3 Clever Ways To Reduce Wine Acidity

Why To Reduce Wine AcidityHave now racked my muscadine wine for the 2nd time and gave it a taste test. It seems to have a very tart taste. What can I do to correct this?

Name: Bud
State: Tennessee
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Hello Bud,

The reason your homemade Muscadine wine is too tart is because the acidity is too high. The acidity comes from the fruit, itself, in this case the Muscadine grapes. It can also come from any Acid Blend you added as called for in your wine recipe. Every crop of Muscadines has a little difference in tartness, so it is hard for a homemade wine recipe to be accurate every time. The same goes for making wine with most fruits.

There are some things you can do to reduce wine acidity, but now is not the time to do it. You will want to wait until the wine has completely cleared and is to the point where it could be bottled. Once you are at this point in the wine making process, you can take corrective actions to lower the wine’s acidity.

The best place to start is with an Acid Test Kit. This will tell you how much fruit acid is in the homemade wine and how much should be in it. It’s a great product to use in such a situation. All you need is a small sample of the wine to take a reading, and it’s fairly quick. The reading will tell you exactly how much titratable acid is in the wine and what it should be.

There are three ways to reduce wine acidity and get the wine’s tartness in the right range:

 

  • Dilution:
    If the wine is just a little too tart, you can do something as simple as add water to dilute it. You should use distilled water so that free oxygen from the water is not introduced into your wine. The obvious problem with using this method to lower the acidity of a wine is that it isShop Acid Test Kit diluting the wine’s flavor as well. If you have taken a reading with the Acid Test Kit and know what your wine’s acid level is and what it should be, you can use something called a Pearson’s Square to figure out how much water it would take to reach your target acidity level.
  • Neutralization:
    One product that is perfect for reducing wine acidity is Acid Reducing Crystals. It is added directly to the wine and neutralizes a portion of the acid causing it to drop out as tartrate crystals. The directions on the side if the jar will tell you exactly how much of the Acid Reducing Crystals to add to reach your target acidity level.
  • Malolactic Fermentation:
    A malolactic fermentation is essentially a controlled bacterial fermentation with a selected malolactic bacterial culture. It is something separate from the alcohol fermentation and is usually started at the tail end of a yeast fermentation or later. The malolactic culture slowly ferments malic acid into both lactic acid and CO2 gas. Not only is lactic acid not as tart as malic, there will be less of it when the fermentation is done, by about half. The other half is dissipated from the wine as CO2 gas. Some types of wines are routinely put through a malolactic fermentation for flavor considerations, but not all wines are well suited for a malolactic fermentation. For this reason, you should use malolactic fermentations with caution when used for the sole purpose of reducing wine acidity.

 

Shop Acid Reducing CrystalsIt may be a little obvious at this point, but you can also use a combination of the three methods to lower the acidity of the wine. This is a good option for wines that are way too tart.

If you make wine from fresh fruits for any length of time, eventually you’ll run into a situation where the wine is to tart. Knowing how to reduce wine acidity is key to becoming a well-rounded home winemaker.

Happy Winemaking,
Ed Kraus
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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.

55 thoughts on “3 Clever Ways To Reduce Wine Acidity

  1. Put the carboy in a refrigerator for about 2 weeks and you will get acid crystals in the bottom. Rack off the acid crystals, let it warm to room temp and retaste. or retest.

      • There are some yeast that will be used for reds more so than white and vice verse. But in general, you can use any type of wine yeast on any type of wine and end up with a decent tasting wine. Different yeast can add subtitle characters to a wine, but it is not the primary key to a wine’s flavor.

  2. Johnathan, thanks for that great advice. The article overlooked mentioning the fact that it is possible to have acid precipitate from the wine simply by cooling it down. It is not guaranteed that you will get crystals, but if your wine is noticeably tart, you more than likely will. Adding a 1/4 teaspoon of Cream of Tarter to a 5 gallon batch will help to get the precipitation started. You can also chill a wine that has been treated with Acid Reducing Crystals to help speed up the process. Thanks again, Johnathan!

