Let's Make Some Bottled Sangria!

Wine Ingredient KitMy wife has a terrific recipe for red sangria, requiring red wine, brandy and triple sec, as well as fresh fruit. If I make my own red wine (e.g. Island Mist Sangria Zinfandel) as directed, can I add the correct amount of brandy and triple sec at time of bottling so that the beverage is “ready to go” upon opening?
Name: Joe B.
State: MD
Hello Joe,
There is no reason why you couldn’t add both the brandy and Triple Sec to the wine before bottling. This is called fortifying the wine and is commonly done with certain styles of wine. But, I have some things you might want to consider first.
The first is that the Island Mist Sangria Zinfandel Blush already has a significant amount of fruity flavors. There is such a thing as overkill. Adding this to your wife’s Sangria recipe is a totally different beast than adding is to an ordinary red wine.
This particular wine ingredient kit also comes with a flavored sweetening pack. This means that the wine will be sweeter than the wine you probably have been using to make Sangria in the past. You didn’t mention it above, but if your wife’s Sangria recipe calls for sugar, you may need to adjust the amount, down, when using the Sangria Zinfandel Blush as the wine.
Here’s what this all really comes to. You need to bench test it first. What this means is after you make the Sangria Zinfandel Blush, take a wine bottle worth of it and try it out with the brandy and Triple Sec and whatever else your wife’s recipe calls for in correct proportion. Be objective. Does it really taste better with the additions or not?
This is the safest way I can think of going about this. The last thing you want is 30 bottles of something you don’t really ever want to pull out of the wine rack. Or worse yet, 30 bottles of something you can’t even drink.
Bench testing is pretty much the rule-of-thumb when making any kind of alteration to a wine recipe. It cost nothing to do and it keeps the batch of wine isolated from any mistakes or just plain, bad ideas.
Thanks for the great question. I hope this information gave you a better sense of how to handle the Sangria.
Happy Winemaking,
Ed Kraus
Ed Kraus is a 3rd generation home brewer/winemaker and has been an owner of E. C. Kraus since 1999. He has been helping individuals make better wine and beer for over 25 years.

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  1. Can you sell fortified wine? What type of license do you need? Is it difficult to get? How much is it?