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How To Make Dessert Wine


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#1 mmblitz1

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Posted 28 September 2010 - 12:27 AM

I have some Gewurztraminer currently fermenting and was considering adding sugar to make it into a dessert wine. I have fermented to completely dry. At what point should I add the sugar and potasium sorbate. Anything advise to add?

Thanks!!
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#2 Howie

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Posted 28 September 2010 - 05:15 AM

Generally, sweetening and adding sorbate are done after the wine is stabilized, clear and ready to bottle. However, to sweeten to a high residual sugar content will not necessarily make a good "dessert" wine. Late harvest and ice wines are much more concentrated and thus lend themselves to dessert wine making. If you add lots of sugar, you may simply end up with very sweet Gewurtz. I'd recommend simply sweetening to the point where you have a good acid-sugar balance. If you want to make a dessert wine, plan it beforehand - talk with the grower (or supplier) and see if you can obtain late harvest grapes/juice.
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#3 mmblitz1

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Posted 28 September 2010 - 07:56 AM

Generally, sweetening and adding sorbate are done after the wine is stabilized, clear and ready to bottle. However, to sweeten to a high residual sugar content will not necessarily make a good "dessert" wine. Late harvest and ice wines are much more concentrated and thus lend themselves to dessert wine making. If you add lots of sugar, you may simply end up with very sweet Gewurtz. I'd recommend simply sweetening to the point where you have a good acid-sugar balance. If you want to make a dessert wine, plan it beforehand - talk with the grower (or supplier) and see if you can obtain late harvest grapes/juice.

Thanks for the help. That makes a lot of sense.
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#4 Techguy

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Posted 28 September 2010 - 11:43 AM

There's a method that some use to make a dessert style wine if you don't have late harvest juice to work with or real ice wine juice. Some folks have taken the juice and freeze it. Then once frozen they let it drip thaw into a container but only let the first half or so thaw out which will consist of juice that is highly concentrated and very sweet, and leaving the most of the water behind in the ice core. Not the same as using real ice wine juice or late harvest but will still give you decent results.
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#5 mokadir

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Posted 28 September 2010 - 02:55 PM

Techguy is only talking hypothetically, because I believe although that process sounds benign enough, I think that because it increases alcohol concentration, it is considered a type of distillation and thus is not legal in the US. blink.gif
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AGING: 2012 Chardonnay Champagne
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#6 Techguy

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Posted 28 September 2010 - 03:37 PM

You're either serious or something just went over my head...you're saying it's illegal to do this at home?

I've never actually done it, just heard it can be done that way. What I have done lots of times though is hold back a gallon of juice and freeze it. Then I would let a half gallon of it thaw out and use just that portion to sweeten and flavor my whites with. That's how I flavored and sweetened my Bronze Medal Cayuga and Niagara wines.
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#7 mokadir

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Posted 28 September 2010 - 04:57 PM

No, I believe that I am telling you the truth actually.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fractional_freezing

a snippet...
Alcoholic beverages
Fractional freezing can be used as a simple method to increase the alcohol concentration in fermented alcoholic beverages, a process sometimes called freeze distillation. Examples are applejack, made from hard cider, and ice beer. Freeze distillation of alcoholic beverages is illegal in many countries, as it can concentrate poisonous compounds, for example fusel alcohols, in the original fermented beverage to unhealthy levels; heated distillation methods tend to eliminate these more harmful fermentation products. In practice, while not able to produce an alcohol concentration comparable to distillation, this technique can achieve some concentration with far less effort than any practical distillation apparatus would require.

See, when you freeze something alcoholic, not only due the sugars and flavors concentrate, so does the alcohol. Govt bureaucracy at it's finest.
Bob
2013 awaiting barrel: inlaws CV Bordeaux blends, friends OV Zin, Wash Syrah and Sangio, Gren/PS for Rhone blending
AGING: 2012 Chardonnay Champagne
BARRELING: Yakima Valley Pinot Noir 12, CV Zin, Lake County Montepulciano and Zin 12
Awaiting bottle: ...

#8 mokadir

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Posted 28 September 2010 - 05:01 PM

You're either serious or something just went over my head...you're saying it's illegal to do this at home?

...What I have done lots of times though is hold back a gallon of juice and freeze it. Then I would let a half gallon of it thaw out and use just that portion to sweeten and flavor my whites with. That's how I flavored and sweetened my Bronze Medal Cayuga and Niagara wines.



This is different, you are not freezing the alcohol, just the juice to use to backsweeten later, i think they call it susse reserve (?sp)
Bob
2013 awaiting barrel: inlaws CV Bordeaux blends, friends OV Zin, Wash Syrah and Sangio, Gren/PS for Rhone blending
AGING: 2012 Chardonnay Champagne
BARRELING: Yakima Valley Pinot Noir 12, CV Zin, Lake County Montepulciano and Zin 12
Awaiting bottle: ...

#9 shuboyje

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Posted 28 September 2010 - 06:55 PM

Freeze concentration pre-fermentation is legal. It is sometimes called cryo-extraction and used to make cryo ice wines. They call it this because commercial producers use very low temperatures to get the juice to the concentration they want. Each time you freeze at a lower temperature then the time before yielding more concentrated juice when it thaws.

Freeze concentrating post fermentation is illegal just like distilling or concentrating alcohol in ANY way. It is actually worse then distilling. Distilling removes the alcohol from all the other components yielding a rather pure result. Freeze concentrating post fermentation leaves everything but the water, and as a result concentrates things like methanol if they are present, which is a very bad idea.

#10 Techguy

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Posted 28 September 2010 - 07:50 PM

No, I believe that I am telling you the truth actually.

http://en.wikipedia....tional_freezing

a snippet...
Alcoholic beverages
Fractional freezing can be used as a simple method to increase the alcohol concentration in fermented alcoholic beverages, a process sometimes called freeze distillation. Examples are applejack, made from hard cider, and ice beer. Freeze distillation of alcoholic beverages is illegal in many countries, as it can concentrate poisonous compounds, for example fusel alcohols, in the original fermented beverage to unhealthy levels; heated distillation methods tend to eliminate these more harmful fermentation products. In practice, while not able to produce an alcohol concentration comparable to distillation, this technique can achieve some concentration with far less effort than any practical distillation apparatus would require.

See, when you freeze something alcoholic, not only due the sugars and flavors concentrate, so does the alcohol. Govt bureaucracy at it's finest.



Ok so what makes late harvest and geniune ice wine juices with even higher concentrations and brix different than freezing and thawing? Seems very petty, not like anyone is going to come knocking on your door anyways if you do it.
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#11 Asparky

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Posted 29 September 2010 - 01:31 PM

Bottom line is concentrating something with Alc is Illegal according to feds it is same as distilling

concentrating juice with no alc is Not Illegal... It has to have Alc in it to be Illegal... Its referred to also as Getto Distilling

BTW what yeast are you using in your Gerz... Im just starting a batch and would appreciate any info (I emailed you also)
Thanks ...Ron




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