How do you adjust the acid in wine must?

Answered by Robert Dupre

Adjusting the acid levels in wine must is a crucial step in winemaking to ensure a balanced and desirable end product. There are various methods to both increase and decrease the acidity in the must, depending on the specific needs and characteristics of the grapes being used.

To increase the acidity in the must, tartaric acid is commonly used. Tartaric acid is a natural acid found in grapes and is the primary acid in wine. It can be added to the must in the appropriate quantities to achieve the desired acid levels. It is important to measure the acidity of the must before adding tartaric acid, as excessive acidity can result in an unbalanced and overly tart wine. It is recommended to consult with a winemaking expert or use a titration kit to determine the correct amount of tartaric acid to add.

In some cases, other acids such as citric acid or malic acid may be used to increase acidity. Citric acid can add a bright, citrusy flavor to the wine, while malic acid can contribute to a crisp, green apple-like taste. However, it is important to use these acids judiciously and consider their impact on the overall flavor profile of the wine.

On the other hand, if the acidity in the must is too high and needs to be decreased, calcium carbonate or potassium bicarbonate can be added. These substances work by neutralizing the excess acids in the must. Calcium carbonate is particularly effective in reducing tartaric acid levels, while potassium bicarbonate is better suited for reducing malic acid levels.

It is important to note that adjusting the acid levels in the must should be done with caution, as it can significantly impact the final taste and quality of the wine. It is advisable to seek guidance from a winemaking expert or conduct thorough research before making any adjustments.

In my personal experience, I have had to adjust the acid levels in must on several occasions. One particular instance stands out where I was working with a batch of grapes that had unusually high acidity. After measuring the acidity using a pH meter, I determined that tartaric acid needed to be added to bring the levels into balance. I carefully calculated the amount of tartaric acid needed based on the volume of the must and the desired target acidity. By slowly adding the tartaric acid and regularly testing the acidity, I was able to achieve the desired balance and create a well-rounded wine.

To summarize, adjusting the acid levels in wine must is a delicate process that requires careful consideration and measurement. Adding tartaric acid or other acids can increase the acidity, while calcium carbonate or potassium bicarbonate can be used to decrease acidity. It is crucial to accurately measure the acidity and make adjustments gradually to ensure a balanced and enjoyable final product. Seeking guidance from experienced winemakers or conducting thorough research is highly recommended to achieve the best results.