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RS in Wine

Sugar has a powerful impact on a wine's perception. Low levels of residual sugar (RS) can give the wine a fuller mouthfeel and improved weight while not tasting sweet.

RS is also an important aspect of wine style, and in some countries the RS of the wine determines its stylistic designation.

Why adjust RS?

Wines are microbially stable and considered dry when their RS level is below 2.0 g/L. Adding sugar above this level can encourage the growth of some spoilage microbes, so sterile filtration is a good idea if you're going to bottle much above 2.0 g/L RS.

If you can't or don't want to sterile filter, it would be a good idea to keep the molecular SO2 levels between 0.5 and 0.8 ppm when bottling above 2.0 g/L.

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Why bother with RS trials?

RS trials are a great idea because once you add sugar to a wine you're more or less stuck with it.

The only way to remove the excess sugar would be fermentation (Brettanomyces often does this without you having to ask) or blending, and it's easier to make the right add from the beginning.

Setting up an RS trial is easy, and it can be surprising how a little sugar can change the character of a wine.

Make an RS trial »