We are a small winery on premise in Michigan and we make our wines from Must and kits only, we don’t crush the grapes. Is there a refractometer you could recommend for our purposes which could tell us actual specific gravity and Actual Alcohol readings of finished wine?
A refractometer is very useful at nearly all stages of wine production. It can be used to help assess the ripeness of grapes before harvest, predict alcohol content from the must, measure the sugar content of must, monitor the fermentation process, and determine the alcohol by volume (ABV) of the finished wine. A refractometer with the Brix scale is the best method of determining the sugar concentration of the grapes and must. Scales are available that can predict the alcohol content of the finished wine based on must measurements. Once fermentation begins ethanol will interfere with sugar readings and you will not be able to take direct readings of either alcohol content or sugar content, without using special techniques. Once the wine is finished, the same refractometer, with an ethanol scale, can be used to measure the distillate of the wine to accurately determine alcohol content.
Click the following link to download a copy of our technical bulletin on “Using Refractometers to Increase the Efficiency of Vineyard Management and Winemaking.”