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Back sweetening wine after sitting in carboy

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Loulicious

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So I have a noob question. Some backstory. My grandfather and I started both a 5 gallon batch of Catawba and 5 gallons of Niagara November 25, 2016. Its a family tradition for him to give every adult family member a bottle of his wine on Thanksgiving. And he starts the next batch the next evening. He took the new batches of wine all the way through adding the potassium sorbate and potassium metabisulfite. Unfortunately he suffered a heart attack before he could add the backsweetening sugar. The carboy hasn't been opened since that night. I have made sure that the airlock has stayed properly filled. Now that time has past and emotions have settled, I would like to honor my grandfather by finishing these two batches of wine. My question is, can I pick up where he left off? Can I backsweeten this wine and bottle or is it too late? If so should I add more potassium sorbate and potassium metabisulfite and do I use the same recommended amounts that he already used?

I have family members that would love to each have a bottle from his last batches. And if possible I would love to be able to keep his tradition alive for at least this 2017 Thanksgiving. He did keep a log throughout the process. If you need more information before you can give an answer please ask. And thank you in advance for any information you give.
 

Kraffty

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I would say that as long as you're sure the pot sorbate was added you're good to sweeten and add Kmeta as needed. Maybe you should be the one to carry on the tradition.
All the best.
Mike
 

GreenEnvy22

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If sorbate was already added, don't add more. Too much can make a bad taste/smell. So if it was added, just back sweeten as you see fit.
 

salcoco

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I would back sweeten a sample bottle and then let is sit for about a week and make sure it doesn't restart. if okay do the rest. add k-meta before bottling at rate of 1/4 tsp for 5 gallons.
 

Loulicious

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Thank you for the quick responses. I definitely know that he added both the sorbate and k-meta. He indicated this in his notes. So this weekend I will attempt to finish what he started. Now I remember him sweetening two different ways. I had seen him add straight up table sugar to the wine and let it sit until it dissolved. And I've seen him make a sugar syrup and mix that in and immediately bottle. Is one way better than the other? Being a homebrewer I would tend to lean towards making a sugar syrup, being the boiling would sterilize the solution. Reducing the risk of contamination. Plus it would disperse through the beer faster. Would that be true for wine, or an unnecessary step?

And it was mentioned that I should not add more sorbate if its already in there, citing too much could create off odors and tastes. Would adding more k-meta cause any problems?
 

GreenEnvy22

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I prefer syrup method too.
Too much k-meta can also make harsh tastes. If you can spare the $15, a Titrets kit will tell you how much free SO2 is in the wine now (only works well on white or not-too-dark reds). You want somewhere between 30-50ppm free SO2 when bottling.
If your grandfather had added an appropriate amount before and the wine has just sat since for a couple months, it probably doesn't need anymore. If it has been sitting since november 2016, and you can't test it, then I'd err on the side of caution and add 0.6g of k-meta if this is a 5-gallon batch. That will raise the level of whatever it is by 20ppm.
 
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