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Manitoba’s Fresh fruit and vegetable season is upon us, so here is some information for all you hardy winemaking souls who don’t mind picking, peeling, coring and chopping. We used to sell little recipy books for all kinds of wine – everything from apples to wheat and pumpkin and everything between. These days, the internet provides all this information at the low cost of a typed sentence in google.

Recipies will ask for specialty ingredients in order to achieve a good taste and aroma. Most recipies will call for some combination of acid blend, yeast nutrient, grape tannin, Campden tablets, pectic enzyme, and wine yeast.

We’re going to cover, in a 3 part series, the functionality of each of these products.

Acid Blend

Good acid balance is crucial to the taste of good wine. Wines low in acid taste "flat". They just lay there on your tongue and don’t do anything. They end up tasting boring! On the other hand, too much acid will leave a wine tasting sharp and less pleasant to drink.

This is where acid blend comes in. Acid blend is a mix of Malic, Tartaric and Citric acids. All of these acids are found naturally in the fruits we turn into wine. Tartaric acid is the principal acid found in ripe grapes, and helps form esters during the maturation of your wine. This is important to the developping taste and aroma character of your aging wine. Malic acid is found in nearly every fruit and berry plant, but is often associated with green apples since its presence hints at that flavour. This acid helps the wine to balance itself as it ages, by allowing for malolactic fermentation. Malolactic fermentation is the process whereby Malic acid breaks down into Lactic acid, and causes a precipitate to form often refered to as "wine diamonds". Citric acid helps correct the acid level, and adds a slightly citric taste to the wine.

Stay tuned for our next installment, where we’ll discuss yeast nutrient, grape tannin and Campden tablets.