How To Sweeten Wine That Is Too Dry? | Everything You Need to Know

Now that you’ve cracked open the first bottle of brand-new wine, you don’t like it since it’s too dry. It might be a mistake during the progress or your taste is not suitable for this kind of wine.

But don’t worry because, in this article about how to sweeten wine that is too dry, we’ll teach you how to add sweetness if your bottle of wine is too dry for your taste.

1. The Differences Between Dry Wine And Sweet Wine

The amount of tannins in a wine is a significant predictor of how bitter it will taste. Tannins, a kind of polyphenol, are found in the outer layer of grape skin, seed, and notably the stem.

Other tannin-containing fruits, such as pears, apples, and quince, have an acidic flavor that influences how dry or sweet the wine tastes. So there are probably two key differences between dry and sweet wine:

The Differences Between Dry Wine And Sweet Wine
A wine’s level of tannins is a key indicator of how bitter it will taste. (Source: Internet)

Amount of Sugar: The amount of sugar in a wine determines how sweet or dry it is.

  • Dry wine: A wine must have less than 1% residual sugar to be considered dry. Bone dry wine has been completely devoid of residual sugar and contains less than 0.5% of it. Your taste receptors scarcely pick up on any sugar in a “bone dry” wine. 
  • Sweet wine: On the other hand, sweet wine has a much higher residual sugar concentration of about 3%.

Taste: The flavors of dry wine and sweet wine vary.

  • Dry wine: Dry wines are typically sour and acidic. Tannins found in the skin of the grapes give dry wines their ability to taste tannic. Tannins are responsible for the bitter taste and astringent texture of dry wine.
  • Sweet wine: A sweet wine maintains some of the grapes’ residual sugar throughout fermentation. The wine will become sweeter as more sugar is left in it.

2. How To Sweeten Wine That Is Too Dry

2.1. Sweeten Wine With Sugar or Honey

The simplest alternate way is to add sugar to the wine that has already been created. Back sweetening is done before bottling.

Although cane sugar is the most popular choice, there are many more options. Just keep in mind to make sure everything you add is well-mixed up and dissolved.

Alternative wine sweeteners include honey, beet sugar, and maize sugar.

Here is a big caution. It’s crucial to completely kill or eradicate the yeast before bottling wine that has been sweetened. The wine bottle’s internal fermentation will continue if any yeast is left. The CO2 pressure will either cause the corks to explode or the bottles to break.

How To Sweeten Wine That Is Too Dry
You can use honey and sugar to soften wine that is too dry. (Source: Internet)

These are some steps to keep in mind if you want to sweeten wine by adding sugar:

  • Step 1: Combine two cups of sugar with one cup of water to make a simple syrup, and put the combination on heat. Once the liquid is simmering and all the sugar has dissolved, remove from heat. The syrup should be cooled to 70°F.
  • Step 2: Measure the amount of syrup put into the wine, add one cup of chilled wine to it, and remember the ratio. 
  • Step 3: Use the ratio you determined before to determine how much syrup to put in your wine. Using the hydrometer, determine the specific gravity.
  • Step 4: To stop additional fermentation, add a fourth of a tablespoon of potassium sorbate and 1/8 tablespoon of potassium metabisulphite to every gallon of wine. The wine should be poured into a demijohn bottle, closed with an airlock, and allowed to rest for at least a week.

2.1. Sweeten Wine With Fruit Juice:

Using fruit juice is another way to sweeten the wine. Fruit juice will assist sweeten a wine whether you’re preparing a fruit wine or just want to experiment with your combination.

In comparison to simply adding sugar, grape juice, for example, will enhance the flavor and sweetness of the food. Because the juice already contains preservatives that will stop the carbohydrates from fermenting, it will work. 

The majority of fruit juices include metabisulphite, which is also a component of wine. Simply add a small amount, mix, and taste.

use fruit juice to soften dry wine
Using fruit juice is another way to soften wine that is too dry. (Source: Internet)


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3. How to sweeten wine that is too dry without changing the taste of the wine

3.1. Stop an Active Wine Fermentation:

The fermentation process should be stopped as soon as possible for sweet wine. 

