Tables for Addition of Tartaric Acid

Household Measurements

Since California grapes can be low in acid content at harvest, measurement and addition of acid to musts or wine have become common among many home winemakers. Acid measurements are usually expressed as grams of acid per 100 ml of must or wine and in the USA it is expressed in terms of tartaric acid. To use the following tables, let’s suppose that we measured acid content and found that our wine contained 0.6 g/100 ml. We want to raise this value to 0.7 so we need to add 0.1 g/100 ml. The wine is in a strange looking 26 gallon barrel so how much tartaric acid do I need to add? In the table, I look at the column for my target addition of 0.1 g/100 ml and scroll down to the 26 gallon size of the container (I’ve put in the most frequently used sizes, it just so happens that we have 26 gallon French barrels). I note that I will need to add 3.5 ounces in household measurements or 98.8 grams in metric equivalents of tartaric acid. I will dissolve this in as small amount of water as possible and then add it to the wine.

Tartaric Acid Additions
Ounces of Tartaric Acid for Additions of:
Gallons of Wine 0.1 g/100 ml 0.2 g/100 ml 0.3 g/100 ml 0.4 g/100 ml 0.5 g/100 ml
1.0 0.14 0.3 0.4 0.6 0.7
2.0 0.3 0.6 0.8 1.1 1.4
3.0 0.4 0.8 1.2 1.6 2.0
5.0 0.7 1.4 2.0 2.7 3.4
6.5 0.9 1.8 2.6 3.5 4.4
13.2 1.8 3.6 5.4 7.2 9.0
15.5 1.4 4.2 6.3 8.4 10.5
26.0 3.5 7.0 10.6 14.1 17.6
30.0 4.1 8.1 12.2 16.3 20.4
55.0 7.5 14.9 22.4 29.9 37.3

 

Metric Equivalents

Since California grapes can be low in acid content at harvest, measurement and addition of acid to musts or wine have become common among many home winemakers. Acid measurements are usually expressed as grams of acid per 100 ml of must or wine and in the USA it is expressed in terms of tartaric acid. To use the following tables, let’s suppose that we measured acid content and found that our wine contained 0.6 g/100 ml. We want to raise this value to 0.7 so we need to add 0.1 g/100 ml. The wine is in a strange looking 26 gallon barrel so how much tartaric acid do I need to add? In the table, I look at the column for my target addition of 0.1 g/100 ml and scroll down to the 26 gallon size of the container (I’ve put in the most frequently used sizes, it just so happens that we have 26 gallon French barrels). I note that I will need to add 3.5 ounces in household measurements or 98.8 grams in metric equivalents of tartaric acid. I will dissolve this in as small amount of water as possible and then add it to the wine.

Tartaric Acid Additions
Grams of Tartaric Acid for Additions of:
Gallons of Wine 0.1 g/100 ml 0.2 g/100 ml 0.3 g/100 ml 0.4 g/100 ml 0.5 g/100 ml
1.0 3.8 7.7 11.4 15.5 19.0
2.0 7.7 15.4 23.1 30.8 38.5
3.0 11.4 22.8 34.2 45.6 57.0
5.0 19.0 38.5 57.0 76.0 95.0
6.5 24.7 49.4 74.1 98.8 123.5
13.2 50.2 100.4 150.5 200.6 250.8
15.5 58.9 117.8 176.7 235.6 294.5
26.0 98.8 197.6 296.4 395.2 494.0
30.0 114.0 228.0 342.0 456.0 570.0
55.0 209.0 418.0 627.0 836.0 1045.0

Please note that the above calculations were based on 3.8g/gallon=0.1g/100 ml increase.

For the scientist types some notes on L Tartaric acid:

  • mw = 150.09 g
  • pH of 0.1N = 2.2
  • 1 g dissolves in 0.75 ml H2O at room temperature or 0.5 ml boiling
  • 1g dissolves in 3 ml ethanol
  • maximum solubility @ 10 C = 126g/100ml; @ 20 C=139 g; @ 30 C=156 g
  • pKa1 = 2.93; pKa2 = 4.23 @ 25 C
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3 Responses to Tables for Addition of Tartaric Acid

  1. Gin says:

    A reader has posed a question: Do you find that “TA pH Meter Method Using NaOH 0.1N” on your website to be reliable, or comparable to the Vinmetrica TA method?
    SHW member Don Koehler responds to the inquiry:
    If your pH meters and electrodes are properly maintained and then calibrated using fresh pH buffers at pH 7 and 4, the methods should give comparable results. Use the same meter all the time and do not jump back and forth between meters if you have both.
    I have several friends that use the Vinmetrica and are satisfied with its performance. The Vinmetrica does a lot for you, especially with the SO2 and M-L capabilities, in addition to pH and TA. I have used a Checker Plus for several years and find it works well, too. (always get the “Plus”) It works good for a couple of years and when it starts to fail, I get a new one. (Amazon, $45-$50)
    Always store the probes correctly in electrode storage solution, and cleaning once in a while (esp. the Checker) helps stability in calibrating and reading, too. A stir plate and stirring bar are convenient to have for titrations. I think Vinmetrica supplies that with its instrument. I even use the phenolphthalein method in new wines at crush which are usually not too dark to see the color change, going towards red, greenish, and then finally almost black at the end point (in some red wines). The pH meter method works too, but it is easy to overshoot the end point a bit, but usually not enough to change the TA calculation much. (October 6, 2019)

    • Gin says:

      SHW Member David Hicks also comments:
      Been making wine for 13 years and the temp question regarding Tartaric acid additions has never come up. Getting the acid balanced added and doing it at crush is best. Winemakers can find that getting balanced at crush often changes after primary and can change again in reds after secondary which “may” require additional small Tartaric acid additions to balance taste. Yeast additions and must temps are a different story.

    • Gin says:

      SHW Member Donna Bettencourt also comments:
      For those of you without a gram scale 1 teaspoon of tartaric acid equals 4.9 grams. See this website for more equivalent measurements of common wine additives: https://winemaking.jackkeller.net/measures.asp

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