Originally Posted by ACbrewer
I'm doing this off the top of my head, but iirc <1.000 is dry 1.000-1.010 is semi dry/semi sweet and over 1.010 is sweet.
The %alcohol can change the perception of this, as can the tanin and ph levels.
I think the usual way of doing this is you ferment to completion (a few days at <1.000 and the same number) then stablize -aka add in a preservative - and backsweeten to taste.
That's the way I do it. A typical wine will finish at .990-.996 or so. If you want to sweeten, you can either start with a higher OG (over 1.130 or so) so that the yeast will peter out leaving some sweetness behind or ferment it out completely, stabilize, then sweeten.
The problem with the first way (overwhelming the yeast) is that some wine yeasts will easily push 18% ABV before petering out. Then you get hot, sweet, jet fuel. It's more dependable to start with an OG of 1.090-1.100 and ferment it out to .990 and then stabilize and sweeten later.
An easy way to start is with kits. Some kits for sweeter wines have something called a "F-pack" which has a stabilizer and sweetener in it. One of my friends makes a ton of sweeter kits and they come out really good.
I make mostly dry wines, both grape wines and "country" wines but some wines, like dandelion, are better slightly off-dry.