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keverman

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I have Marquette grapes acquired in Traverse City, Michigan. They harvested at 25.5 Brix, 11.5 TA and 3.4 pH. I ameliorated to 24.5 Brix and brought acid down to 10.5 with pot. bicarbonate. Fermented with D254 and did MLF with Enoferm Alpha. End result: TA 7.0 and pH 3.6 - 3.7 after MLF. I get one reading one day, another reading another day. Thinking I'm right on the tipping point. I did a trial of CS by freezing a sample, thaw and test. The pH went to 3.8 and TA = 6.0. Is this test a reliable indicator of what it's going to do with proper CS? Shall I acidify just a tad to get it off the tipping point and then CS? Do I CS as is and adjust after if needed? Any debates would be welcome, I'm new at this....first wine. I'm growing Marquette, ready next year, so I bought some to practice. Thanks!
 

Johnd

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I have Marquette grapes acquired in Traverse City, Michigan. They harvested at 25.5 Brix, 11.5 TA and 3.4 pH. I ameliorated to 24.5 Brix and brought acid down to 10.5 with pot. bicarbonate. Fermented with D254 and did MLF with Enoferm Alpha. End result: TA 7.0 and pH 3.6 - 3.7 after MLF. I get one reading one day, another reading another day. Thinking I'm right on the tipping point. I did a trial of CS by freezing a sample, thaw and test. The pH went to 3.8 and TA = 6.0. Is this test a reliable indicator of what it's going to do with proper CS? Shall I acidify just a tad to get it off the tipping point and then CS? Do I CS as is and adjust after if needed? Any debates would be welcome, I'm new at this....first wine. I'm growing Marquette, ready next year, so I bought some to practice. Thanks!
Your wine is in a good range, I’d focus more on the taste than the numbers. If the sample that you put through CS tastes better, that’s a good way to go, if not, don’t monkey with it.
 

stickman

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Yes, that is a reliable test for CS results. What style of wine are you making? Dry, or do you plan to sweeten? If your ph went up during the test then you are closer to 3.7. Did you taste the wine after the CS test? Has your ph meter been calibrated? If it were me, I would tweak the ph down with tartaric acid in a sample and repeat the CS test, and also taste. I agree with @Johnd it's about taste, if dry style you can tolerate slightly lower acid, if sweet style you may need higher acid. You can make acid adjustments later, but then you'll always be dropping tartrates, get it right at this point and CS once and you'll have a more stable wine.
 

Stressbaby

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Do I CS as is and adjust after if needed?
What adjustment would you make other than adding back the tartaric you just dropped out?

You may give some thought to just bulk aging this guy under the same conditions in which the wine would be stored. I've had reds drop significant tartaric in the carboy over the winter just sitting in my basement. You would want that acid to drop out in the first winter in the carboy.

You already have all of the information you need to determine whether it would need adjustment post-CS. If the taste is better, do the whole thing. If not, bulk age it as above and taste it again in the spring.

Keep in mind you still have a number of tweaks besides the acid and related numbers to consider - oak is the obvious one but you have lots of other options.
 

Ajmassa

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Yes, that is a reliable test for CS results. What style of wine are you making? Dry, or do you plan to sweeten? If your ph went up during the test then you are closer to 3.7. Did you taste the wine after the CS test? Has your ph meter been calibrated? If it were me, I would tweak the ph down with tartaric acid in a sample and repeat the CS test, and also taste. I agree with @Johnd it's about taste, if dry style you can tolerate slightly lower acid, if sweet style you may need higher acid. You can make acid adjustments later, but then you'll always be dropping tartrates, get it right at this point and CS once and you'll have a more stable wine.
Lots of great info in this thread. And I think I’ve just learned some useful info. Sounds like this advice is based on the “CS at <3.65 will lower ph and vice versa” rule. I thought certain antacids were needed for this to apply but it seems not. Even CS by itself Correct? And it’s better to be satisfied with taste while at a stable 3.5-3.4 than 3.8-3.9.
 

Johnd

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And it’s better to be satisfied with taste while at a stable 3.5-3.4 than 3.8-3.9.
Yes, it’s better, but don’t let it cloud your judgement. At the lower pH, wines are certainly more microbially stable, require less sulfite, and are therefore a bit easier to manage. It’s nice when Ma Nature blesses us that way. That said, premium quality wines, fetching top dollar, aging well for decades, with higher pH’s, are produced all of the time. When the wine tastes it’s best, that’s the best pH, IMHO.
 

Ajmassa

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Yes, it’s better, but don’t let it cloud your judgement....... When the wine tastes it’s best, that’s the best pH, IMHO.
Thanks man. I’m following along for my my own needs and just wanted to make sure I understood the “tipping point” with CS and all that.
The fact there’s many quality wines w/ high ph’s was a big factor in my decision to let’r ride at 3.9 w/o adjusting. But to be honest, as a newbie with limited means I got scared at the 1st sign of trouble and lowered ph.
I also wanna acknowledge a great tip i took from this thread - the CS on a smaller sample as a trial run. Need to commit that one to memory. @keverman , how long was the sample frozen?
 
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