Acid Test w/ pH meter

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cmason1957

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No, TA is critical for wineries to measure in order to correct acidity and balance sweet wines. The pH is also critical for the reason you mention about controlling the free sulfite levels and it can vary significantly between varietals & vintages. Both measurements are a must for careful winemaking.
I'm closer to being in the camp with Fred. Certainly some wineries do it based on hitting perfect numbers, but some do it by taste. Both methods can work.

Trying to hit the perfect numbers with the hybrid grapes around Missouri will drive a person batty.
 

jgmillr1

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I don't intend to belabor the point because I don't lose sleep whether anyone follows freely given advice from some random source online. I only wish to correct blatant misstatements from speculative assumptions of what is done commercially by amateurs over their kit wines in their garage.

An analogy: Measuring the TA is the coarse eyeball for what you are dealing with, like figuring whether you need to reach for the 3/4" or 1/4" socket. Taste us the ultimate tool to fine tune the wine, like figuring whether it's a 1/2" or 10mm nut.

Commercial wineries like mine so both TA and taste. If there are any commercial operations that don't measure TA, I would be surprised and suspect about their year-to-year quality. That's my $0.02 left on the table.
 

Rice_Guy

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1) Cabernet sauvignon
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by the numbers your Cab has a high TA 1.02%, low pH 3.05, normal gravity 0.995; the two samples I put in for reference (California & Florida commercial wines) have a TA in the "normal" range.
opinion: (if I look at this as a grocery store beverage) for that high a TA the numbers would suggest that it should be sweetened to be in the orange band, however it isn't a very tannic flavor so the balance is good, transparent..clean, good flavor/ no off flavors (VA) so technically it is a well made wine. A guess is that you sourced a northern Cab for reference two juice buckets in the club were:
Cabernet Sauvignon, Chile 2020​
3.83​
1.085​
0.49%​
Cabernet Sauvignon, California 2019​
3.28​
1.090​
0.44%​
I suggested members try to get the TA to 0.65% if they were competing in state fair next year, you are balanced so ignore the "rules".
,,,,, RiceGuy

I am new to wine making and struggle with my acid test. I have 3 wines going, cab sauv, merlot, and niagara. I gave up on the color test and bought a decent pH meter for acid testing. I don't know whether my sodium hydroxide is bad, or if i am doing something wrong. I cannot get the pH to 8.2 I added almost 20ml to my niagara and the highest it went was 4.1. Added 10ml in my reds and didn't go above 4 on the pH meter so i gave up. I don't know where to go from here. Since I am new to winemaking, my acid test kit is fairly new. I even bought another one thinking it was old, and the second kit, same results. What am i doing wrong?
 
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Rice_Guy

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3) Niagara
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I only have one commercial Niagra sample, apparently they were targeting a sweeter audience. By the numbers TA 0.80%, pH 2.95, gravity 0.998. ,,, YUP a bit acid but a lot of other vinters balance their wine where you are.
Opinion; crystal clear, well made, excellent foxy aroma, no off flavors (VA), at state fair I would rank it a blue, I tend to sweeten my whites a closer to 1.005 to get more fruity flavor.
My zone is marginal for Niagra so I have yet to get any juice numbers.
I am new to wine making and struggle with my acid test. I have 3 wines going, cab sauv, merlot, and niagara. I gave up on the color test and bought a decent pH meter for acid testing. I don't know whether my sodium hydroxide is bad, or if i am doing something wrong. I cannot get the pH to 8.2 I added almost 20ml to my niagara and the highest it went was 4.1. Added 10ml in my reds and didn't go above 4 on the pH meter so i gave up. I don't know where to go from here. Since I am new to winemaking, my acid test kit is fairly new. I even bought another one thinking it was old, and the second kit, same results. What am i doing wrong?
 
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Rice_Guy

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2) Merlot (kit)
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By the numbers your kit had a TA of 0.76%, pH of 3.10, gravity of 0.998, ,,, pH seems low for a red grape which makes me ask what your water's pH is. You are in the range where a California Merlot (on the blue line) and a Merlot packed in Oregon were but you don't have long tannic notes.
Opinion; low fruity aroma,,, kinda camp fire, flavor is low tannic so it does not have long notes. Clean (no VA) good clarity.
For comparison, merlot juice buckets from the vinters club;

Merlot, Chile 2019​
1.090​
3.44​
0.33%​
14 SO2​
Merlot, California 2019​
1.087​
3.60​
0.32%​
4 SO2​

I am new to wine making and struggle with my acid test. I have 3 wines going, cab sauv, merlot, and niagara. I gave up on the color test and bought a decent pH meter for acid testing. I don't know whether my sodium hydroxide is bad, or if i am doing something wrong. I cannot get the pH to 8.2 I added almost 20ml to my niagara and the highest it went was 4.1. Added 10ml in my reds and didn't go above 4 on the pH meter so i gave up. I don't know where to go from here. Since I am new to winemaking, my acid test kit is fairly new. I even bought another one thinking it was old, and the second kit, same results. What am i doing wrong?
 

pditt13

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First off, thank you David for running the tests for me. It is greatly appreciated. The merlot was my first, a kit I received as a birthday gift. I followed instructions to the letter except for the “drink after six weeks”. It’s been 6 months and I prefer it to age. My Niagara, I did sweeten a little but was afraid to do too much. I will probably sweeten more before bottling. Will plan on working with the wines. Thanks for your thoughts and opinions. It’s a learning process.
 

balatonwine

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Rinsed the probe well and put it in my 7.01 and it registered 7.04
Calibration solutions are designed to calibrate a high quality pH meter. So they should account for error and re-calibrate. Even a low level pH meter should allow you to calibrate to your test solution. If not in the "buttons" than probably by some manual screw in the back of the meter.

That being said, an inexpensive meter that does not have a calibration option, or temperature correction, but showing a +- 0.03 is not bad. Within tolerance of inexpensive meters.

For most home wine making, accuracy to 0.5 pH (and +- 0.03 is within that range) is usually and often good enough. So you are probably fine. But if in doubt, buy a more expensive pH meter.
 
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