. Saccharin will artificially sweeten your wine, but it will not permanently mix with the wine. If given enough time, such as when aging, the saccharin will drop to the bottom. When commercial products, such as Tab used saccharin as a sweetener, they also added a binder to keep it suspended. Us home winemakers do not have this luxury available to us.
  • Equal™: the main ingredient is aspartame. This artificial sweetener will sweeten wine as well as it will sweeten coffee or tea. It does have an Achille’s heel, however it does not stay stable for longer periods of time. Once in a liquid, it will slowly start to lose its sweetening effect. This is why sodas sweetened with aspartame will sometimes taste bitter if they are too old or stored in the heat. While you can store your wine in extremely cool places to slow down the lose of sweetness, this extremely cool temperature will also slow down the natural aging process of the wine. A more minor consideration is that Equal™ also contains a small amount of dextrose (corn sugar) and maltodextrin. Both of these ingredients can cause a very small fermentation with in the wine bottle. Not enough to be a direct problem, but possibly enough the give the wine a detectable amount of effervescence. For this reason, if you do decide to use Equal™ to sweeten your wine, I would also recommend adding potassium sorbate to eliminate any re-fermentation within the wine bottle.Shop Potassium Sorbate
  • NutraSweet™: again the main ingredient is aspartame so you have the same stability issues as with Equal™, but NutraSweet™ also as a second artificial sweetener, neotame. This artificial sweetener is a little more stable than aspartame, so between the two, NutraSweet™ would be your best artificial sweetener to sweeten wine. It would stay sweeter longer in your wines.
  • Splenda™: the main ingredient is sucralose. Sucralose is a molecularly modified form of sugar. The sugar is altered in a way that makes it very hard for the body to metabolize. It’s main strength is that it is stable. If used in your wine, it will always remain just as sweet as the day you added it. It binds with the wine, so you don’t need to worry about it separating out such as with saccharin.The main downfall is that, if given enough time, the enzymes that are left over from your wine’s fermentation can break down some of the sucralose into a simple sugar. If there are still residual yeast cells in the wine, you could have a slight fermentation in the wine bottle because of this. Also, like other artificial sweeteners, Splenda™ has dextrose and maltodextrin added as bulking agents to keep if fluffy. Just like with Equal™, these can also contribute to the possibility of fermentation in the bottle, so again potassium sorbate is recommend to keep the wine stable.
  • Stevia: This is a natural ingredient derived from a plant. There are some winemakers that are claiming great success with sweetening their wine with this product. I do not know how stable it is, but I’ve heard no complaints with losing sweetness over time, nor have I heard complaints of re-fermentation in the wine bottle. Having said this, price seems to be a major issue. There are many brands that offer this product in varying forms. Some cut with sugar; some cut with maltodextrin. You want to get the stevia as pure as you can — at least 95%. Currently, brands that offer this form of stevia are commanding prices in the range of $0.80 to $1.00 per ounce. Depending on how much stevia you need to use to sweeten your wine, this could be cost prohibitive.

The best advice I can give you is to go ahead and use any artificial sweetener to sweeten wine you like, but don’t add it until you are ready to drink the wine. The effects on the wine are identical and you don’t have to worry about all the potential problems these artificial sweeteners can bring. If you have your heart set on sweetening the wine at bottling time, then I might consider stevia as a trial. Take a portion of the wine off, say a gallon, and sweeten that to see how you like it.

Thanks for the great question, Frank. Hope everything works out for you.

Happy Winemaking,
Ed Kraus
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.

Prickly Pear Wine Recipe For Tammy…

Prickly PearI am about to make my first batch of Prickly Pear Wine. One of the lovely people at your company e-mailed some information and a wine recipe, but I seem to have misplaced it. I have five gallons of prickly pear juice in my freezer that I will use for the wine and other wine recipes this year.

The five gallons of juice I have in the freezer came from approximately 105 pounds of fresh fruit from the Sonoran Desert area in Arizona over a three year period.

