I learned so much this year in farming…but not as much in all the items I had to monitor prior to harvesting and in making good wine. I was looking at sugar content (around 23.5 to make 13.5% alcohol wine), seed color as the browner will tell me that the phenolics (ripeness) are ready but I didn’t monitor the pH. Why is that important? In a finished wine you want around 3.6 pH so that it will taste smooth but also age. The higher the pH the harder it is to age and the more sulfur you have to add when the wine is aging and in the bottle so it does not spoil. Therefore, you want your grapes at harvest to be around 3.4 because during fermentation, pressing and malolactic fermentation it will rise 0.2-0.3 units. When we picked the pH was 3.9 so I added tartaric acid to bring the pH closer to 3.7 before fermentation. Hopefully that is low enough.
Oh, almost forgot…the higher the pH the lighter the color. So, I added pectic enzymes to the must during cold soak to enhance the color. The top picture is with and without enzymes. Pretty impressive so far, will have to see how it turns out in the finished product.