Originally Posted by ericd
I've looked up lots of grape wine recipes on the internet and they all include seem to use sugar. Is that how "real" grape wine is made?
I was under the impression that grape wine you bought at the store was just mashed up grapes and yeast, do they put sugar in it as well?
How do I make a red wine similar to what i get at the liquor store?
Most commercial wines use wine grapes and just crush them to extract the sweet juice for fermentation. Grapes grow through out the world but the most common varieties have a much lower sugar content than the wine grapes. The non wine varieties are usually easier to grow and often better yielding. Because the sugar content is not high enough to make a 12% wine you have to add sugar. Also some grape varieties are too acidic and so the recipes will dilute the grapes with water then add sugar o make up the difference.
It is quite common for local winerys outside of the major wine regions to use grapes and fruits that require sugar to be added to the must. However these are usually smaller winerys that mostly only sell locally.
Sweet wines usually have sugar added to the wine after fermentation and stabilization.
If you want to make a wine like you would buy in a store then wine kits are your easiest solution. Country wines like the recipes you are seeing are a different type of wine that can be quite good but will be different from what you are used to.