Can you please send me the prickly pear wine recipe again and a guideline about using the juice versus the fresh fruit? I have everything but the additives like wine yeast, sulfites, etc.

mrs. “t”

Name: Tammy T.
State: Arizona
Hello Tammy,

Sounds like you’ve got things lined up and ready to go except for the prickly pear wine recipe, itself. Sorry to hear you lost it, but that’s no big deal. I’ll just give it to you again, down below.

Any of the wine recipes you run across will list the fruit or produce in pounds or chopped volume. That’s just the way it is, and so it goes with the wine recipe below. It calls for 3 quarts of prickly pear, chopped.

You mentioned that 105 pounds of prickly pear resulted in 5 gallons of juice. Now all you need to know is how much 3 quarts of chopped prickly pears weighs and divide that into the 105 pounds to calculate how much of the juice you need to use.


Prickly Pear Wine Recipe
(1 Gallon)

3 Quarts – Prickly Pear (Chopped)Shop Strainers
1-1/4 Cup – Raisins (Chopped)
2 Pints – Water
2 Pounds – Cane Sugar
2 Teaspoons – Acid Blend
1/4 Teaspoon – Pectic Enzymes
3/4 Teaspoon – Yeast Energizer
1 – Campden Tablet (Crushed)
1 Packet – Wine Yeast (Premier Classique)

You can follow the directions at the following link to our website: How To Make Homemade Wine

Happy Winemaking,
Ed Kraus
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.

Basic Wine Making Equipment List For Beginners

Connoisseur Wine Making KitIf you want to jump right into making wine without using a pre-made wine making kit, it can be done just fine. But there are certain pieces of equipment that you should have. With that in mind I’ve put together a basic wine making equipment list for beginners.

  • Primary & Secondary Fermenters/Carboys:  These can be made of plastic or glass, with both having pros and cons to using either one, and are used for the fermentation of your wine. A primary fermenter is used for the first 5 to 7 days of fermentation. The secondary fermenter is used to finish the fermentation.
  • Air Lock & Rubber Stopper:  The rubber stopper is used to attach the air-lock to the top of the secondary fermenter. The rubber stopper has a hole in the center to which the air lock is placed. The air-lock allows gases to escape from the secondary fermentation without allowing: air, bugs, mold, bacteria and other little nasties from getting in.
  • Spoon: You need a long stirring spoon so that you can reach in the fermenters and stir the wine.  May not seem all that important now, but once you get in the middle of making your wine having a long-handled spoon will be one piece of wine making equipment you’ll be glad you got. Stirring allows you to mix the wine making ingredients and break up any pulp that may rise to the top during the primary fermentation.
  • Siphon Hose and Racking Cane:  These are pieces of equipment that are needed for the transfer of your wine from one fermentation vessel to another, and also from carboy to bottle.  The siphon hose ensures a smooth transfer from one vessel to the next, while the racking cane allows you to point where you are drawing the wine from.Shop Wine Bottle Corkers
  • Wine Thief:  The wine thief is great for taking small samples of wine out of your fermenter in order to test for various things like pH, specific gravity, or to just give the wine a little taste! If your fermenters happen to have a spigot on them, this will be one of wine making equipment you can scratch off your list. Just take your samples for testing from the spigot.
  • Wine Hydrometer:  Once you take a sample of wine out from the fermentation, you can test the specific gravity of the wine in order to determine if the fermentation is complete, or if you need to make a few adjustments before moving on.  The wine hydrometer will help you measure specific gravity with ease, and is a piece of equipment you really can’t go without.
  • Acid Test Kit:  Using a sample of wine, you can test its acid level with an acid test kit to determine if it’s where you want it to be, or if you need to make a few adjustments. Wines too high in acid taste sharp or tart. Wines too low in acid taste flat and insipid. If you have a reliable wine recipe you are following or are making wine from a wine ingredient kit this may not be necessary, but otherwise, you should absolutely have this on your wine making equipment list.
  • Wine Bottles and Corks:  Shop FermentersYou’ll need lots of clean wine bottles and wine bottle corks so you can put your finished wine into bottles and seal them for storage and later consumption! You can get by with using mushroom corks, but if you want to use a standard wine bottle cork you will need a wine bottle corker to press them into the wine bottle.
  • Cleaners/Sanitizers:  Keeping your wine making equipment free of contaminants is important. Residual amounts of mold or bacteria can potentially grow and spoil a wine. This is why you should sanitize any equipment that come into contact with the wine. Cleaners such as Basic A work will for this purpose.

