What Causes A Homemade Wine To Taste Too Sour?

Just drank homemade wine that was too sour.May I know what causes a fresh fruit wine to taste too sour? I’ve tasted a homemade fresh fruit wine that is sooo sour, and what is the remedy to remove the taste?
Thanks very much!
Shirley S.
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Hello Shirley,
In almost all cases, the reason for a homemade wine tasting too sour is because it has too much fruit acid it it.
All fruits have various acids in them that contribute to a tart/sharp/sour taste. If the fruit is too acidic, or too much of the fruit is used in the wine recipe, you can end up with a wine like you are describing.
This type of wine fault is also enhanced by the fact that during a fermentation almost all of the the sugars are fermented into alcohol. This doesn’t make the wine more acidic, but it does allow the sour flavor to stand out much more.
Acidity can be a problematic area if you are just leaning how to make your own wine. With your future batches I would suggest that check the acidity level both before and after the fermentation.
If the wine is flat tasting this means there is not enough acid. You may need to add more acid to bring the wine back into balance. This is normally done with the addition of acid blend.
If the wine is too acidic, there are a few ways you can go about reducing it, including dilution. A very good article on the subject is Getting A Handle On Wine Acidity. It has some wine making tips for reducing the acidity of a finished homemade wine that is too sour, as well as other information.
Shop Acid Test KitFollowing trusted wine recipes will normally keep you out of trouble. A further step you can take is to get an acid testing kit. It will come with directions that will tell you what reading to shoot for and what to do to get it there – even before the fermentation starts.
Acidity is one of the fundamental flavor components of any wine. It has to be right before even having a chance of the wine tasting any good. If there’s not enough acid in the wine it will taste flat and lifeless; and if there’s too much you end up with a homemade wine that too sour.
Best Wishes,
Customer Service
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Ed Kraus is a 3rd generation home brewer/winemaker and has been an owner of E. C. Kraus since 1999. He has been helping individuals make better wine and beer for over 25 years.

10 thoughts on “What Causes A Homemade Wine To Taste Too Sour?

  1. Red wine can take on several flavors depending on the steps taken before and after first and second fermentation however after the second fermentation if your smelling a slight sour smell your probably ok just add 1/4 cup desired sugar per gallon, my preference is “sugar in the raw” but if the smell is over powering then you may be able to still salvage your wine by air raiding it then adding things like potassium metabisulfite to kill off any yeast then keeping it free from light for 10 to 16 days checking it every other day and venting it from time to time then adding your sugar x2 . Yes it can take a little longer but the other option is to throw it out and start fresh ensuring that you use caution in sanitizing, light and oxygen from your brew. GOOD LUCK

  2. hi! i tried to make wine at home but after changin from one container to another,some maggots developed! what went wrong? thanks.

  3. Hello there!
    I’m not sure if it’s ok to post my conundrum here.
    Anyway, I have 5 gallons of appr., 1 month old banana “Wine” it’s sour and has a vinegar taste. I’m not sure if it’s because it’s young or if it’s turned to vinegar. Right now it’s reading 5% potential alcohol.
    Am I just in a hurry or did I just make 5 gallons of banana vinegar.
    Thanks, Esther.

    • Esther, according to your hydrometer reading the wine is still fermenting. During fermentation it is normal for the flavor of the wine to be off. So I think it is too soon to give up on the wine. If the wine is sour or tart, the acid may be too high but you need to wait until the fermentation is complete to make any adjustments. Below we have included the links to a couple of articles that discusses vinegar in wine and adjusting the acid.
      Why Does My Wine Taste Like Vinegar
      https://blog.eckraus.com/wine-taste-like-vinegar
      Getting A Handle On Wine Acidity
      https://eckraus.com/wine-making-acidity/

  4. I have been trying to make grape wine several times. I use 4 1/2 gallons of grape juice 10 pounds of sugar and a packet of yeast and it always comes out with a sour taste to it. What am I doing wrong. I just want it to taste like grape juice not sour juice. PLEASE HELP ME SOS!!!!!!!!

    • It could be that you don’t care for a dry wine. Dry means all the sugar is gone… fermented. You can back-sweeten any wine at bottling time to taste. You might want to experiment with this. If you do back-sweeten the wine, it’s important to remember to also add potassium sorbate at the same time, otherwise the fermentation could start up again in the bottles.

  5. My third attempt at wine and I have the same problem. First two were strawberry, this batch is apple. The wine has a odd foul smell and very tart/sour taste. I followed recipes to the letter each time with same result?? Smell was there after initial fermentation.

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