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high ph and high TA

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BBarnes

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My cab sauv./merlot/franc blend is in the barrel as of Halloween. I checked the TA (8/8.5) and PH (3.75/3.8) and both are high. Any suggestions on adjustments? It is kept in a steady 55 degree cellar. From everything I have read it is tough to bring the TA down without raising an already high PH.
 

AlFulchino

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did you already cold stabilize..or have made any other adjustments?
 

BobF

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My cab sauv./merlot/franc blend is in the barrel as of Halloween. I checked the TA (8/8.5) and PH (3.75/3.8) and both are high. Any suggestions on adjustments? It is kept in a steady 55 degree cellar. From everything I have read it is tough to bring the TA down without raising an already high PH.

Thinking out loud ...

malic buffers pH high, so MLF to reduce malic followed by tartaric later if/as needed?
 

BBarnes

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I did malo to completion so that is not an opotion. I have not cold stabilized.
 

BobF

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How old is your N solution? Maybe test against a known acid source to verify accuracy. Throw 6g of tartaric in a liter of distilled water and test. Should be .6. If it's off, then factor the readings for your wine accordingly.

If it's accurate, then I'm out of ideas.

Well, one more idea. co2 might be buffering your pH reading. Have you thoroughly degassed?

Now I'm out of ideas ...
 

BBarnes

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thanks for the help btw. I have not degassed and what are my options for degassing in the barrel? I am going to rack in two months and will lose some gas then. My readings should be pretty accurate.
 

BobF

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I'm not lucky enough to have so barrels, so ... maybe vacuum? I use a hand vacuum pump on 3 gal carboys. I wouldn't want to on a barrel, which is almost certainly *much* larger!

Please do post your final fix this when you figure it out!
 

BBarnes

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cold stabilization is not an option at this point and I would imagine it would raise my PH in the process. It is a problem with many Yakima Valley Red Grapes to have high acid levels and high ph. I have chatted with a couple of commercial wine makers and they deal with the same problem. Now I just need to know how they fix it. I am sure they blend to correct but I have limited wine to blend and will have just enough for topping off if I keep it in the barrel for a year or more. I would love to keep it in the barrel for 18 months but I don't know if that is going to be a possibility with these high numbers.
 

Wade E

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As far as getting an accurate reading many microwave their sample to get the gas out.
 

Rock

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cold stabilization is not an option at this point and I would imagine it would raise my PH in the process. It is a problem with many Yakima Valley Red Grapes to have high acid levels and high ph. I have chatted with a couple of commercial wine makers and they deal with the same problem. Now I just need to know how they fix it. I am sure they blend to correct but I have limited wine to blend and will have just enough for topping off if I keep it in the barrel for a year or more. I would love to keep it in the barrel for 18 months but I don't know if that is going to be a possibility with these high numbers.
Your pH should not raise from cold stabilzing.I would cold stabilize asap.Your ph is not that hi you can still adjust with tartaric acid then cold stablize .It will be minimal tartaric acid to get this down to like 3.5.Not much will be needed.These numbers are not that high.Btw if these are grapes we are taking about,these yakima valley are top notch.How big of a barrel do you have?
 

Manimal

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How does it taste?????

I made a Cab Franc from Niagara this fall and after MLF and cold stabilization the TA is about 8.5g/l, but it tastes completely balanced. (pH is 3.4, so not high at all like yours.) I also made a Chardonnay with a TA of 10.35g/l (pH 3.2) which should probably be dropped down a bit by some Potassium Bicarbonate, but it isn't all that harsh on the palate, so any adjustment will be very minor.

Anyways, my point is that it is very possible to have wines with numbers that are way out of the "optimal range" and still taste very balanced... I personally would rather have a wine with some acidic backbone and freshness than a flat, flabby, low acid wine.

The pH issue is more of a concern from my perspective. I would filter with the finest pads you can get your hands on to remove as many latent bacteria and potential spoilage yeasts as possible and sulfite to the appropriate level to give you a minimum of 0.8 molecular SO2. Other than that, I'd probably leave it alone.

If you decide after sensory evaluation that the wine can handle a touch more acid, I wouldn't be afraid to run some bench trials to see if you can bring that pH down a bit without hurting the balance of the wine... pH numbers are WAY more important than TA numbers so long as everything tastes balanced.
 

BBarnes

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Great suggestions, thanks. It tastes fine for a young wine and I have 59 gallons of the stuff so I don't want to mess it up. It does not taste overly acidic. My concern with the ph is spoilage in the barrel and i want to keep it in the barrel for as long as possible. I may add some acid do you have specific suggestions?
 

Manimal

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As long as the pH is under 3.8, you're probably okay so long as you keep your SO2 levels up. Above 3.8 is where things start getting really dodgy since it becomes a very hospitable environment for spoilage organisms. Dropping the pH will give you greater microbial stability, but it might throw your wine out of balance. If you really want to drop the pH a bit, I would do some bench trials to see whether adding acid is an option or not... It might taste pretty balanced now, but even a small adjustment might make it go over the top in terms of tartness.

If you're going to add acid, use tartaric since it will have the greatest effect on pH, although some may precipitate out again as tartrate crystals... which means that your pH may change slightly again after these tartrates precipitate.

You can easily do a few 100ml samples with various degrees of acidification, say 0.25g/l, 0.5g/l, and 1g/l and then test for pH and taste them to see whether or not they taste out of whack with the added acid. Then you can simply make the call as to whether or not the pH changes that occur are significant enough (and taste balanced enough) to make any acid adjustments to the whole batch.

If you don't have a scale capable of weighing out small quantities, you can make an approximate 5% tartaric acid solution by dissolving 1 tsp (approx. 5g.) of tartaric in 100ml of water and then adding the appropriate quantity to each sample. Each ml of 5% solution will contain 0.05g, so to add 0.25g/l to a 100ml sample you would require 0.5ml... 1ml for 0.5g/l and 2ml for 1g/l. I find that a syringe is really handy for measuring out small quantities of solution. You'll probably want to check the math on this as I'm writing it in a bit of a hurry, but I'm pretty sure it's correct.

Anyways, sorry for the long, rambling response... hope it helps.
 
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AlFulchino

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Manimal I enjoyed reading your reply..do you feel there is any taste effect from ptassium bicrb?
 

Manimal

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do you feel there is any taste effect from ptassium bicrb?
To be honest, I don't have much experience using it. I know it's used quite heavily around here (Niagara) during high acid vintages, so I'm sure I've tasted my fair share of wines that have been treated with it. I'm a little hesitant to use it on the unoaked Chardonnay I made this year... I'll have to do some bench trials to see. The TA is very high, but on the palate it just tastes "racy," not particularly harsh or anything.... so I might just leave it. I have a tendency to enjoy wines with a good dose of acid, so I've never really thought its use was necessary for any of the wines I've made.
 

pecka

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I have a similar issue of high ph and high acid, although they are on the boarder of being high so i may not fool with them. As a follow up question though: how important is cold stabilization in a cabernet? A lot of what i read about lowering acidity includes it. I am in southern california so putting the wine outside wont do it, and my wife would divorce me if i emptied out the fridge to put my wine in. Right now it is stored in my insulated wine cabinet in the garage to keep the temp as constant as possible (mid 60s or so).
 
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