There are plenty of pieces of home winemaking equipment that we didn’t mention that could also help you in your craft, though acquiring what’s on the list above will allow you to get off on the right foot and create a fantastic homemade wine!
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.

5 Things You Should Know About Acid Blend

Acid Blend For Wine MakingAcid Blend is a granulated blend of the three most commonly found fruit acids: citric acid, malic acid, and tartaric acid. It is added directly to a wine or must to raise its acidity level when necessary. The acidity of a wine is the tart or sharp taste. Wines too low in acid are flat or flabby tasting. Wines too high in acid are tart or sharp tasting.

Here are 5 helpful things you should know about Acid Blend.

  1. Always Know How Much Acid Blend To Add:
    Never guess at how much Acid Blend you should be using. Either have a wine recipe that tells you how much Acid Blend to add, or use and Acid Testing Kit to determine how much Acid Blend is needed to bring the wine into a respectable range.
  1. One Teaspoon Of Acid Blend Will Raise One Gallon By .15%:
    An Acid Testing Kit will measure acidity in terms of percentage by weight. With most wines you will want an acidity level in the .55% to .70% range. Once you know your wine’s current acidity level, you can use the .15%, per teaspoon, per gallon, rule to know how much Acid Blend you need to add.
  1. Acid Blend Is Easy To Add But Very Difficult To Take Out:
    If there is ever any question as to how much Acid Blend you should be adding, always error to the low side. You can easily add more later. It’s effects are instant. But if you add too much, the process for getting it out is, quite frankly, a big pain.
  1. The Acid Level Of A Wine Can Change During A Fermentation:
    It’s not unusual for some acid to drop out of the wine during a fermentation. Conversely, the fermentation can make acid to replace what is lost. Shop Acid Test KitWith these two things in mind it is possible for the acidity level to slightly rise or fall during a fermentation. For this reason you may need to do a second adjustment to the wine just before bottling.
  1. Wine Ingredient Kits Do Not Call For Acid Blend At All:
    If you are using wine making juices in the form of box ingredient kits to make your wine, you do not need to add Acid Blend to your wine. You do not need to worry about taking acid level readings. This is because the producers of these kits have already tested and adjusted the acidity level for you. They have it corrected perfectly for the type of wine you are making.

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.

3 Reasons Why A Wine Can Turn Cloudy

Clear White WineI am new to making white wine (past 3 seasons). I have made red for about 10 years. I use fresh California grape wine juices in Sept. I have not figured out how to keep my whites from clouding after bottling. I rack several times then cold stabilize and rack several more times and the wine is clear. Any suggestions on where I might be going wrong.

Name: Jerry
State: NY
Hello Jerry,

There are only three ways that a white wine can turn cloudy once it has already been clear. I will go over them in some detail, but it will be up to you to determine which one or which ones are responsible.

