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SG and dryness

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JustJoe

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Is there any standard to define dry, semi-dry, sweet or is it all in the taste and feel of the wine? Will za wine with final SG less than 1.000 always be dry?
 

meadmaker1

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I've stumbled across the break down a few times but i dont recall exactly where.
 

Ajmassa

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Is there any standard to define dry, semi-dry, sweet or is it all in the taste and feel of the wine? Will za wine with final SG less than 1.000 always be dry?
I don’t think there’s any official standards for dry, off-dry, semi-dry etc...
Under 1.000SG would usually be considered dry but they go by residual sugar amount in g/L. And different sources will say varying ranges. Something like <2-3g/L would be dry. (Even the driest of wines have a tiny amount of sugar in there.)
And I’ve seen anywhere from 7 and 10g/L and up be considered “off-dry or semi-dry”. That 3-6g/L range is apparently no-mans land. And sweet wines I assume would be much much higher amounts.
 

JustJoe

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I don’t think there’s any official standards for dry, off-dry, semi-dry etc...
Under 1.000SG would usually be considered dry but they go by residual sugar amount in g/L. And different sources will say varying ranges. Something like <2-3g/L would be dry. (Even the driest of wines have a tiny amount of sugar in there.)
And I’ve seen anywhere from 7 and 10g/L and up be considered “off-dry or semi-dry”. That 3-6g/L range is apparently no-mans land. And sweet wines I assume would be much much higher amounts.
Thanks! But that brings me to another question - How di I measure residual sugar?
 

Ajmassa

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Thanks! But that brings me to another question - How di I measure residual sugar?
Testing for residual sugar has been a common topic of discussion here. It’s an important level in winemaking yet we really don’t have a good way to test. Still waiting on that handheld $10 digital “sugar meter” to be invented.
There’s a conversion from Brix to grams of residual sugar but it’s not very accurate. And another thing called the Clinitest residual sugar tabs. Apparently they are cheap, available in drugstores even, and accurate. Unfortunately I think they’ve been off the market for a while- or so I’ve heard.
So hydrometer conversion- or sending sample to professional lab are our options.
 

NorCal

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We made a Rhone blend with stuck Grenache, came out to be 6 grams per liter RS. Not enough to taste sweet (white Zin is around 15 gram/liter), but really brought out the fruit. It was a crowd pleaser.
 

MoeJay

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I have posted a questionnaire a while ago to answer this question. I meant to know the standards using the hydrometer which I think it is kinda missing info here.

I presume we all agree that 1.000 is a semi-dry and 0.096 is fully dry wine.

But when it comes to sweetness, the info is needed to be agreed on! Is backsweetning to 1.001 sweet? Semi-sweet or Port?

To clarify the point, the measurement of sweetens and dryness needs to be defined and standardised using the hydrometer.
What is considered as sweet? Semi-sweet, or port(dessert) wine? Is back-sweetening to 1.030 exceeding the limits makes it undesirable?

This needs to be defined so we don't need to wait for the digital invention to come to life!!

You agree?
 
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Brettanomyces

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I don't know that liquid density alone is ever going to be a good measure of sweetness.
 

MoeJay

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Mmmmm. You are right!

But don't you think that it can be an indicator or a margin for each category?

For instance, if samples are tested within the same category of dryness/sweetness against the hydrometer can fall between two margins low and high for each category.

It is still theoritcal thu.
 

jgmann67

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I have posted a questionnaire a while ago to answer this question. I meant to know the standards using the hydrometer which I think it is kinda missing info here.

I presume we all agree that 1.000 is a semi-dry and 0.096 is fully dry wine.

But when it comes to sweetness, the info is needed to be agreed on! Is backsweetning to 1.001 sweet? Semi-sweet or Port?

To clarify the point, the measurement of sweetens and dryness needs to be defined and standardised using the hydrometer.
What is considered as sweet? Semi-sweet, or port(dessert) wine? Is back-sweetening to 1.030 exceeding the limits makes it undesirable?

This needs to be defined so we don't need to wait for the digital invention to come to life!!

You agree?
Not really. Any wine that finishes below 1.000, I consider dry from a hydrometer perspective. But here, I’m only looking at whether the wine should be dosed with sorbate to keep the wine from restarting a fermentation.

If I’m below 1.000, I’ll generally skip it; and if it’s around that 1.000 it’s a judgment call. Much above and I’ll hit the wine with sorbate and let it sit for 3 months or more.

I don’t think, though, that taste is necessarily tethered to your hydrometer.

I’ve had a number of wines that finish at 0.992 that tasted sweeter than other wines in the 0.995-0.997 range. But that was because the 0.992 wine had fewer tannins or was a more fruit forward wine.

There’s is some guidance out there that generally lays out where bone dry, dry, off-dry, semi-sweet and sweet wines are on your hydrometer, though. Like the one here:

https://winefolly.com/review/what-is-residual-sugar-in-wine/


I’m only suggesting that the difference in taste between them (particularly that line between two adjacent categories) isn’t dictated by residual sugars alone.

But, that’s just one novice winemaker’s opinion. YMMV.
 
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Johnd

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There are no “official rules” that I know of to determine how to categorize wine sweetness, here’s an article that offers some guidance:

https://www.cellarswineclub.com/Wine-Sweetness-Chart.aspx

To ease the pain of conversion, I’ve plugged the g/l of residual sugar into fermcalc to get the resulting SG’s, here are the results:

Starting with the assumption that .990 is perfectly dry (0 g/l residual sugar):

Dry < 10 g/l is SG range .990 - .994
Off Dry 10 - 20 g/l is SG range .994 - .9979
Semi-Sweet 20 - 75 g/l is SG range .9979 - 1.0183
Sweet 75+ g/l is SG above 1.0183

This is the official new law of the winemaking land in regards to sweetness. Violate it and face the wrath of @ibglowin
 

Johnd

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LOL

I'll take that! It is the new rule thu!
Perhaps a slight adjustment would be appropriate and more sensible. Some of the above SG numbers are extended out to a decimal point accuracy beyond that of a hydrometer. I have always felt that a fermentation that got to .996 or lower was a completed one, though there’s still a smidge go sugar, and consider it a dry wine. In light I’ve the above, consider the following:

.996 and under = dry
.996 - 1.00 = off dry
1.00 - 1.02 = semi-sweet
1.02 and up = sweet

A little more appropriate, a little easier to remember and use, it also conforms toughly to the way the wine tastes, though a fruity wine can fool the palate a bit.
 

Rice_Guy

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There are no “official rules . . .
Dry < 10 g/l is SG range .990 - .994
Off Dry 10 - 20 g/l is SG range .994 - .9979
Semi-Sweet 20 - 75 g/l is SG range .9979 - 1.0183
Sweet 75+ g/l is SG above 1.0183
This is the official new law of the winemaking land in regards to sweetness. Violate it and face the wrath of @ibglowin
The issue is balance which means consumer acceptability depends on other things as tannin, unfermentable sugars (honey is a totally different land), short chain dextrin, salt load, heat and acid content. Formulating with fructose let’s one decrease the calorie load since it has a larger impact per gram. Glucose syrup lets one put more solids in without as much of a flavor impact. Artificial is a whole new world with developers adding dextrins with no impact to give mouth feel.

For the world of wine making local contests have defined what dry/table/sweet aware. The answer to what is sweet depends on the contest chair (king of the land). and all this assumes that one does not play with chemical bottles.
 

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