What Is Residual Sugar?

Sugar is about as polarising to the wine world as that black and blue dress was to the internet. But whether or not you consider yourself a fan of sweet vino, one thing’s certain: every wine out there has some level of residual sugar (or RS, for short), even if it’s miniscule.

Residual sugar is the term for the sugars that are leftover once fermentation ends. Measured in grams per litre (g/L), it’s a mark of sweetness in wine and is determined by two things: 1) the amount of sugar naturally present in the grapes when they come off the vine and 2) the point at which fermentation stops.

Fermentation can stop for a number of reasons, most of which are natural (the yeast dying due to temperature changes or before they can fully convert all the natural sugars into alcohol, etc.). But the winemaker can also control RS by halting fermentation when the wine has reached the desired sweetness level (or lack thereof).

RS ranges from about 1 to 2 g/L in ‘dry’ wines to 35 or more g/L in ‘sweet’ wines (such as Sauternes) — but in the best sweet wines, RS is balanced by bright acidity to produce seriously drinkable sips with the perfect harmony.

28th December, 2018Dec, 2018

You might also like

Features

Introducing the WineFriend Blog

Join us on the next step of our wine-volution!

Read More

Wine & Food

Hot Hot Heat: What to Drink with Spicy Foods

Matching vino with spicy food can be a dangerous game. Use our tips to make sure you win every time!

Read More

Glossary

What Is Fermentation?

The glorious process that gives us wine

Read More

Glossary

What Is Acidity?

Get ready for some mouth puckering.

Read More

Stay in the loop with WineFriend!

“Are you old enough?”

- Dragon, 1978

You need to be at least 18 to sign up to WineFriend (it's the law).

Yes, I'm over 18 No, I'm not 18