  1. Sediment From The Original Fermentation:
    You mentioned that you have racked the wine several times, and that the wine was clear at bottling time. This is all well and good, but it is important to understand that a wine can look perfectly clear and still have a lot of wine yeast cells still floating around in it. This is why that once you rack a wine off its sediment you may want to give it some additional time, like a day or two, to make sure that sediment is still not occurring before actually bottling the wine. This same hold’s true for red wines.
    Using a fining agent can help with dropping out stubborn sediment. A good one for white wines is Isinglass. And lastly, never bottle your wine directly off the sediment. Always bottle your wine from a sediment-free fermenter. That means racking the wine off the sediment before starting the bottling process.
  1. A Re-Fermentation In The Wine Bottle:
    If the wine decides to ferment again while in the bottle, it is going to turn cloudy from the new yeast that is created. A re-fermentation can occur if the original fermentation did not complete. It can also occur if you added sugar at bottling time without adding potassium sorbate to stabilize the wine.
    AShop Wine Clarifiers quick check with a wine hydrometer to confirm that the fermentation has completed before bottling should always be done. Doing so will eliminate this type of issue, and always use potassium sorbate when sweetening a wine before bottling. Fortunately, it is easy to determine if this is the reason your wine turned cloudy. You will also notice pressure building up in the wine bottle. This is the CO2 gas from the re-fermentation.
  1. Precipitation From The Wine:
    Precipitation occurs when particles are created within the wine itself — out of thin air, so to speak. There are two major kinds of precipitants that can be created by a wine. The first is acid, primarily tartaric acid. The second is protein, primarily tannin. Tartaric precipitation is normally associated with white wines. Protein precipitation is normally associated with reds.
    Precipitation happens because more of the substance is in the wine than the wine can hold in a saturated form. Given time, either of these substances can form sediment in the bottle and cause your wine to turn cloudy. Acid precipitation will look like tiny crystals, similar to a fine salt. Protein precipitation will look like a fine dust or flour. In the case of your white wine, the color would be beige to brown. In a red wine it would be dark red to black.
    Precipitation is even more likely to occur if the wine is being stored too cold or too hot. Chilling the wine may induce the creation of acid crystals; heating the wine may induce the creation of tannin particulates.You mentioned that you cold stabilized the wine, but if you see crystals forming in the bottom of the wine bottle, it is very likely that you need to chill the longer.Shop Potassium Sorbate

Jerry, there are really no other reasons why a bottle of grape wine would turn cloudy. If you where adding water to the wine must then you would want to consider too much iron in the water as the problem. This could form a condition called ferric casse. But since you are making wine from wine grapes, I am assuming that you are not adding water.

I would suggest reviewing your steps and see if any of the above 3 could possibly apply to your situation. Another blog post that you may want to read that answers your question in a different way is, Sediment In My Wine Bottles. This may be something that you may want to take a look at as well.

Best Wishes,
Ed Kraus
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.

Making Wine Without Sulfites

A Wine Made Without SulfitesI have a sister who has a serious bronchial reaction to drinking wine made with sulfite. I have a neighbor who’s making wine without sulfites to kill the yeast at the end. He simply waits until it dies of starvation. My sister has no reaction to his wine. I have discovered that boiling the must before starting the yeast without using sulfite is sufficient to start the process. Now I would like to find a method of killing the yeast when I want to stop the process. I thought perhaps I could use a high temperature to kill the yeast at the end, but I don’t know how high that temperature would have to be. Can you help me?

Name: Frits D.
State: Arkansas
Hello Frits,

There seems to be a little bit of confusion. The reason that sulfites are added to any wine after the fermentation is to keep the wine from spoiling – to keep it fresh – not stop a fermentation. A fermentation should run its course until the sugars are all gone, starvation as you say. Sulfites can slow a domesticated wine yeast, but it can not consistently stop it completely, and therefor is not dependable for this purpose.

With that being said, making wine without sulfites is simple. The hard part is keeping the wine from degrading or spoiling after it has been made.

To start off the fermentation, I do not recommend boiling the juice or wine must. When you heat a juice you are promoting oxidation. This can cause the wine to turn color, usually orange or brown. It can also affect the wine’s flavor by adding a caramel to raisin note to it.

The one time I think you should add sulfites is before the fermentation — even if you are making wine without sulfites. Any free sulfite that is in the wine at this point will be long gone by the time the fermentation has completed. The sulfite will readily dissipate as a gas. Why not take advantage of that fact?Shop Wine Kits

This applies to making wine from fresh fruits and juices. If you are making wine from a juice concentrate, then no treatment or sulfite is required at all. For this reason, you may want to consider taking this avenue. Currently, we have over 200 different juice concentrates to choose from.

As for keeping the wine from spoiling after the fermentation, one solution is to always keep the wine refrigerated. It’s simple and effective. The bad part is you need to dedicate most, or all, of a refrigerator to this method. This is one reason why hardly anyone is making wine without sulfites.

