What is residual sugar and why is it important?

Do you want to take your winemaking to the next level? We hope you already measure important parameters like free SO2 (sulfites), pH, titratable acidity and malic acid, but residual sugar has always been tricky, expensive, and/or subjective when trying to get a quantitative answer. Now Vinmetrica introduces its NEW Residual Sugar reagent kit.  Using the pH meter you already have, you can now get accurate and reliable residual sugar data.


Residual sugar is simply the amount of sugar left over in your wine after alcoholic fermentation has completed (in some cases this includes sugar that has been added later to increase sweetness).  Residual sugar values are expressed in g/L or as a percentage of weight to volume. Dry wines typically have up to 4 g/L (0.4%) residual sugar , medium-dry wines have up to 12 g/L (1.2%), medium wines up to 45 g/L (4.5%) and sweet wines have over 45 g/L. You certainly want to be sure that your Chardonnay or Syrah is dry, while you probably want that Riesling to be moderately sweet.  So knowing the level of residual sugar in your wine sample is important.  But there are two other factors that you want to keep in mind.

First, the residual sugar level lets you know that fermentation is over and whether stabilization will be needed.  Wines containing about 2 g/L of residual sugar or more may need to be stabilized with potassium sorbate (sorbitol) to ensure that fermentation will not start up and cause bottle explosions. You do not want to add sorbitol to wines that have already undergone malolactic fermentation as the sorbitol reacts negatively with the lactic bacteria and can cause unpleasant odors. You should stabilize your wine with sulfite and sterile filtration instead and monitor your wine while it ages in bulk to ensure fermentation does not start up again.

The second reason why measuring residual sugar is important is for labeling purposes: you are able to characterize your wine’s sweetness. Knowing the concentration of residual sugar in your wine allows you to classify it as a sweet wine or a dry wine or something in between. The European Union has classifications based on the residual sugar level, for example.

In our newly released Residual Sugar Reagent Kit, you will now have the tools to quantitatively test your residual sugar levels. Using the pH meter you already have, the Residual Sugar reagent kit can give you reliable, accurate results quickly and affordably at less than $3.00 per test.

For questions, please email info@vinmetrica.com or visit the Residual Sugar Reagent Kit product page (//vinmetrica.behladev.com/product/residual-sugar-reagent-kit/) for more information.


Adapted from: http://winemakermag.com/501-measuring-residual-sugar-techniques by Daniel Pambianchi

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