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CONTENTS

RED WINE and pH
Consumer Expectations
Low pH v High pH
The Problem

SECTION 1
I. Inhibitors:
- SO2
- Temperature

II. Nutrients
- Oxygen
- Fermentable sugar
- Malic Acid

III. Inoculum
- Commercial organisms
- Sanitation
- Filtration

SECTION 2:
I. Phenolic Chemistry
- Monomeric phenols
- Polymeric phenols

TANNINS

BRIX

"ELEVAGE"

COLD STABILIZATION

Winemaking at High pH

by Clark Smith

In this section, we consider the winemaking terrain above pH 3.6. Since the standards for most California wines that exist today (though not necessarily tomorrow) make it difficult to produce commercially acceptable white wines, this is essentially a discussion of red wine production. Consumer expectations for red wine differ from whites in several salient ways:

  • More tolerance of browning

  • Less emphasis on clarity

  • Less emphasis on fresh fruitiness

  • More value placed on complexity, less on cleanliness of aroma

  • Greater ageability requirements

The dominant theme of low pH winemaking is focused on prevention and control. In high pH winemaking, we often acknowledge that we have given up on prevention, and try instead to direct the inevitable to a stable and agreeable outcome.

 

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