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Sugar Options For Fruit Wine


Daniel N. Bazzoli — Calistoga, California asks,

In the April-May 2012 issue there was a question in “Perry Problems” regarding sugar adjustments. Your answer mentions cane sugar, beet sugar and malt sugar. I have always used cane sugar or fructose to make adjustments. I was told the molecular structure of vegetable sugars don’t blend or marry well with fruit alcohol. Is this true, or are all sugars the same?

Cane sugar, or sucrose, derived from the sugar cane plant, has a chemical structure of C12H22O11, is a di-saccharide comprised of the mono-saccharides glucose and fructose and is found in many plant sources, most well-known being the aforementioned sugar cane plant, the sugar beet root and sap from the maple tree. I think you mean “sucrose” when you say “fructose” in your letter. Your general grocery-store bag of white table sugar is probably made from either sugar cane or sugar beets and according to industry sources is about 99.50% pure sucrose. The 0.5% difference is the difference in minerals etc. between the beet and the sugar cane source, but I’ve never experienced any difficulties in winemaking because of this. Malt sugar, or maltose, actually has the same chemical formula as sucrose (C12H22O11) but it is made up of two glucose molecules hooked together (instead of a glucose + a fructose molecule) and is less sweet than sucrose. It can be purchased in granular or syrup form, the latter being easier to dissolve into liquids. I used to work at Bonny
Response by Alison Crowe.