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High pH and High TA

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DanWine

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I've just finished fermenting two different varieties of red wines. They came from separate vineyards and I'd like to make both in a dry style.

After fermentation, the pH on both is fairly high at 3.8 and the TA is also high at .85% or 8.5 g/L. I'm worried about the pH being too high and would like to adjust down under 3.6 to better protect the wine by adding some tartaric acid. But then I worry that by doing this I will make the TA too high for a drinkable dry wine.

Any thoughts?
 

salcoco

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how does the wine taste now? high PH doesn't mean bad wine. if to acid I would balance with a sugar syrup using bench trials. sugar syrup will not make the wine sweet but will balance the acid.
.
 

JohnT

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Yup, Acid is high, but not through the roof. I agree with salcoco that you should first taste the wine and decide if the acid needs to drop.

Sugar, however, is not a solution if you want a dry wine as a final product.

What type/varietal wine is it? Do you plan on doing MLF? This could drop the acid a wee bit.

Also, you could try a cold stabilization. This also could drop the acid a bit.

If still too high, then I would bite the bullet and go with a short treatment of k-bicarb.
 

DanWine

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The wine is a Chambourcin. My main concern is the fact that pH is so high. Won't this make the wine more susceptible to spoilage bacteria and ruin?

I'm not planning on doing MLF. Would that help lower the TA while not increasing the pH any higher?

I plan on cold stabilizing and have thought of k-bicarb but have concerns about pH increasing in both scenarios.
 

JohnT

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k-bicarb would raise the pH higher yet?

AAAAAAAGH!!! I make that mistake all the time!!!! I think about the TA measurement and my brain automatically forgets that the LOWER ph, the higher the acid.. Please accept my sincerest apology!!! (Having more senior moments lately!)

OK, now that my head is screwed back on, It really is a matter of taste. Adding k-meta will make up for the fact that you have a high PH.

Taking a second look at you measurements, a TA of .85 and a PH of 3.8 is not impossible, but doubtful. You have a rather high weight of Acid, but a rather low ph. If you have not doe this already, I would retest the TA and PH a second time to be sure (before you add anything).
 

cmason1957

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The Ph of 3.8 and Ta of 0.8 g/l sounds reasonable for Chambourcin I think two years ago mine was 3.8 and 1.2 for a TA, tested 3 or 4 times on that one. If it were mine, I would get the ph down, as in add acid to get the ph down to 3.4 or 3.5. Without much regard to the TA measurement value. I would do this on maybe a half gallon batch as a test and see how it tastes at whatever the TA happens to end up being. Then once you know where you end up, you can adjust the entire batch.

Maybe even do two or three half gallon batches. Don't worry, these batches won't be going to waste, you can add them all right back into your total batch, so you won't be losing any volume.
 

salcoco

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the addition of sugar syrup to balance the acid will not end up with a sweet wine assuming an acid taste is what is being experienced presently. trying it out o a 60ml sample will not waste any wine. just sprinkle some sugar, similar to salting food, into the sample and taste. continue to do so to gain experience in the addition of the sugar syrup to your wine. if the results are favorable the perform a bench trial. first make a sugar syrup with one cup water and two cups sugar in a blender use hot water. once cool establish a number of samples of your wine 60ml or 100ml. add a 1/8 tsp in first sample, 2 x 1/8 in second sample, and so forth increasing the sugar by a 1/8 tsp per sample. 1/8 tsp is .625 ml . once achieving the desired taste,compute the final dosage for the larger amount of wine.
 

JohnT

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the addition of sugar syrup to balance the acid will not end up with a sweet wine assuming an acid taste is what is being experienced presently. trying it out o a 60ml sample will not waste any wine. just sprinkle some sugar, similar to salting food, into the sample and taste. continue to do so to gain experience in the addition of the sugar syrup to your wine. if the results are favorable the perform a bench trial. first make a sugar syrup with one cup water and two cups sugar in a blender use hot water. once cool establish a number of samples of your wine 60ml or 100ml. add a 1/8 tsp in first sample, 2 x 1/8 in second sample, and so forth increasing the sugar by a 1/8 tsp per sample. 1/8 tsp is .625 ml . once achieving the desired taste,compute the final dosage for the larger amount of wine.
I agree with you, but the problem you now face is that the wine might re-ferment once sugar is added. You could add sorbate, but why not just simply drop the acid?
 

JohnT

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The Ph of 3.8 and Ta of 0.8 g/l sounds reasonable for Chambourcin I think two years ago mine was 3.8 and 1.2 for a TA, tested 3 or 4 times on that one. If it were mine, I would get the ph down, as in add acid to get the ph down to 3.4 or 3.5. Without much regard to the TA measurement value. I would do this on maybe a half gallon batch as a test and see how it tastes at whatever the TA happens to end up being. Then once you know where you end up, you can adjust the entire batch.

Maybe even do two or three half gallon batches. Don't worry, these batches won't be going to waste, you can add them all right back into your total batch, so you won't be losing any volume.
OK, I normally stick to Vitis vinifera, so those numbers do look a little suspect (but not impossible). I have never, though, experienced numbers like that in over 25 years of making from grapes. Is this to be expected from chambourcin (populated with a high level of weak acids)?
 

