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Want to Experiment with Making a Sparkling Wine

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JerryF

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I've been trying to research how to add a little fizz (carbonation) to some summer breeze blush wine I'm hoping to make from a kit (for the wife and lady visitors who seem to prefer it). I've read on here a number of thoughts and different recommendations. I've seen everything from using pressurized CO2 gas (like those soda stream gadgets) or adding different sugars anf F Paks, and so on. One method I ran across seems too simple but at the same time, no fancy equipment and no lengthy fussing around. It called for mixing an amount of corn sugar and water (amounts depending on the volume you want to carbonate), then putting that in a clean primary, then filter your cleared wine directly into it, keeping the end of the transfer tube under the surface, stir gently and immediately bottle and cork. After a sitting period of 2-3 weeks, the bottled wine will be carbonated. Has anyone on here done it like this and is there anything special to watch out for (i.e. type of bottles, type of corks, etc.)? Thanks, Jerry:dg
 

BernardSmith

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The real challenge is this: if you want to make a sparkling wine AND make that wine sweet. The simplest method of making any dry wine sparkling is to allow the yeast to ferment the wine brut dry, bottle and add carbonation drops to each bottle. You can of course add about 1 t of sugar to each bottle too - or dissolve the sugar in a little water, boil the water and sugar solution with a few drops of lemon juice to create invert sugar (easier for the yeast to ferment) and mix the cooled solution in your bottling bucket to which you add the wine and then bottle. The carbonation drops are designed to add enough carbonation to create the same amount of gas as you might want in a pint of beer (about 2 volumes of gas), but wine bottles are about 750 ccs and not 500. However, if you want a sweet wine then you will need to stabilize the wine - and stabilization will prevent the yeast from converting any residual or added sugar to alcohol and carbon dioxide. In which case you will need to think about adding CO2 manually - force carbonation perhaps with a Sodastream or some other carbonating device.
In any event you cannot use standard wine bottles or corks. They are not designed to withstand the pressure that the gas (the CO2) will exert. You need to use champagne bottles with cages and plastic caps or beer bottles. The champagne bottle is designed to withstand more pressure than beer bottles.
 

Boatboy24

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Bernard summed it up quite well. Only thing I'll add is that with the priming method of adding sugar, then bottling, you will have some sediment in the bottle. As far as bottling, you can also use beer bottles or the 'flip top' style bottles like Grolsch uses. Those don't require any special equipment, whereas beer caps or champagne caps would. I just recently got a Sodastream for this purpose, but have only tried it out once. My Lenten abstinence from alcohol is delaying further experimentation, but initial trials are quite promising and I'm looking forward to some sweeter, carbonated wines for summer.
 

salcoco

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to get a sweet wine without having to add sorbate, use glycerin. not wine conditioner but glycerin. it will sweeten the wine and it does not have any fermentable sugars. your technique is similar to carbonating beer, works great. you can bottle in beer bottles or champagne bottles with beer caps. glycerin is available from EC Kraus and I imagine other hobby stores.
 

BernardSmith

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salcoco, How sweet does glycerin make the wine? If you were comparing such a wine to wines with added sugars does this add the equivalent of 5 gravity points or 10.. or only 1 or 2? (I am assuming that there is a limit to how much glycerin you might add)...and how much glycerin would you add to produce the sweetness? Thanks
 

salcoco

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your level of sweetness and my level of sweetness are different as it will be for all wine drinkers. my point is do bench trials with the glycerin. It is possible that 1% is not enough were 3% become syrupy. not only is perceived sweetness a variable but the base wine varies, it can be acidic , or alcoholic so that different sugar levels are required for balance.
my suggestion is start with 100ml samples. add 1ml glycerin in first, 2 ml in second, 3 ml in third, taste test go further if necessary. make a bottle wait a week taste again, if fine do the basic batch. add kmeta then bottle.
if desired you can than take sg of final batch for record purposes and future additions to other wines.
 

JerryF

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It seems that only a few drops in a 750ml bottle is all that's needed to sweeten the wine. I understand about bench testing smaller volumes to get it where you like it but as a general rule, say 5-10 drops of glycerin per bottle will make the wine seeter but not "overly"
 

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