This prevents the conversion of sugar to alcohol. The remaining sugar stays as residual sugar in the wine.

The skilled artisans there use this method to create the sweet wines you know and love, including Moscato.

There are several techniques to halt the fermentation of wine:

  • Lower the temperature — the fermentation process can be stopped by bringing the temperature down to 50°F (or less). Bentonite can be used as well to aid with yeast removal.
  • Rack the wine  — preferably after a few weeks, but 7 days would suffice. Before racking, let the wine thoroughly clarify.
  • Use a wine filter —  make sure it’s a wine filter or something sterile, a similarly effective option. To get rid of bigger particles that may quickly block a wine filter, you might need to install a pre-filter if the wine has a lot of tannins. To eliminate the yeast is the goal here.
  • Add extra alcohol — Add alcohol to the wine to halt the fermentation process. Since yeast expires at around 15% ABV, adding alcohol kills it. 

3.2. Use sweeteners like stevia or agave nectar

If Stevia doesn’t impart a bad flavor to the wine, it can be added to back-sweeten wine. 

For back-sweetening, beginners should be able to create their non-fermenting sugar replacement. Just a little bit of Stevia syrup can be added to the mixture to get the desired sweetness.

 But since Stevia, aspartame, and xylitol are not molecules of real sugar, yeast cannot ferment these compounds.

3.3. Sweeten Wine With Wine Conditioner

Because there are no sugars to be concerned about, wine producers may easily want to use wine conditioners instead of other sweeteners. Unfermentable sugar, mineral water, and sorbate are all that is required for wine conditioner. For optimal results, use this product right before bottling. Up until the point where you are getting ready to bottle, you shouldn’t add any sweeteners. 

The explanation is that when the wine is extremely young, it will alter significantly from month to month. You can end up with an extremely sweet wine if you add the sugar too early.

Before putting the wine conditioner in, rack your wine again into a fresh fermentation bucket to avoid stirring up sediment. You just need to mix the wine, add a tiny bit of wine conditioner at each stage, and taste it. 

Don’t hesitate to bottle it after it tastes excellent to you. Since everyone has a distinct sense of what wine should taste like, there is no standard quantity to add.

3.4. Sweeten Wine With Grape Concentrate:

One significant distinction between using grape concentrate and wine conditioners is that grape concentrate still contains fermentable sugars. To avoid the sugar activating the yeast that will ferment the glucose and take the sweetness out of your wine, use metabisulphite first before using this product. 

Some vintners will add dosage of metabisulphite to their wine to eliminate all of the live yeast cells. Just before bottling, you can include any of these concentrates. They have already undergone filtering, so your wine won’t contain any sediment. Simply whisk, taste, and add a bit at a time. 

4. How to sweeten wine that is too dry by using other alternative ways

4.1. Sweeten Wine With Suitable Food Pairings:

You might try serving your wine with food if you discover that it is still too harsh for your tastes. Wine’s harshness may be masked by certain meals, making it more pleasant.

For instance, serve a dry red wine with a food that contains a lot of fat, such as cheese, charcuterie, or an indulgent dessert like cheesecake.

Both the bitter taste of the drink and the sweet taste of the dessert are blended with the amount of fat in these foods, which serves to coat your lips and tongue and reduce the harshness of the wine.

You may also consider serving your wine with chocolate or sweet fruits. These dishes’ sweetness will assist to counteract the wine’s harshness.

4.2. Sweeten Bitter Wine With Sweet Wine:

Blending dry wine with a sweeter wine is a wonderful approach to sweeten it. This can contribute to an overall more balanced taste profile, which will make it simpler for you to enjoy your wine.

Blending some dessert wine with more bitter wine is an excellent method to appreciate both because dessert wines are frequently overly sweet to be enjoyed very much.

5. The Basics of Sweetening Wine

Undrinkable wine may be transformed into a wonderful wine by adding sugar. Although it is simple to add sugar to homemade wine, doing it wrong can result in fizzy wine, corks that pop off, or worse, blown-up bottles and a big mess.  

Most traditional red wines don’t require any kind of sweetening, but wines created from fruits, local grapes, and white grapes frequently do. These wines typically require extra sugar to maintain balance. The strong acidity of these wines can make them taste harsh and challenging to drink without any kind of sweetening. 