DanWine

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I'll recheck my numbers before doing anything. I read in another post that CO2 can skew the TA numbers higher. My test was done just after fermentation was over so still has quite a bit of CO2 in the wine. Possibly that could be skewing my numbers.

I'll wait a bit but my thinking was to add some Tartaric Acid to lower the pH down around 3.6 and then protecting with sulfite. I can also do some tests with some sugar to balance it out but don't want a sweet tasting wine. Thanks for all the replies!
 

skeenatron

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Yeah degas that wine then run the numbers again. If nothing else, shake the living hell out of your sample to remove as much CO2 from suspension as possible. You may actually have a wine with a TA in the 7s rather than 8s. A red pH of 3.8 is very common here in WA. Granted we aren't talking about the same types of wine here but from a microbial contamination standpoint it's the same. As long as you were very clean up to this point, age your wine nice and cold with very limited headspace and keep your free SO2 levels at a reasonable level, it won't spoil because of the 3.8.
 

salcoco

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hi ph and hi TA can be experienced in the Midwest especially under hot conditions and when the grape has a tendency to absorb potassium.Normally the grower lets the grape with these tendencies to hang in the vineyard longer to reduce the acid content. also the numbers may indicate a hi malic acid content as well requiring a malic acid eating yeast and MLF in the winery.

John T is correct sorbate does need to be added if sugar syrup is used. I was only suggesting this method as a alternative, dropping acid is another.
 

JohnT

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hi ph and hi TA can be experienced in the Midwest especially under hot conditions and when the grape has a tendency to absorb potassium.Normally the grower lets the grape with these tendencies to hang in the vineyard longer to reduce the acid content. also the numbers may indicate a hi malic acid content as well requiring a malic acid eating yeast and MLF in the winery.
QUOTE]

This very well may explain why the numbers look a bit odd to me. All of my grapes are sourced from either California or Europe.
 

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I'll recheck my numbers before doing anything. I read in another post that CO2 can skew the TA numbers higher. My test was done just after fermentation was over so still has quite a bit of CO2 in the wine. Possibly that could be skewing my numbers.

I'll wait a bit but my thinking was to add some Tartaric Acid to lower the pH down around 3.6 and then protecting with sulfite. I can also do some tests with some sugar to balance it out but don't want a sweet tasting wine. Thanks for all the replies!
I would be certain to run this through Mlf. It is a shame that you didn't use a malic eating yeast, it would probably have helped some.





hi ph and hi TA can be experienced in the Midwest especially under hot conditions and when the grape has a tendency to absorb potassium.Normally the grower lets the grape with these tendencies to hang in the vineyard longer to reduce the acid content. also the numbers may indicate a hi malic acid content as well requiring a malic acid eating yeast and MLF in the winery.
QUOTE]

This very well may explain why the numbers look a bit odd to me. All of my grapes are sourced from either California or Europe.
I am in Missouri and deal with Chambourcin every year, it isn't unusual to get "strange" numbers like these. Mlf and cold stabilization are always in order for these guys. Also, I have blended in some lower ph wines to help bring things more in line.
 

JohnT

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I have tasted quite a few champourcins over the last number of years. One thing I noticed (for my tastes) is that it is either really, really, good or God Awful. There does not seem to be an in-between.

Perhaps this is due to the process and not so much the grape? CS, MLF, and Acid adjustments make a VERY huge difference? Much more so than other varietals?
 

DanWine

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I would be certain to run this through Mlf. It is a shame that you didn't use a malic eating yeast, it would probably have helped some.


What would be an example of malic eating yeast? I used Lalvin RC212.

I'm not opposed to trying MLF. I have just never done it before as I like to try and keep things simple. Certainly no time like the present to learn unless it's too late for this batch.
 

salcoco

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71B or Marvin B will reduce malic acid about 50% during fermentation. visit More Wine at www.morewinemaking.com. scroll down the page and click on more manuals. there is a discussion on rendering a mlf fermentation. lots of other good ino also.
 

cmason1957

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I have tasted quite a few champourcins over the last number of years. One thing I noticed (for my tastes) is that it is either really, really, good or God Awful. There does not seem to be an in-between.

Perhaps this is due to the process and not so much the grape? CS, MLF, and Acid adjustments make a VERY huge difference? Much more so than other varietals?
And that is the truth. It is a grape I like to make wine out of but it doesn't seem like there are many consistently good Chambourcins out there and some are just not very good. Mine three years (or four years ago) was amazing, I still have about 6 bottles left of it. The next year, not so much. Last years, which went into the bottles just a few weeks ago tastes like it could be a winner, I added some St. Vincent to give it an extra dimension.
 

JohnT

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And that is the truth. It is a grape I like to make wine out of but it doesn't seem like there are many consistently good Chambourcins out there and some are just not very good. Mine three years (or four years ago) was amazing, I still have about 6 bottles left of it. The next year, not so much. Last years, which went into the bottles just a few weeks ago tastes like it could be a winner, I added some St. Vincent to give it an extra dimension.
Yup, When good it is fan-freakin-tastic!!
 
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