Ask Wine Wizard

Adding Carbonation To A Dessert Wine


Jessica Laminack — Fruithurst, Alabama asks,

What is the proper psi for carbonating dessert wine? Residual sugar is about 8 degrees Brix. Thank you for your time.

If you’ve got a carbonation setup at home that you use for your homebrew, cider, mead, or kombucha, you certainly can fizzy up some wine products for yourself. I like your idea of using a dessert wine, because the sugar in sweet wines can balance out the sensory “sharpness” of bubbles, possibly leading to a very harmonious outcome. I think you should experiment a bit with the level of carbonation; starting low and turning up the pressure gradually can be a good way to come to the perfect balance point. The first thing to do is to think about your serving temperature. The laws of physics tell us that a colder product will hold onto dissolved gas more readily than a room temperature one. Especially if your dessert wine is a white or a rosé, I’d guess you’d plan to serve it at least slightly chilled (54–56 °F/12–13 °C) if not all the way down to refrigerator temperature (37 °F/3 °C). Why not really “chilled,” like 50–52 °F (10–11 °C)? Try a range to find what best suits your wine,
Response by Alison Crowe.