Measuring Residual Sugar

You are interested in your friend’s opinion on your most recent vintage — most likely a wine you have assessed to be your best ever. You meticulously withdraw a sample and pour it into your best tasting glasses. Following the usual swirl, sniff, swoosh and taste rituals, your friend delivers the much-anticipated verdict: “Mmm! A good wine; fruity, refreshing acidity, sweet . . .” “Sweet!? But this is a dry wine! How can it be sweet? What have I done wrong?” Suddenly, you feel dejected as you try to figure out what possibly could have gone wrong when you made this wine. When a dry wine turns out off-dry or sweet, residual sugar from an incomplete fermentation is the most probable cause. It’s also possible that your friend detects sweetness at lower thresholds than you. A dry wine should have no perceptible sweetness. A sweet wine — such as a late-harvest type wine or icewine — can have any level of residual sugar. Residual sugar can be either sugars that the yeast did not ferment or sugar that the winemaker … Continue reading Measuring Residual Sugar