Ask Wine Wizard

Testing options for pH and TA

TroubleShooting

David Stollmeyer — Glen Ellen, California asks,
Q

Can you tell me what I really need to handle one to one and a half barrels of juice annually? The TA and pH kits that I have seen are quite unreliable.

A
I’m not a fan of the pH and TA kits available out there either. pH test strips are pointless as they don’t spit out an actual number and the TA test kits don’t work well for red wine because you can’t see the color endpoint. I’m also not a fan of spending hundreds of dollars on equipment and reagents that you may only really use once a year, not to mention get a college chemistry degree and some serious training to learn how to use So what’s a well-meaning home winemaker to do? Let the professionals do it! Especially as you live in Sonoma County, California (AKA Wine Country Central) you are better located than most to let your friendly neighborhood wine lab take care of you. Since you are only doing one or two barrels of wine, I would rely on a lab like Enartis, who have branches in Windsor and Napa, Gusmer Enterprises  or ETS Laboratory to run your juice stats and final wine numbers. Now, of course, you could spend many hundreds of dollars with these labs
Response by Alison Crowe.