  3. I enjoy reading the tips from E.C. Kraus.
    I have an even bigger problem with tartness. I mistakenly bottled a batch before tasting it. Now what do I do if the wine is in the bottles and it’s too tart? I froze a bottle and it dropped out the crystals and tasted good but the cork came off and it could’ve been a big mess!
    Help!!!

    • Just bottled some muscadine wine very sweet and too much acid. I think muscadines are more acidic than regular grapes. I mixed dark and bronze have hundreds of yards of vines.

      • Andre, I am sorry; we do not have any experience using baking soda to remove excess acid in wine. As far as we know, it is not a common practice to use baking soda/sodium bicarbonate in wine. We do carry Acid Reducing Crystals (Potassium Bicarbonate) to help reduce the acid in your wine.

  4. I ran into this problem years ago when I made Orange wine. I followed a bad recipe that called for acid blend…bad idea! The wine was tart. I made another batch of wine (Pineapple) that called for acid blend. I didn’t add it. When both were done fermenting I blended both together (Pineapple – Orange wine). The wine was excellent when complete. So you have another alternative to make another batch then blend them together.

  5. I think I will try the potassium bicarbonate. I have two more 6 gallon carboys of the same grape wine. Thanks for your help!

  6. The article describes malolactic fermentation as converting tartaric acid, but I believe it is actually converting malic acid. This is kind of important for fruit wine makers, because most of the fruit wines (apple, etc.) have low levels of tartaric acid.

  7. I’m totally confused now about acid. I have a batch of blueberry wine that I started a few days ago and I can’t get it to start fermenting! I followed the recipe that is for 1 gallon and modified it to make 6 gallons. I added 10.5 lbs sugar, 13lbs of fruit, 9 tsps of acid blend, 3 tsps Pectic Enzyme, 3 tsps Energizer and water to 6 gal. I used K1V-1116 yeast hydrated per instruction on package. I prepped everything added all to clean sanitized primary. Fruit in strainer bag. S.G is 1.086. added yeast yesterday. 72 hrs since campden tablets were added. No fermenting at all. Tested ph reading 2.6. What did I do wrong?

    • Rick, from the description you’ve given above, you’ve done nothing wrong. I would suggest that you take a look at the “Top Ten Reasons For Fermentation Failure“. Go through them and I wouldn’t be surprised if you find a reason for the non-starter. My guess is that the yeast was put in water that was too warm or it was left in warm water longer than directed. If so, just add another packet of wine yeast directly to the wine.

      • I am having the exact same issue. I have already added the second batch of yeast thinking the first lot was inactive since it was expired, so i bought new and tried again, still nothing. The S.G. is 1.085, approximate sugar is 11%. I’ve used the same recipe as Rick, except i’ve used partridgeberries. Just went through all the 10 reasons for fermentation failure but haven’t figured it out. Any extra advice?

  8. Adding some sugar can offset the tartness nicely without making the wine taste sweet. On the order of a tsp per bottle, depending on tartness. Then you will need to add sir are to keep the sugar from fermenting in the bottle.

    • Carol, that will depend on how high the acid is. For each teaspoon of Acid Reducing Crystals added to 1 gallon of wine, the total acidity (TA) will lower by .18% tartaric. We recommend determining what your wine`s current TA is with an Acid Testing Kit. Then establish a dosage to add to the wine. If you do not have an Acid Testing Kit then use 1/4 teaspoon of Acid Reducing Crystals for every gallon of wine. More Acid Reducing Crystals can be added later if the wine is still too tart.

  9. I’ve enjoyed the comments, which are quite helpful. The posts often refer to “Acid Reducing Crystals” which seems a bit of a marketing ploy. Are they, in fact, pure potassium bicarbonate? I wonder if the writers could give the same precise quantities for potassium bicarbonate, which I’m assuming I can purchase reasonably easily.

    • Neil, yes as it states in the description of the product and the product jar, the Acid Reducing Crystals are potassium bicarbonate.

