Acid Adjustment in Winemaking
Before we explain about how to adjust acid levels during the winemaking process, we first need to explain the important role acid plays in the final product of your efforts. Not only does acid determine the level of tartness in the wine, but it also affects the length of the wine’s stability once you bottle it. The level of acid will vary depending on the fruit’s picking time and the process that you use to make the wine.
Examples of the Types of Acid in Wine
The types of natural acid that will be in your wine will depend upon which fruits are in your must. Grape-based wines contain the following three main types of acids at the beginning of the winemaking process:
- Tartaric acid is the strongest of the acids in the grapes
- Citric acid
- Malic acid
During the latter stages of winemaking, other acids develop and will play a major role in the fermentation. These acids include:
- Lactic acid
- Succinic acid
- Acetic acid
Acid Helps Provide Balance to the Must
The first group of the above acids helps to balance the must. They add a tartness component to offset the natural sweetness of the grapes. For this reason, the acidic level has a major influence on the flavour of your wine. On top of this, though, the acidity of the wine affects the colour, fermentation and the aging ability of the wine along with its aseptic stability since acid levels control bacteria. As a result of these influences, you need to balance your must appropriately and should be according the type of wine that you are making at the time.
The TA and pH of Wine
There are two ways to check for the acidity of wine. One involves measuring the titratable acid or TA level and the other way is to check the pH of the wine. You should utilise both methods to ensure the must has the ideal balance. Testing kits are available for measuring the TA and pH levels that will provide you with accurate readings. Recommended TA levels range from 0.50 percent to 0.85 percent depending upon the type of wine. With the pH levels, white wines are typically between 3.0 and 3.4 while the pH of red wines varies from 3.3 to 3.6.
How to Adjust Acid Levels
Adjusting acidic levels in the must is possible by adding tartaric acid or other acids to the must in the appropriate quantities. Decreasing the acid level is also possible by adding calcium carbonate or potassium bicarbonate at the right stage of the winemaking process. Note here that each of these additives reacts a bit differently so it is important to research which one is necessary for your specific situation.
To gain additional knowledge about acid adjustment in winemaking, contact Grapeworks. Our company provides various products that help you monitor, increase or decrease the TA and pH levels in your must. With our assistance, each batch of wine that you produce will turn out in a quality manner.