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Newbie Mel

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Well no matter what time of the day you do you tasting, it is best to mix up a small amount and leave it for a day and try it again. Odds are you will think it is to sweet and decrease how much you think you need to add.
Thank you @cmason1957. I was trying to be funny because I was feeling a little giddy this morning. But once again this forum has provided me great advice! I don’t like super sweet wine, so giving it a day to taste again before thinking it needs more sweetness is very valuable advice for me!
 

mikewatkins727

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When taste testing, use samples of 1 oz, NOT 8 oz. Or so friends have told me ....
This will depend on your method of backsweetening. I do use 8 oz sample of wine and add 5 ml shots of 2:1 simple sugar. I taste, not drink the 8 oz sample to decide if I need more sweetening. Each taste may be ½ to 1 tsp per sample. By using 8 oz samples I can calculate how much sweetener to use.
 
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I backsweeten the entire batch, stirring well between tastings. It's riskier, as it's quite difficult to remove sugar, so I go in small increments in 5 or 6 gallons batches. I typically use 1/4 cup increments, and stop when I think the wine needs just a bit more.

Also, my version of "sweet" is a lot less than other folks -- last time I made apple I backsweetened from 0.990 to 0.994; it brought out the apple flavor very nicely.
 

Newbie Mel

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I backsweeten the entire batch, stirring well between tastings. It's riskier, as it's quite difficult to remove sugar, so I go in small increments in 5 or 6 gallons batches. I typically use 1/4 cup increments, and stop when I think the wine needs just a bit more.

Also, my version of "sweet" is a lot less than other folks -- last time I made apple I backsweetened from 0.990 to 0.994; it brought out the apple flavor very nicely.
When you say you do 1/4 cup increments, is that 1/4 cup sugar or 1/4 cup inverted sugar? My version of sweet is probably similar to yours, I just want enough sweetness to bring out the flavor a bit.
 
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When you say you do 1/4 cup increments, is that 1/4 cup sugar or 1/4 cup inverted sugar? My version of sweet is probably similar to yours, I just want enough sweetness to bring out the flavor a bit.
I use plain 'ole table sugar. In recent years I work with my son, one using a drill-mounted stirring rod and the other gently pouring in a very thin stream of sugar.

If I made sweet wines (SG > 1.020) I'd make a sugar syrup, to ensure the sugar dissolves properly. "Sweet" to me is 3/4 cup sugar in 6 gallons.
 
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I think I have related this before. The winemaking club I am a member of was being given a tour of one of the largest wineries in Missouri. We asked why they had so many pallets of sugar. The winemaker pointed at the 400 gallon tanks and said, that's our number one selling wine, if we don't put one pound of sugar per gallon of wine, sales drop drastically. They make a white and a red that way. That's a sweet wine. Needless to say, this of us who normally put in that 3/4 or maybe even a full cup for 6 gallons were aghast. But sales trumps everything.
 
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The winemaker pointed at the 400 gallon tanks and said, that's our number one selling wine, if we don't put one pound of sugar per gallon of wine, sales drop drastically.
My sister's favorite winery in the NY Finger Lakes makes some really good dry wines ... but their best seller is a sweetened, light-bodied red. Another winery sells 3 different Rieslings -- dry, off-dry, and semi-sweet.

If I started a commercial winery, I'd market (at least) one sweet white and one sweet red. Lot of folks like it and I'd want something that appealed to everyone who walked in the door.
 

sour_grapes

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My sister's favorite winery in the NY Finger Lakes makes some really good dry wines ... but their best seller is a sweetened, light-bodied red. Another winery sells 3 different Rieslings -- dry, off-dry, and semi-sweet.

If I started a commercial winery, I'd market (at least) one sweet white and one sweet red. Lot of folks like it and I'd want something that appealed to everyone who walked in the door.
I realize that this is off the topic, but which winery does your sister favor?
 
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I realize that this is off the topic, but which winery does your sister favor?
Hazlitt. Red Cat was her favorite wine. They even have a ribald song for it. Fast forward this video to 5:45 for the song. This is good marketing. Not for everyone, but for that particular market, it works great!

Red Cat Song - YouTube

I 'spose this is still on topic, if you're a beginner looking for advice to start a winery! 🤣

EDIT: Threads like this have a non-obvious value among the chit-chat, things not directly wine related. For the most part, I make wine I want to drink, but I also make wines (typically like Island Mist) that is not my favorite, but others will like.
 

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