A winemakers tool box Part 1

Purists argue that "great wine is made in the vineyard," not concocted in the laboratory.

Wine is fermented grape juice. In most cases the wine has been "manipulated" by the use of certain additives. There are several things a winemaker can do in order to enhance a wine. I had no idea about all these additives that were available to a winemaker and just how much a wine can be altered. When I started reading and researching I couldn’t stop. I am by no means against additives in wine however I want to know what the winemakers are doing and why.

Winemakers will harvest their grapes based on the pH level and other factors eg. weather conditions.

Note: The higher the pH the lower the acid.

The pH level of wine will range between 3.0-3.6

Here are the desired pH levels

White wine 3.3 (white wines are better with a lower pH level, more acidity is needed)

Red wine 3.4

Sweet wine 3.4

Dessert wine 3.6

Here are several examples of how a wine can be altered.

Acidification -decrease pH-(warm growing regions eg Australia, California)

The natural acidity of grapes in warmer regions tends to be lower. Winemakers can add tartaric acid pre-fermentation decreasing the pH level and improving the flavour, colour and balance.

Citric acid - increase a wine's stability

De-acidification -increases pH- (bad years in cool climate regions eg German)