My Homemade Wine Gives Me Heartburn

This Is Homemade Wine That Gives Me HeartburnWe have been making wine for a few years now. Everything from blueberry, blackberry, pear, apple, strawberry, peach, and pineapple. Mostly from fresh fruit but lately some from frozen fruit. The big problem we have is that after 2 glasses I am dying from heartburn! I’m not sure what to do to lessen the acid and after reading some books I’m even more confused and I’m not even sure which acid i should be adjusting! Can you help?
Name: Ann
State: NY
Hello Ann,
What it boils down to is that you have too much acid in your wine. This is why it is giving you heartburn. When I say acid, I am referring to the tartness that is in the fruit combined with the acid you added per any wine recipe.
Typically, a wine recipe will call for acid in the form of Acid Blend. This is a blend of the three most common acids found naturally in fruits: citric, tartaric and malic. You can find more information about Acid Blend on our website.
You can end up with too much acid in your wine even if you are following a wine recipes. This is for the simple fact that the wine recipe does not know exactly how much acid is in the fruit you are using. It varies, and the recipe can only make a good guess.
To Always Have The Tartness Of Your Wines Spot-on…
You need to use an acid testing kit when preparing the wine must. The acid testing kit is essentially a titration kit that will tell you how much acid is in a sample of the wine must as a percentage.
Take a reading before you add any Acid Blend called for in a wine recipe. Once you have this reading, the directions will tell you how much Acid Blend to add to get to the target reading. You will typically be shooting for a range of .55% and .75%.
By taking these actions you will be taking control of your wine’s acidity, and you will be saying goodbye to your heartburn reaction to the wine.
Here’s an example. Let’s say you are making a blackberry wine. You would mix up the wine must as you normally would, except don’t add the Acid Blend. Instead, you take a reading to see how acidic the wine must is without the Acid Blend.
Let’s say you get a reading of .25%, but you want your wine to be .55%. Now you know that your need to raise the acidity percentage by 30 points. Here’s an interesting fact to help you along:

For every teaspoon of Acid Blend you add to a gallon of wine, you will raise the acid percentage by .15%. 

With this bit of information, you now know that you need to add 2 teaspoons of Acid Blend to each gallon of wine must to hit your target acidity level. This will raise the acidity to the target level. This can be applied to any fruit wine you decide to make.
As For The Wine’s You’ve Already Made…
A starting point would be to take a reading to see where the acidity stands. Once you know this, you will know what course of action you will want to take.
There are several ways you can go about lowering a wine’s acidity. All of them require that you put any bottled wines back into a common container. If the acidity is not to far off you can add distilled water to dilute it. In a situation that is a little more severe, you can add potassium bicarbonate to neutralize some of the acid. You can also try blending it with another wine that is lower in acid. Each on of these methods has it’s limitation and can be only taken so far.
With all this being said, you are on the right track as to why your homemade wine is giving you heartburn. It’s all about the acidity. Take control of the acid and you will take control of your heartburn.
Happy Winemaking,
Ed Kraus
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.