  10. Can any body tell remidies to reduce the sweetness of wine when fermentation stuck or complete can we add fresh juice to reduce the sweetness to restart the fermentation without adding further sugar

    • I have had some muscadine wines end up sweeter than I wanted, but I didn’t want to restart the fermentation. I added citrus – usually bottled lemon juice – to reduce the cloying sweetness, and have been very happy with the results.

    • Bruce, when testing pH you are looking for a reading of 3.4 – 3.8. Remember that the scale works backwards, the lower the number the higher the reading.

  11. Hi Ed I just did a barrel taste and test of my red wine PH seems a little low 3.27 but it taste fine how do you raise pH ? Thanks Norm

    • Melanie, camden tablets will not interfere with the acid reducing crystal so it is fine to add them at the same time. However, since you will not be bottling the wine immediately after adding the acid reducing crystals, you will nee to add another does of sulfites at bottling time.

  12. I’ve just used half a teaspoon of baking soda in the decanter for a strawberry+blackberry wine that felt quite tart. I added too much tartaric acid when making the wine. The addition of baking soda to the wine produced a bit of foam, which dissapeared in a few minutes. The flavour of the wine was much better.

  13. 9.03.19 Enjoy reading all comments by wine enthusiasts. I too am having vino issues…Vino too tart/Sauv.Blanc.
    Purchased Acid Test kit as recommended by your customer service staff. Ready for my next step.
    Thank you.

  14. Ed! I used your Fig recipe. It called for 4 Tbs of acid blend. I thought this sounded like a lot so I only used 2 Tbs. It came out extremely tart and sour. I did an acid test and after adding 10 cc of the solution I still had no color change. The acid level therefore must be well over 1,0. I added 2 Tbs. of the acid reducing crystals to the 6 gallon batch. Figured that amount should reduce the acid by 0.3 % which, if the acid level were 1.0, would bring it down to 0.7, close to a good range. I’m fairly new at this and still learning. I’ve started checking the acid level of the musk before
    fermentation so I will have a better balanced wine. I started a 6 gallon batch of muscadine a couple of days ago . OG of 1.10, acid level of 0.2. Added 2 tsp acid blend, ended up with acid of 0.6. Perfect I hope. If the fig doesn’t improve I’m going to try more crystals, cream of tarter, refrigeration, sample blending and sample dilution as a last resort. Check the fig recipe. I think it might be a misprint. If I’m wrong please forgive me.

  15. Ed,

    I have a Concord wine that is way too tart. The TA is 1.25% and PH is 3.3. I screwed up and used way too much acid blend by mistake. It has not been racked from secondary. What are my best options for losing the TA to ideally around %.65? That’s a huge drop to have to make. Hate to waste a wine that took 40 pounds of grapes to make. Though I’m tempted to just blend it with a blackberry wine that I started a month later if the TA is low enough. Ran out of my solutions to test that one.

    Thanks,

    Todd

  16. I’m at a loss. I hope you can help.

    I made a Cab Sav Kit wine and being it was a cheap kit, instead of making the 6 gallons, I made it was 5.5 gal. I figured when I move it from primary to carboy, I’d loose some.

    Being that this was a kit, I never took any readings other than a gravity reading when I started. I did have to add some sugar and got it to 1.090. The rest, I followed the instructions until it was clear. Once cleared, instead of bottling, I left it in the carboy. The Kit was started in mid Oct and it’s now the end of Jan. I decided to take a taste before bottling.

    OMG, was this wine acidic… I pulled out the PH meter and took a reading. Came in at PH 3.08. I thought my meter was out of calibration, so I check it against a PH 7 buffer solution and it was spot on. I checked a few other things they they looked right. I took a sample of this wine and heated it to make sure my PH reading wasn’t off because of carbonic acid. Let it sit over night in a glass. PH still coming in at 3.08.

    I’m being told to ignore the PH and just age it for a long time. I would tend to agree with this, if it were a white or the PH was a bit higher.. maybe around 3.3, but with it being at 3.08, I don’t think aging is going to help it much.

