A few question...

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Apr 17, 2010
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Please note: I've soaked up a lot of information about this craft so feel free to be as technical (or whatever) as you want to be. If I don't understand, I'll just use Google.


1) Inverted sugar. Should I invert sugar BEFORE fermentation? I ask because, on the one hand, I read that this makes things "easier" for the yeast, but on the other, I read that inverted sugar will not ferment. So, can someone (preferably someone knowledgeable in this area) please clarify this point for me?

2) I didn't have any yeast nutrient when I decided to experiement with cranberry juice, so I boiled 3 cups of raisins (I read somewhere that raisins are a good substitute) and used only the juice from the raisins (as a substitute). Is this okay? (I'll probably buy some yeast nutrient for next time since it costs about the same)

3) Are egg whites just as good as bentonite or (what's is called...) pectin enzyme? What is the difference, if any, between the two...?

Using and buying a load of "chemicals" is probably your safest bet in terms of producing high quality alcoholic beverages but if I had the same results from "natural, and not manufactured, things" then I might as well use the latter variety. What do you think?

Let me know what you think. Thanks in advance.
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I can't answer all of your questons but will take a stab at a few.

Inverted sugars if I'm not mistaken is sugar that is dissolved in water, which is very much fermentable by the yeast and is often used to boost the gravity in many recipes.

With the raisin trick I think you're only giving the must some more sugars and not necessarily nutrient. But you often don't need nutrient, I only add it to certain hard to ferment recipes. (though I've not yet made cranberry).

I've heard egg whites can be used for clearing though no idea if it's as good as bentonite.

Others will claryify/correct my answers and pick up the ones I didn't touch.
Inverted sugar is sugar dissolved in water with lemon added. And yes it will ferment. Actually when I start any wine I take my sugar and heat it up with water at the very beginning.

As far as trying to use "natural" ingredients instead of the chemical, buy the chemicals these are not actually artificial chemicals, they are all come from natural ingredients. Egg whites will do clearing in some situations but not all, it is not the same as benotite AND peptic enzyme is NOT used basically for clearing, this also breaks down fruit. Actually I very rarely use a clearing agent, patient is more what you need than anything else. The items you have to have are yeast, nutrient, acid blend and sorbate. I would not start any wine without these ingredients.

As far as raisins are concern, I am not sure if they will give you any nutrients probably but I would not take the change. I would add raisins if I needed tannins more than I needed nutrients.

If you do not want to buy the chemicals then you are making wine more by chance and like I have already stated the chemicals are not artifical, they all are derived from natural ingredient.

And there are a lot of people here with way more knowledge than what I have so before you want to google anything, search the site or ask the specific questions. If you google there is no telling what kind of information you will get and whether or not that information is correct.

Welcome to the site and ask away :h
1) Inverted sugar is as easier for the yeast to convert to alc then undissolved sugar. When you add sugar to your wine to up the sg you are dissolving it in your wine (or at least trying to) by mixing it in with a drill mounted stirrer but you usually wont get it all hence why some people will get false low sg readings one day and a couple of days later when they stir they gt another higher or same sg as when they started and wonder that is. Dextrose is a much easier sugar for yeast to convert to alc but it can leave a different taste that can or cannot be desirable in wine, it is mainly used in bee making.
2) Raisins (grapes) typically have enough nutrient by themselves unlike almost every other fruit out there for the yeast not to struggle but even then most wine makers will add nutrient just to be safe with their hard earned time and money to get a good fermentation, I dont think adding them to your must will add enough and boiling them may have rid the raisins of those nutrients. adding the raisins will add more body though which most other fruits also lack so you most likely did need to do so. I suggest using 1 tsp of nutrient per gallon and 1/2 tsp of energizer per gallon.
3) Egg whites are not as good as using other fining agents as this process has its uses but not in every day usage. It will strip tannin from your batch and also lots of color, thats what it is mainly used for to remove tannins in a hrash wine or to remove unsightly colors from a white wine.
I think most everything has been covered. I just wanted to say I have tried the egg whites and they did zero, certainly nothing compared to Bentonite.
I recently did a test with egg whites on a 1 gallon container of rice wine and while it help clear a little after a few days, I was really nervous about contamination (I believe you should rack very shortly after using), so will not likely use again.

Pectic enzyme aids in breaking down fruit wines / prevents haze, but you add it at primary fermentation. I use clearing agents (if needed) at the bulk aging stage, usually 3-6 months.

This is my understanding of sugars:
1. Best to dissolve at least in warm water prior to adding to wine for optimal yeast access and accurate SG readings.
2. Sugar dissolved in water is syrup (2 parts sugar to 1 part water)
3. Inverted sugar has acid (citrus). I use acid blend and it seems fine.

When I didn't have yeast nutrient and my batch wasn't doing well, the fine people on this board recommended adding a multivitamin and a ripe banana and it worked!
Re: Invert sugar. Your standard table sugar is sucrose. Yeast cannot digest sucrose as it is. Yeast can only eat table sugar after it has broken the glycosidic bond to convert sucrose into the smaller chain sugars, fructose and glucose. Yeast has the ability to do this, but they must work at it. Providing your yeast with sugar that has already been broken into "edible" sugars helps them grow and prosper. You can break the glycosidic bond fairly quickly with heat and acid; breaking this bond is called hydrolysis.

From Wikipedia: Hydrolysis
Hydrolysis breaks the glycosidic bond, converting sucrose into glucose and fructose. Hydrolysis is, however, so slow that solutions of sucrose can sit for years with negligible change. If the enzyme sucrase is added, however, the reaction will proceed rapidly.[5] Hydrolysis can also be accelerated with acids, such as cream of tartar or lemon juice.
Hi Minnesota

so help out here on understanding something...in part you said...."You can break the glycosidic bond fairly quickly with heat and acid; breaking this bond is called hydrolysis...."

what type of acid are you referring to....for instance, if sweetening/backsweetening an already acidic wine is this the type of acid that will break down the table sugar or some other type ?
Yes. If there are any yeast present in the finished wine, they CAN break that bond themselves to create edible sugar. They have an enzyme that is capable of breaking the bond. That is why you should always treat finished wines with sorbate and sulfite before adding sugar (invert or not) back into it.

And yes, acidic solutions will typically break the bond. When making invert sugar, I use heat and acid to break the bond quickly. The acid could break the bonds without heat, but it would take longer. Jack Keller has the recipe on his website.