A second option that will significantly reduce the risk of spoilage is filtering the wine with ultra-fine filtration. This mean filtering down to 0.5 microns. This is a lot finer than letting the wine drip through a coffee filter. That would only be 20 to 25 microns. Filtering down to 0.5 microns requires the use of an actual wine filter, one that can force the wine under pressure through extremely fine pads. You are literally filtering out over 99% of the wine yeast along with mold spores and bacteria.

The MiniJet wine filter would be the way to go for this purpose. It is important to realize that before using any wine filter, the wine should be finished dropping out sediment, naturally. It should look visually clear before filtering.

Shop Mini Jet Wine FilterAlso, keep in mind that you will want to be vigilant towards keeping the winemaking area sanitary. All the equipment and anything else that comes into contact with the wine needs to be as clean and sterile as possible. There are a whole host of cleansers and sanitizers you can use to do this safely. This is a critical part to making wine without sulfites.

As a final note, there is no such thing as making a wine without any sulfites at all. In part, because sulfite is actually produced during the fermentation. It’s a natural byproduct of the fermentation. The best you can do is to keep the sulfites to a level low. You can expect to see a fermentation produce a wine with 10 to 15 PPM (parts-per-million). When adding sulfites as normally directed the wine will end up with 50 to 75 PPM.

As you can see, making wine wine without sulfites can be easily done. It’s the extra care that needs to be taken to keep the wine fresh and free from spoilage that makes it difficult. But, if you are willing to be sanitary, filter the wine and/or store the wine under refrigeration… it can be done!

I hope this information helps you out.

Happy Winemaking,
Ed Kraus
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.

Is Rehydrating Wine Yeast Really Necessary?

Rehydrating Dried Wine YeastYou mentioned once that you don’t recommend rehydrating wine yeast, but I couldn’t find a follow-up or reasons why. My supplier in the KC area says they always rehydrate as do most wine yeast packs. I’ve tried both ways and haven’t noticed a difference other than rehydrated yeast usually starts working quicker. I am confused….

Name: Lynn T.
State: KS
Hello Lynn,

There is nothing wrong with rehydrating the dried wine yeast. Just as you have stated, the fermentation will start off more quickly by a few hours. Some winemakers will refer to this rehydration process as waking up the wine yeast. But if someone came up to me and asked, is rehydrating yeast necessary? My answer would be a definite, no.

The reason I don’t generally recommend rehydrating dried wine yeast in passing is because of the potential for accidentally killing the wine yeast during the rehydration process. We run into this issue quite often, particularly with beginning winemakers.

It is usually because the water was way too hot and not checked and controlled with a thermometer, or the dried wine yeast was left in the warm water way too long because they didn’t use a timer. Both temperature and time are critical to the rehydration process.Shop Thermometers

Some of the yeast cells will die off while in the warm water, even if the correct temperature is used. If the wine yeast is left in for longer than directed, then an excessive amount of yeast cells will die. If the water is a hotter than directed, then the wine yeast will start dying off faster than the directions intended. Either issue can cause a significant amount of yeast cells to die – potentially all of them. The result is a fermentation that doesn’t start at all.

The point here is go ahead and rehydrate the wine yeast – your fermentation will start off more quickly and more vigorously – but follow the directions, exactly. That means using a thermometer to get the water to the right temperature and using a watch or timer to make sure your yeast does not have an extended stay in the warm water.

If you don’t want to bother with rehydrating the dried yeast along with the thermometers and timers, don’t worry about it. Rehydrating yeast is not a necessity. Your fermentation will start just the same, but it might take a few more hours to do so.Shop Wine Yeast

The blog post How To Add Yeast To A Wine Must discusses 3 different methods you can use to add your wine yeast to the wine must. You may want to take a look at this to see which method suits you best.

Happy Winemaking,
Ed Kraus
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.


