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How Wine is Influenced by pH

Wineglasses

Ever wondered how the pH affects Australian wine production? The chemical and biological stability of wine depends largely on pH values.  Measurements of pH in wine processing can range from 2.9 to 4.2, as monitored by pH meters.

Lower pH values are known to improve stability, so winemakers will usually prefer a pH range of 3.0 to 3.5. The wine pH is dependent upon:

  • The total amount of acid
  • Ratio of malic acid to tartaric acid
  • Amount of potassium present

Wineglasses John Morris Scientific

High pH Wine Values

Wines containing little acid and excessive potassium reveal high pH values. With high pH values in wine, bacteria grows rapidly and undesirable bacterial fermentation becomes more of an issue. This creates less biological and chemical stability together with a poor quality of colour. High pH wines require more attention.

Low pH Wine Values

When wine contains lower pH values, it has more tartaric acid but less malic acid and less potassium. A low pH inhibits bacteria and causes sugar fermentation to progress more evenly. It also makes malolactic fermentation easier to control.

Low wine pH offers better visual qualities as well—both red and white wines display a richer colour intensity. Red wines naturally contain more colour while white wines don’t brown as easily.

Wine Characteristics

Low pH Range
(3.0 – 3.4)

High pH Range
(3.6 – 4.0)

Oxidation

Less

More

Colour Amount

More

Less

Kind of Colour

Ruby

Browner

Yeast Fermentation

Unaffected

Unaffected

Protein Stability

More stable

Less Stable

Bacterial Growth

Less

More

Bacterial Fermentation

Less

More


Measuring pH

To test the pH levels in wine, we recommend using a pH meter with up to 3-point pH calibration or a handheld meter with 5-point pH calibration for accuracy and reliability.

 

Need more information on pH meters?
Our Technical Experts would love to hear from you
AUS Freecall Ph. 1800 552 724 or  NZ Freecall Ph. 0800 651 700
Email: info@johnmorris.com.au

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