Total Acidity in Wine
What is Total Acidity in Wine?
Total acidity is a measure of all of the organic and inorganic acids in wine. The contribution of each acid to total acidity is based on its relative strength. This is a complicated subject, but the important thing to remember is that the stronger the acid, the more it contributes to the total acidity. A small amount of very strong acid contributes more important than a large amount of a weak acid.
Generally, total acidity is the measure of tartaric acid in the wine. This is done to simplify the subject so people can understand it without being bogged down by the details of complex chemical interactions.
The range for total acidity of a wine is from 0.4 to 1.0 percent. However, most people would find a wine with 1.0% acidity too tart to drink and 0.4% too flat. Also, a wine that is closer to the 0.4% end is more susceptible to spoilage. Most reds are around 0.6% and whites are a bit higher at 0.7-0.8%.
Wine acidity is largely controlled by the winemaker, and is based on his or her palate. But like any sense experience, it is subjective. Meaning that what is good for one isn’t necessarily good for another. However, there are general ranges that are followed by winemakers for acidity:
- Dry Red Grape Wine: 0.60 – 0.70% acid
- Sweet Red Grape Wine: 0.65 – 0.80% acid
- Dry White Grape Wine: 0.65 – 0.75% acid
- Sweet White Grape Wine: 0.70 – 0.85% acid
- Sherry Grape Wine: 0.50 – 0.60% acid
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