Saturday, February 16, 2008

Acid Reduction in Wine through Malolactic Fermentation

Malolactic fermentation is an effective way to reduce both malic acid and citric acid levels in wine. This article will not discuss the procedure for conducting a malolactic fermentation (a subject for a leter blog article) but will only provide background information.

A malolactic fermentation reduces total acidity (TA) in wine and when conducted, its goal is to reduce the harsher malic acid concentrations into lactic acid which is a much softer acid.

It is virtually impossible for home wine making enthusiasts to determine the levels of malic acid present in their wine. The only method of determining the effect on the wine is to take a TA measurement prior to conducting the malolactic fermentation and then take another reading post fermentation. The difference between the initial reading and the final reading is the amount of TA reduction which has occurred. If acid levels have been reduced too far it can be increased by the addition of acids or by blending with higher acid wines. If the acid level has still not been reduced to the desired range, then other acid reduction methods including blending, the use of potassium bicarbonate, dilution with water or cold stabilization can be used to further reduce acid levels.

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