6. Considerations When Adding Sweetening Agents

Before adding sugar to your homemade wine, you must first make sure that the fermentation process is complete.

A wine hydrometer must be used to confirm this. The hydrometer’s specific gravity measurement should be .998 or less. If it isn’t, your wine isn’t yet prepared to be back-sweetened.

Most people typically sweeten their homemade wine with plain old cane sugar, but you can do it with other sweeteners, such as honey, grape concentration, and corn sugar, to add other subtle tastes to your fruit wines. Just keep in mind that the sugar won’t come out of the wine once it’s in there. 

As a result, you might wish to make a test sample before incorporating the sweetener into the remaining wine. Perhaps remove one liter of the wine first and back-sweeten it.

Pre-dissolving the sugar is recommended before adding it to homemade wine. It is simple to do this by combining the half-and-half with water and heating the mixture over the stove until it is crystal clear. 

Be careful to stir constantly while cooking to prevent the burning of the sugar on the pan’s bottom. Before adding the mixture of sugar and wine, let the sugar mixture cool.


7.1. Is it possible to add sugar to dry wine?

The most common sweetener is plain sugar, which may be added to wine by dissolving it in a 1:1 mixture of water and sugar. Utilizing fruit juice is an additional choice. In comparison to simply adding sugar, grape juice, for example, will enhance the flavor and sweetness of the food.

7.2. Can wine be diluted with water?

There is nothing wrong with sipping water along with your glass of wine. However, combining them implies lowering the quality of the wine. The wine isn’t being consumed the way the creator intended.

7.3. How can you remove the sour flavor from wine?

Add potassium bicarbonate, commonly known as Acid Reducing Crystals, to the wine. When only a little amount of total acidity (TA) adjustment is required, such as 10 – 20 basis points, this method works rather well.

7.4. Can honey be mixed with wine?

Even at room temperature, honey, and wine mix well. The honey can be mixed with a gallon of wine first if you’d like, and then with the rest of the wine, but this step is optional.

7.5. How much sugar should be added to a dry wine?

Here is a straightforward sweetening rule. In a gallon of liquid, one and a half ounces of sugar can result in 1 brix or 1% residual sugar. Therefore, we would need to dissolve nine ounces of sugar to put into a liter of wine if we wanted 6% remaining sugar in a gallon.

7.6. What do you call red wine with Coke?

Red wine and Coca-Cola are both ingredients in the Spanish cocktail known as the Kalimotxo. According to reports, it was invented in the 1970s by festival waiters who attempted to hide substandard red wine.

7.7. How can dry wine be made less dry?

You’re complaining that the home-brewed wine is too astringent for your liking. Fortunately, the answer is extremely straightforward. The wine may be produced exactly to your specifications by simply adding sugar until you reach the desired level of sweetness. 

7.8. How can you sweeten a cheap wine?

Add a small amount of sugar to acidic wines. Try using simple syrup, granulated sugar, or Stevia (although these options will also dilute the wine a little). Unfermented grape juice is the greatest sweetener. Visit the grocery store to get grape juice that hasn’t had any sugar or preservatives added.

7.9. Do sweet meals enhance the flavor of dry wine?

Your perception of the tartness in the wine you drink with it will be enhanced if the meal you are eating is sweet. To avoid the wine tasting sour from the dessert, dessert should always be served with dessert wine. Salt is a great way to enhance the flavor of wine. Have a glass of red wine and pay attention to the tannins and acidity.

7.10. How can you tell whether a wine is sweet or dry?

Wines are deemed dry if their sweetness is less than 1%. Wines taste “off-dry,” or semi-sweet, when their sweetness levels exceed 3%. Wines with a sweetness level over 5% are sugary.

8. Conclusion

After reading this post on how to sweeten wine that is too dry, you now have a variety of suggestions for sweetening wine when it has a bitter taste. You can use any of them.

The grape concentrate or wine conditioner is effective for grape wines. Sugar or raspberry juice can work if you have raspberry wine. As you move along, don’t be scared to experiment and sweeten your wine til it matches your taste. 

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