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All podcast music: “Café connection” by morgantj / CC BY 3.0, ©2009 – Licensed under Creative Commons 
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Sep 8, 2018

Acidity is one of the key components of wine, along with tannin, alcohol and sugar/dryness. This is a completely dorky look at acidity -- what it does, why it's important, and then dive into different types of acid and why it matters.

Here are the show notes: 

The Basics:

  1. It’s one of the four elements of a wine’s structure: acidity with tannin, alcohol, sugar/dryness
  2. It makes wine tart or sour 
  3. All wines are acidic (whites and reds, dry and sweet), but the degree varies from a real and perception perspective
  4. Acidity is in both grapes and in wine and it changes with winemaking
  5. Euphemisms: bright, crisp, racy, nervy


What acidity does 

  1. Influences wine color 
  2. Balances sweetness, tannin/bitter sensation, aromas, mouthfeel
  3. Low acid wines – no body, weak, flabby, brown in color
  4. Protects the wine from spoilage, helps it age – stabilizes because spoilage bacteria can’t grow in high acid environments
  5. Food and wine
    1. Great with acidic food – makes it smoother
    2. Contrasts/cuts the fat and lightens the dish up
    3. Sweet wine needs acidity


  1. Cooler climates have grapes with higher acidity. Slow ripening will preserve acidity
  2. Warmer climates need to add acid BACK through a winemaking technique – acidification
  3. Acidity is a HUGE harvest consideration


Dork Out Section

About Acid

  1. Types of Acid – in grapes: Tartaric (unique to grapes), Malic (fades fast), Citric (in small concentrations). In wine: Succinic, acetic (volatile acidity), lactic (milky acid)
  2. We discuss pH v Total Acidity and the relationship between them
  3. Malolactic fermentation: bacteria convert sugar and malic acid into lactic acid. Softer acidity than strong malic, wine is less acidic post MLF

Acidity Measurement

  1. pH – Strength of the acid – 0 – 14, water is 7. Wines are usually from 2.9 -4.0. pH scale is logarithmic, meaning a wine with a pH of 3.0 is 10 times more acidic than a wine with a pH of 4.0.
  1. Total Acidity/Titratable Acid – total of ALL Acids present, important to look at both


Acid is important -- pay attention and you'll see just how much!


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