Sugar - what's it doing in wine?

School of Wine Perth wine education class sugar acid

Why do winemakers add sugar to wine, and are they allowed to?

When we are picking grapes to make wine, we're trying to find the "sweet spot" of ripeness - I'm talking about the balance in wine, not sweetness! We seek to find the point when natural acid and natural sugar (fructose) meet to make that perfect wine.

What if there isn't enough sugar naturally occurring, then what? Well... we need sugar in the berry because in the fermentation process, we need sugar to interact with yeast to fuel the fermented grape juice to turn into alcohol -  it’s not necessary meant to sweeten a wine.

In Australia, we aren't allowed (by law) to add sugar to the wine - we call the addition of sugar Chaptalisation. In cooler regions like France, where grapes may struggle to reach ripeness and are harvested with lower sugar content and higher acidity, the adding of sugar is possible.

So - there you go, lots to learn about wine - this is just the beginning.

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- SM xx