    Can you make a suggestion on what to do? Will letting it just age be enough or should I use some Potassium Bicarbonate or something else to increase the PH a bit closer to 3.4 then let it age?

    Please let me know what you think.

    Thank you.

  17. The first way to reduce acidity of wine recommends dilution. I have found here a little trick how to make your tarp wine as pleasant drinki without losing its fruit taste. In one 0.75L bottle add sparkiling water (natural, clear, not flavored). It could be Schweppes or other carbonated soda. Ratio: 3:1 (one part is soda). You loaded your wine with CO2 gas and now have bubbling sparkling wine! No needs champagne bottles, just use screw top dark color glass bottles, keep refrigerated. Satisfaction guaranteed!

  18. Ed. I have a muscadine orchard (reds and whites) and I tried reducing the tartness of the finished wine with acid reducing crystals. The finished PH was right at 3.8 and I let the wine sit for an extra 3 to 4 weeks before bottling to let all the sediment fall out. Then I racked the wine off the sediment. I was very pleased with the finished product. When I bottled the wine, it was brilliant and clear and had a wonderful taste. I do add glycerine and a polishing agent to my wine.
    About a month later, after letting the wine recover from bottle shock, I found all of the bottles were filled with debris.. not crystals but more like pectin debris. If I shake the bottles and stand them upright and let the debris fall to the bottom (which it won’t do without shaking), the top half of the bottle is very drinkable. The bottom half, I have to throw away. I used the same recipe I have always used …the one from your website and I’ve never had this problem. My wines have always been very clear and actually are pleasantly or only slightly tart. I love your recipe. However, all three batches that I tried to adjust the PH turned out this way. What did I do wrong?

      • Thank you very much. That sounds like exactly what happened. The article was spot on to what happened when I tried to make elderberry wine a few years back. Thank you again…I know it is a lot of work to keep up your blog but it is very helpful to us amateurs and I read it all of the time. You are appreciated.
        Sherri

  19. Ed – I have ordered your acid reducing crystals. Before I add them to my Chardonnay, I need to know if this will have an effect on my pH? My Chardonnay has both high pH (3.7) and high TA (8.8 g/L). I’m trying to reduce my pH as a priority over the TA. What effect will the acid reducing crystals have in my situation? I am really struggling with this problem as there just doesn’t seem to be a real solution to this problem.
    Thanks
    Ed W

    • Ed, if lowering the pH is you goal, then acid reducing crystal is not the solution. You can try using bentonite to help facilitate the dropping out of certain acid. You can also cool the wine down and this will help it drop out as well.

  20. I went in the local wine supply store yesterday and they told me to try putting my wine in the refrigerator for a few weeks and the cold temps would make the acid turn into crystals and they would fall to the bottom of the carboy and then I could siphon Off the the good wine off the top. Does this sound feasible???
    My wine juice is also made with Muscadine grapes so you im glad I found this article.

  21. I made an RJS wine kit and had a hard time getting the fermentation to run. Place I purchased it from gave me and different yeast to use and it seemed to work. Wine finished and in 6 weeks and is very color intense. I tasted before bottling and it seem to have a high level acid. Do you have any ideas on how to save this wine?

    • Graham, one of the three ways listed in this article to reduce the acid level is what I would suggest trying. Without knowing anything specific about the RJS wine kits, you might want to contact who you purchased it from for more suggestions because wine kits should come with the acid already adjust appropriately.

  22. just a thing i came across, thought my wine wasnt fermenting ,but the bin i was using and airlock wasnt airtight giving a falsehood of not fermenting ,changed vessels and sure enough it was releasing gasses and fermenting all along

  23. Can we mix high acidic wine with low acidic wine? What happens to its taste??
    hope to get your reply as soon as possible. Thank you

  24. i made beetroot wine by adding warm water+beetroot flakes + sugar+jaggery .
    after 10 days it was sour. then i added 2 table spoon into the solution. a sudden fizz happened and a sudden clarity to the solution was observed.
    Now i filtered the solution and added some more yeast + sugar and have kept it for another
    10 more days.
    let us see what happens…

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