What is Acid Blend in Wine Making?
Acid blend is used to improve the quality of a wine by balancing the acidity. In addition, wines with higher acidity are better suited for long-term aging. Balancing the acids in wine is often the difference between good wine and a great one. Acid blend is a powder made from the most common fruit acids: malic acid, citric acid, and tartaric acid. When needed, acid blend is added directly to wine to raise its acid level. Wines that are low in acid tend to taste flat, while wines with too much acidity are tart or sour. When done right, a balanced wine will fall between these two and result in a bright, crisp, smooth, well-rounded wine.
How do I know when to use Acid Blend?
The use of acid blend is pretty specific. If you are following a recipe that calls for the addition of an acid blend, then follow the directions. If you are not following a recipe, you will need to use an Acid Test Kit to determine current acid levels. An acid test kit will provide the total acid levels or TA, which will tell us the overall balance of the wine. The TA will be shown as a percentage (%TA) or decimal (# g/L).
.75% TA or 7.5g/L
These both mean the same thing and are interchangeable by moving the decimal. Once we know the current levels, we can compare them to the following ranges which are generally known and recognized to make a nice wine.
Red wine: .60-.70% TA or 6.0–7.0 g/L
White wine: .60-.90% TA or 6.0–9.0 g/L
Now we can quickly determine what adjustments need to be made. Adding one teaspoon of acid blend to a gallon will raise the titratable acidity or TA by 0.15%. So after running an acid test, you determine your must needs to be brought up 0.30%; you will need to add two teaspoons of acid blend per gallon.
When to adjust wine with add acid blend? Primary or Secondary?
Adjusting the acidity can be done before primary fermentation, after primary fermentation, or both. However, it’s best to make these adjustments before fermentation as it will result in a better-tasting wine. The yeast will also be happier in their environment and have the resources needed to turn your must into wine. It’s also important to note that acid levels can increase or decrease during fermentation; a second adjustment may need to be made after fermentation as well.