Skip to Content

Can You Add Sugar to Wine? (And What Kind to Use)

Can You Add Sugar to Wine? (And What Kind to Use)
This post may contain affiliate links. If you click one of these links and make a purchase, I may earn a commission at no additional cost to you. In addition, as an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Everyone loves a fine glass of wine; whether it’s a store-bought wine or a wine you made yourself, having a glass after a long day will always hit the spot. However, sometimes the wine you bought is not to your taste, or you are trying to make a new sweet wine, and you wonder if you can add sugar to it to give it the flavor you enjoy. Well, let’s find out!

When making your own wine, you need to add sugar to the wine to help the fermentation process. If you don’t add sugar, your wine will have little to no alcohol content. With a store-bought wine, it’s not recommended to add sugar, but you can try to add simple sugar if you really need to.

How much sugar must you add to the wine you are making? How much sugar should you add to a store-bought wine? What are the best sugars to add to these wines?

Let’s find out!

Can You Add Sugar to Wine?

Wine is one of the most popular alcoholic beverages in the world. Whether you are a connoisseur who travels the world doing wine tastings, you are trying your hand at making your own wine, or you are a casual drinker who enjoys a glass or two on the weekends, wine is most people’s go-to drink.

There is a wine for just about every occasion and taste, from sweet rosé to tart and dry Sauvignon Blanc, to a lovely, deep flavored Merlot. No matter your taste preference, you are bound to find a wine that you love.

However, when you are trying out a new wine, you might not like what you taste, or the wine might be a bit too tart for your liking. This happens to many people trying different wines for the first time.

But do you have to suffer through this new wine, or can you add sugar to it to make it more pleasing to your taste? Or you might be trying to make your own wine and want to ensure your wine is as sweet as a rosé but aren’t sure if you can add sugar to your wine to make it perfect.

Let’s go through whether you can add sugar to your store-bought wine or not and if you can add sugar to the wine you are making during the fermentation process.

Can You Add Sugar to Wine When Making Wine?

If you are making wine and you want to ensure your wine has a slightly sweeter taste, can you add sugar during the wine-making process to make your wine sweet?

You can add sugar to your wine during the wine-making process. In fact, you need to add sugar to your wine when you are making it, as it plays a big role in making good wine. This is because the alcohol that forms in the wine you are making comes from the sugar you add to it.

You need to add sugar to your wine to make it alcoholic, especially if the grapes you are using are not ripe enough for wine-making. If you don’t add sugar, you will make some grape juice with a hint of alcohol due to the organic sugars in the grapes instead of making wine.

The process of adding sugar to your wine when you are making it is called chaptalization. This is when the alcohol fermentation takes place. Once the sugar is added, the yeast will begin to metabolize the sugar and then turns it into alcohol (ethanol) and carbon dioxide.

Some of the sugar you add to your wine will be lost during this process, so if you want to make a very sweet wine, like a dessert wine, you might need to add more sugar to your wine. Be sure you add in your sugar before the fermentation process begins, or it could decrease the quality of your wine.

Can You Add Sugar to Store-Bought Wine?

If you are not making your own wine but are instead trying a different wine, only to pour it in your glass, take a sip, and figure out that you don’t really like it as it’s a bit too dry for your liking.

This can be disappointing and make you wonder if you can add some sugar into the wine to make it more palatable for you, or will this completely ruin the wine.

If this is the scenario you are battling with, then you could try to add some sugar to your store-bought wine to make it a bit sweeter if you needed to.

However, this is not highly recommended as there is a chance the sugar may not entirely dissolve in the wine, making a sugary mess at the bottom of your glass. So, if your store-bought wine is really not to your taste, you can give adding sugar into it and try to see what happens.

What Sugar Is the Best to Add to Wine?

So, you know you need to add sugar into your wine if you are making wine yourself, as this helps with the fermentation process of the wine. You now might be wondering what the best sugar is to use for this, as there are many different types of sugar available today.

Alternatively, if you are the one struggling with a store-bought wine that is too tart for your taste and you are willing to try mixing in sugar to your wine, you might also be wondering which sugar you should try for this experiment.

Let’s look at what sugars you can use for both these scenarios and how the kind of sugar you use can affect the taste of the wine you are making.

What Sugar to Add When Making Wine

Adding sugar into your wine before it ferments is how you ensure your wine has a good alcohol content. However, what sugar should you use for this? There are many different types of sugar, and you can use almost all of them in your wine-making process.

However, the sugar you choose can affect the taste of the wine produced. For example, cane sugar produces a cleaner taste and allows other wine flavors to shine. In comparison, brown sugar will produce a wine with a slight caramel taste.

