In the latest addition to our advice section here at Octavian Vaults, we take a look at wine PH levels and why they are so important. It doesn’t matter if you are new to the world of wine or have been collecting, drinking or investing in the world’s best Bordeaux for years, we think you may just find some tips you can use in the not so distant future.
If you have a scientific background you know that PH is all about acidity, which is obviously a clear factor when determining the quality and taste of a fine wine. In fact, acidity is one of the four fundamental traits of a wine, the others being alcohol volume, tannins and sweetness.
So, PH levels will have a big impact on how tart or sour the wine taste is. There is no “best” PH level, and which wines people prefer is completely reliant on taste, with people enjoying a range of different combinations. However, all wines will be on the acidic side of the PH range and have scores of between 2.5 and 4.5, with 7 being neutral.
There are three main acids which contribute to this score and a wine PH, these being malic acid, citric acid and tartaric acid.
Bearing this in mind, it isn’t difficult to see how integral a wine’s PH level or acidity is to quality and crucially, value. Wine’s that are mass produced or made too quickly are likely to have a very poor blend and therefore be far too tart, or perhaps even sour. This is why the production of the fine wines is such a skilled and respected art.
Experts across the globe are pretty much agreed on the fact that apart from sugar levels, the acidity of a wine is the most important consideration. Getting this wrong can be the fine line between a wine that is better poured into your spaghetti bolognese, and one that will take home awards at some of the world’s most prestigious events.
So now you know the concept behind wine PH levels, how do the chemicals work?
PH levels are centred around something called the logarithmic scale, which measures the concentration of free hydrogen ions that exist within your wine. The more acidic your wine is, the more of the ions there will be in your bottle, and depending on a range of other production factors, this can have a positive or negative overall impact on just how good your wine is. Again, much of this will be down to taste, and wine drinkers enjoy thousands of different combinations.
As mentioned, the biggest issue is usually a wine that is too sour and this is most likely down to an acid level that is far too high. This is far more common than having a PH level that is too low.
There is no official art or process behind making a winner wine, indeed, the premier manufacturers of great wine have been doing so for generations and the secrets will have been passed down and fiercely guarded. However, we do know that it requires the meticulous checking of PH levels, alongside things such as sugar (Brix levels), TA (total acidity) and VA (volatile acidity).
If you are a seasoned winemaker then you will be fully aware of just what these are and if not, we strongly recommend you look into these as you embark on the exciting journey of becoming a champion wine producer. Eventually, you may well know when the PH levels of your wine are right from looking at things such as colour and texture.
Remember, if you are looking to store your fine wine in some of the finest facilities in the UK, don’t hesitate to get in touch with the Octavian Vaults team via this website or by giving us a call on 01225 818 714.