An exciting time begins for all the wine enthusiasts: Most wineries have started bottling the 2015 vintage a few weeks ago. Soon, there will be the first presentations of the new vintage – which might be quite unusual. The hot summer in Europe led to a rapid ripening of the grapes, together with a high sugar content and a low acidity. And since acids play a key role in winemaking, we took a closer look at the different acids in wine and the methods to determine them.
Acids have a decisive effect on the taste of wine: acid gives the wine structure and a fresh, fruity and balanced taste. Moreover, acids influence the colour and stabilize the wine. Low acidity makes the wine taste flat and dull. At the same time, high concentrations of certain acids can affect the taste and cause wine faults.
Important parameters for wine analysis
Methods of acid determination
A rapid and precise analysis of sugar and acid contents in grapes is important to determine the best time to harvest. Regular analysis is necessary also during fermentation, so that adjustments can be made if required. Enzymatic methods have become well-established for the determination of acids in wine, since they are very precise and, at the same time, significantly faster and easier to use than traditional methods.
Moreover, enzymatic analyses can be easily automated, which is interesting even for small laboratories and wineries. An example for this is the RIDA®CUBE SCAN, which works with single-test cartridges and liquid, ready-to-use reagents. This portable analyzer performs all required analysis steps; the user merely has to pipette the sample into the tube and insert it into the instrument. After only 15 minutes, the results are shown on the display. This automated “walk away” system is a very convenient solution for wineries, enologists and laboratories with a lower sample throughput. Due to its compact size, the analyzer is easy to carry and therefore suitable for on-site analysis – and still, the system is as precise as big biochemistry analyzers.