The type of sugar you use will also depend on your budget, as cube sugar, icing sugar, caster sugar, and any syrup sugar tends to be expensive, while normal granulated white sugar is usually the cheapest.

What Sugar to Add to Store-Bought Wine

As mentioned earlier, adding sugar to your store-bought wine may or may not work, and you might end up with a bunch of undissolved sugar at the bottom of your glass.

However, if you really want to try adding sugar to your wine as you cannot stand the wine you bought and dread the thought of drinking the whole bottle, then try to use a simple sugar and not normal granulated sugar in the wine.

Simple sugar is a sugar product where the sugar is dissolved in water already. This has a higher chance of dissolving in your store-bought wine than the granulated sugar, so you might have a better result using simple sugar.

Simple sugar is slightly more difficult to get a hold of, but you should be able to find it at specialty or winemakers stores.

How Much Sugar to Add to Wine

Adding sugar to your wine is necessary for the wine-making process, and the type of sugar you use in your wine can affect the flavor of the wine you produce. However, when making wine, the amount of sugar you use is just as important as the type of sugar you use.

The quantity of sugar you use will affect the sweetness of the wine you produce. If you are adding sugar to your store-bought wine, then you need to be careful with the amount of sugar you add, too, as it could very easily make your wine too sweet and undrinkable.

So, how much sugar should you add to your wine, be it store-bought or during your wine-making process? Let’s find out.

Store-Bought Wine

Adding sugar to your store-bought wine that you don’t like can be a challenging task and can easily go wrong and make your wine even worse to drink as it could make a sludge at the bottom of your glass that will be extremely sweet if you accidentally drink it.

Unfortunately, as adding sugar to store-bought wine is not recommended, there are no measurements to guide you on how much simple sugar you can add to your wine. With store-bought wine, you need to add small amounts of the simple sugar at a time, then thoroughly stir the wine and taste it.

Then you can repeat this process until the wine is at your desired sweetness or until something goes wrong in this process and sludge of sugar forms in the glass.

Alternatively, if you don’t want to take the chance of ruining the wine, but you don’t want to waste it either, you can use the wine to make sangria or use it for cooking certain recipes.

When Making Wine

When you are making your own wine, the amount of sugar you will add will depend on two factors, such as how long you want to store the wine and how sweet you want the wine.

When you are making wine, the length of time you want to store it will determine the amount of alcohol the wine needs to have in it. This will affect the amount of sugar you need to put into the wine before the fermentation process begins.

If you want to barrel your wine and store it in a cellar, you need to ensure that the alcohol content of your wine is between 12% and 17% depending on how long you wish to store it.

A rough guide for calculating the amount of sugar you need for your wine is three lbs of sugar per one gallon of water will make your wine ferment to about 14% alcohol.

How to Add Sugar to Wine When Making Wine

Now you know how much sugar and what sugar you need to use in your wine; when you are making your own, we can go over how and when to add the sugar into your wine.

When making your own wine, you need to ensure you add the sugar into the mix almost right at the beginning of the wine-making process.

Once you have smashed your grapes, you need to add in your sugar to allow the fermentation process to begin with the natural yeast on the fresh grapes. You need to add all the sugar at once and stir it into the grapes thoroughly.

Do not gradually mix the sugar slowly, as this will slow down the fermentation process and make your wine take longer to make, which could also affect the alcohol content of your wine.

The Best Wines to Add Sugar To

Some wines are better suited to added sugar than others. These wines include fruit wines like peach wine, dessert wines, and Shiraz wines. These wines are meant to be sweet and served as dessert wines or as a refreshingly sweet drink at a family BBQ while you are relaxing by the pool.

These wines will have sugar added to them during the wine-making process. Sangrias can also have sugar added to them, and you can do it yourself at home with store-bought wines.

Wines You Should Not Add Sugar To

So, most wines can have added sugar in them during the wine-making process, but there are some wines that you should never add sugar to, even in the process of making it. This is mostly with Italian wines and Merlots.

These wines don’t need added sugar as they are meant to be drier than other wines. The winemakers who make these wines keep a close eye on their grapes and only harvest them at peak ripeness to ensure their wines are perfect.

Final Thoughts

You can add sugar to wine in the process of making wine, especially if you want to make a sweet wine. If you have opened a more tart wine than you expected, you can try and add a bit of sugar to help sweeten your wine up a bit, but ensure you use a simple sugar for this, or you may end up with a pile of sugar on the bottom of your glass.

Good luck with your wine!

Tags

Tags