Technique

Managing Acid in Fruit Wines

Grapes want to be wine. That may be oversimplified, but the fact is that the vast majority of commercial wines — and most homemade wines — use winegrapes as their base. The balance of flavors, aromas, sugar and acid that naturally occurs in grapes is unmatched by any other fruit for the direct production of a pleasing adult beverage. That does not mean, however, that there cannot be excellent wines made from other fruits. It just means the winemaker may have to work a little harder to get there. Grape wine must is generally prepared with fruit present for red wines and as juice without fruit for whites and rosés. While flavors and aromas vary greatly by variety and terroir, there are some common ranges for key attributes such as sugar and acid. To produce a table wine, the percent sugar by weight (°Brix) is usually between 20 and 26, while the acid is most commonly between 0.5 and 0.8 g/100 mL. For most wine styles, the winemaker looks for TA levels of about 0.6 to 0.7. We will look