3 Clever Ways To Reduce Wine Acidity

Why To Reduce Wine AcidityHave now racked my muscadine wine for the 2nd time and gave it a taste test. It seems to have a very tart taste. What can I do to correct this?

Name: Bud
State: Tennessee
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Hello Bud,

The reason your homemade Muscadine wine is too tart is because the acidity is too high. The acidity comes from the fruit, itself, in this case the Muscadine grapes. It can also come from any Acid Blend you added as called for in your wine recipe. Every crop of Muscadines has a little difference in tartness, so it is hard for a homemade wine recipe to be accurate every time. The same goes for making wine with most fruits.

There are a some things you can do to reduce wine acidity, but now is not the time to do it. You will want to wait until the wine has completely cleared and is to the point where it could be bottled. Once you are at this point in the wine making process, you can take corrective actions to lower the wine’s acidity.

The best place to start is with an Acid Test Kit. This will tell you how much fruit acid is in the homemade wine and how much should be in it. It’s a great product to uses for such a situation. All you need is a small sample of the wine must to take a reading, and it’s fairly quick. The reading will tell you exactly how much titratable acid is in the wine.

There are three common ways to reduce wine acidity and get the wine’s tartness in the right range:

 

  • Dilution:
    If the wine is just a little too tart, you can do something as simple as add water to dilute it. You should use distilled water so that oxygen from the water is not introduced into your wine. The obvious problem with using this method to lower the acidity of a wine is that it isShop Acid Test Kit diluting the wine’s flavor as well. If you have taken a reading with the Acid Test Kit and know what your wine’s acid level is and what it should be, you can use something called a Pearson’s Square to figure out how much water it would take to reach your target acidity level.
  • Neutralization:
    One product that is perfect for reducing wine acidity is Acid Reducing Crystals. It is added directly to the wine and neutralizes a portion of the acid causing it to drop out as tartrate crystals. The directions on the side if the jar will tell you exactly how much of the Acid Reducing Crystals to add to reach your target acidity level.
  • Malolactic Fermentation:
    A malolactic fermentation is essentially a controlled bacterial fermentation with a selected malolactic bacterial culture. It is something separate from the alcohol fermentation, and is usually started at the tail end of a yeast fermentation or later. The malolactic culture slowly ferments malic acid into both lactic acid and CO2 gas. Not only is lactic acid not as tart as malic, there will be less of it when the fermentation is done, by about half. The other half is dissipated from the wine as CO2 gas. Some types of wines are routinely put through a malolactic fermentation for flavor considerations, but not all wines are well suited for a malolactic fermentation. For this reason, you should use malolactic fermentations with caution when used for the sole purpose of reducing wine acidity.

 

Shop Acid Reducing CrystalsIt may be a little obvious at this point, but you can also use a combination of the three methods to lower the acidity of the wine. This is a good option for wines that are way too tart.

If you make wine from fresh fruits for any length of time, eventually you’ll run into a situation where the wine is to tart. Knowing how to reduce wine acidity is key to becoming a well-rounded home winemaker.

Happy Winemaking,
Ed Kraus
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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.

16 thoughts on “3 Clever Ways To Reduce Wine Acidity

  1. Put the carboy in a refrigerator for about 2 weeks and you will get acid crystals in the bottom. Rack off the acid crystals, let it warm to room temp and retaste. or retest.

  2. Johnathan, thanks for that great advice. The article overlooked mentioning the fact that it is possible to have acid precipitate from the wine simply by cooling it down. It is not guaranteed that you will get crystals, but if your wine is noticeably tart, you more than likely will. Adding a 1/4 teaspoon of Cream of Tarter to a 5 gallon batch will help to get the precipitation started. You can also chill a wine that has been treated with Acid Reducing Crystals to help speed up the process. Thanks again, Johnathan!

  3. I enjoy reading the tips from E.C. Kraus.
    I have an even bigger problem with tartness. I mistakenly bottled a batch before tasting it. Now what do I do if the wine is in the bottles and it’s too tart? I froze a bottle and it dropped out the crystals and tasted good but the cork came off and it could’ve been a big mess!
    Help!!!

      • Andre, I am sorry; we do not have any experience using baking soda to remove excess acid in wine. As far as we know, it is not a common practice to use baking soda/sodium bicarbonate in wine. We do carry Acid Reducing Crystals (Potassium Bicarbonate) to help reduce the acid in your wine.

  4. I ran into this problem years ago when I made Orange wine. I followed a bad recipe that called for acid blend…bad idea! The wine was tart. I made another batch of wine (Pineapple) that called for acid blend. I didn’t add it. When both were done fermenting I blended both together (Pineapple – Orange wine). The wine was excellent when complete. So you have another alternative to make another batch then blend them together.

  5. I think I will try the potassium bicarbonate. I have two more 6 gallon carboys of the same grape wine. Thanks for your help!

  6. The article describes malolactic fermentation as converting tartaric acid, but I believe it is actually converting malic acid. This is kind of important for fruit wine makers, because most of the fruit wines (apple, etc.) have low levels of tartaric acid.

  7. I’m totally confused now about acid. I have a batch of blueberry wine that I started a few days ago and I can’t get it to start fermenting! I followed the recipe that is for 1 gallon and modified it to make 6 gallons. I added 10.5 lbs sugar, 13lbs of fruit, 9 tsps of acid blend, 3 tsps Pectic Enzyme, 3 tsps Energizer and water to 6 gal. I used K1V-1116 yeast hydrated per instruction on package. I prepped everything added all to clean sanitized primary. Fruit in strainer bag. S.G is 1.086. added yeast yesterday. 72 hrs since campden tablets were added. No fermenting at all. Tested ph reading 2.6. What did I do wrong?

    • Rick, from the description you’ve given above, you’ve done nothing wrong. I would suggest that you take a look at the “Top Ten Reasons For Fermentation Failure“. Go through them and I wouldn’t be surprised if you find a reason for the non-starter. My guess is that the yeast was put in water that was too warm or it was left in warm water longer than directed. If so, just add another packet of wine yeast directly to the wine.

  8. Adding some sugar can offset the tartness nicely without making the wine taste sweet. On the order of a tsp per bottle, depending on tartness. Then you will need to add sir are to keep the sugar from fermenting in the bottle.

    • Carol, that will depend on how high the acid is. For each teaspoon of Acid Reducing Crystals added to 1 gallon of wine, the total acidity (TA) will lower by .18% tartaric. We recommend determining what your wine`s current TA is with an Acid Testing Kit. Then establish a dosage to add to the wine. If you do not have an Acid Testing Kit then use 1/4 teaspoon of Acid Reducing Crystals for every gallon of wine. More Acid Reducing Crystals can be added later if the wine is still too tart.

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