Originally Posted by detlion1643
When the time comes to backsweeten a cleared wine, I'm unsure how to best proceed. I've never attempted this before.
A little insight would be great and help set my fears of a ruined batch aside!
- Pop the airlock and add sweetening agent, waiting a couple days for sugar to dissolve? *Wouldn't this oxygenize the wine enough to cause problems
- Sweeten in bottling bucket? *Wouldn't this cause non-uniform sweetening across bottles
- Other method?
First, rack onto a solution of campden tablets (crushed and dissolved in some boiling water, 1 per gallon) and sorbate (1/2 teaspoon per gallon). Stir the campden and sorbate well to ensure it's dissolved and then rack the wine onto that. Wait three days, and then you can add your sweetening agent. It works best to use a simple sugar syrup, or if using juice or honey, dissolve that in some water and then add gently to the wine.
Wait three days minimum, to ensure fermentation doesn't restart. Then you can rack to the bottling bucket and bottle.
A couple of tips- one, for some reason it gets sweeter tasting with a bit of time. I'd suggest sweetening to just under where you want it, by taking several samples. For example, pull out a sample of the wine and divide it up into three small containers. Sweeten them to a set amount- like 1.004, 1.008, 1.012. Taste them and see what you like best. If you love it at 1.008, then sweeten the whole batch (do a little math) to 1.006 or so.
Secondly, make sure the wine is totally clear and no longer dropping any lees at all for at least 60 days. Otherwise, the sorbate won't "work".