How To Sweeten Wine With Honey

Honey For Sweeten WineI’m getting ready to bottle a 12-gallon batch of California Connoisseur Pinot Noir. As always, everything went off without a hitch. I like my wine semi-dry, and would like to try sweetening with commercial store-bought honey this time, following the same Metabisulfite and Potassium Sorbate protocols for sugar. Any cautionary words of wisdom?

Name: Putnam J.
State: New York
Hello Putnam,

I see that you’re up for a little adventure. You are correct in your assumption that potassium sorbate, potassium metabisulfite will need to be added to the wine kit at bottling time along with the honey. It’s no different than sweetening the wine with cane sugar or any other sugar that potentially provides food to the wine yeast.

All I can really say about sweetening a wine with honey is that you should take your time. Be sure-footed in what you do. You can always add more honey later to the wine, but taking it out is not an option. This is true for almost anything you add to a wine to adjust flavor.

For the most part, honey will sweeten the wine just as well as cane sugar. The sweet part is mostly the same. It’s the additional character that honey brings along with the sweet that makes it more adventurous. Depending on what the bees spun the honey off of — wildflowers, cherry blossoms, buckwheat, etc. — Shop Potassium Metabisulfitethe subtle notes and aromas added can vary from herbal, to fruity, to citrus. You may like it and consider it an improvement on the wine, but you may also decide you can’t stand it. Don’t assume that the honey will make the wine better. Try it out on a sample and see.

Bench testing is the best way I know to sweeten a wine with honey. Take a measured sample of the wine, like a gallon or half-gallon, and start adding measured doses of the honey. Taste the wine between additions and see what you think. If you’re not sure, stop and come back to it another day.

If you decide that you don’t like what the honey’s done to the wine, switch back to cane sugar or something else. If you like the honey, but have added too much, blend the sample back in with the rest of the wine. Collect a new measured sample and start all over.

Once you establish a dosage, apply that dosage to the rest of the wine. This is the safest way I know to sweeten a wine with honey.

shop_potassium_sorbateTake your time. Sweetness is a major component of a wine’s flavor profile. For example, when I think I know what I want to do, I like to wait and come back later that day, or even the next day, and taste the wine again before moving forward.

Putnam, I hope this was the type of information you was looking for. It’s fun to play around with a wine, but it can also be a little nerve-racking at times. Hopefully, these little tips and insights on how to sweeten a wine with honey will keep you on a good path with your wine.

Happy Winemaking,
Ed Kraus
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.

What About Using Corn Sugar In Your Wine?

Cane Sugar For Wine Making… I was looking for different ways to sweeten my wine and came across this corn sugar in your beer section of your catalog. I read that some use corn sugar in their beer instead of cane sugar. The article said it would give the beer a crisper taste. How do you think this would affect the wine? Is it possible that I could use corn sugar in my wine making?

Name: Patrick Davis
State: GA
Hello Patrick,

It is true that most beermakers will never add regular cane sugar to their beers. Cane sugar will give a cidery, winey taste to the brews. Instead homebrewers will add corn sugar, which ferments much more cleanly.

In the case of making wine, a “cidery”, “winey” flavor is not really an issue. These flavors actually fit in with the flavor profile of wines in general. The effect is fairly subtle as well. Even though it can become evident in a homebrew, in a homemade wine it hides very nicely. This is even more true with fuller-bodied wines.

There are some that use corn sugar in all their wines, religiously, and some that will only use it in certain situations, But most winemakers elect to never use corn sugar, at all. My personal opinion is that corn sugar can make a difference in some wines, mostly white wines with very little body — for example, a Pinot Grigio or a Riesling. But, the change is not necessarily for the better, it’s just different. And, the change will be very minor.

Some might notice a crisp, “mintiness” coming through in these lighter wines made with corn sugar but only very slightly. If the wine is already known for an herbal, fresh finish it might become more accentuated by the crispness/cleanness of the corn sugar, but beyond that you won’t notice too much, if anything.

So to sum it all up, you can try corn sugar in your wine making, but don’t expect too much difference in the resulting wine, and don’t expect to notice anything at all if you are using corn sugar in a fuller-bodied wine.

Happy Winemaking,
Ed Kraus
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.