Citric Acid in Wine
Tartaric acid is used in the wine industry to reduce the pH value and provide tartness. Tartaric acid helps to control the acidity of the wine and is considered as one of the strongest acids in wine. It also plays a crucial role in enhancing the taste, feel, and color of wines. It also reduces the pH to kill the undesirable bacteria, thereby acting as a preservative.
Tartaric acid is an acid regulator in food systems, meaning it enhances fruit flavors and stabilizes batter systems and color. It is odorless and has an acidic taste.1 Its salt form, potassium bitartrate, is commonly known as cream of tartar.
Tartaric acid can be used as a firming agent, a flavor enhancer, a flavoring agent, a humectant, a leavening acid, and a pH control agent in food.1
Its salt form, cream of tartar, is commonly mixed with sodium bicarbonate and sold as baking powder, used as a leavening agent in food preparation.2 Cream of tartar is also used in cooking candies and frostings for cakes. It stabilizes egg whites and foam systems as well.3
Tartaric acid has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that keep the immune system healthy. It aids digestion, improving intestinal functions. It also improves glucose tolerance and intestinal absorption.3
L-(+)-tartaric acid is GRAS regulated in the article 21CFR184.1099 of the FDA’s Code of Federal Regulations.1
Specification, Chemical Properties:
- INCI NAME: Paraffin
- CAS#: 8002-74-2
- EINECS #: 232-315-6
- Procuct Code: PWAX126P
- Minimum Shelf life: 2 Years
- Made in: USA
- Not tested on animals
- REACH: Registered
- Canada DSL: listed
- TSCA (US EPA): listed
- 1-Lb. bags
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- 1000-Lb. Pallet
- Product Data Sheet
- Safety Data Sheet
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The Role of Malic Acid in Wine
Malic acid is one of the primary contributors of acidity in the grape. Its concentration tends to decrease as the grape ripens, mostly due to metabolic respiration. The vine and grape will use malic acid as fuel in respiration.
During warmer days, metablic respiration will be high, thus decreasing the total amount of malic acid. However, in cooler climates, its concentration will remain at its initial levels, or decrease only slightly.
Malic acid is very important in wine. If there is not enough, the wine will taste “flat,” and will be more susceptible to spoilage. If there is too much, the wine will taste “green,” or “sour.” Thus it is important for the winemaker to control the amount of Malic acid present.
One of Malic acids defining characteristics is the strength of its taste. Some would describe it as harsh. Because of this, many winemakers choose to replace Malic acid with Lactic acid through Malo-lactic fermentation. Lactic acid is the primary acid in milk and is much “softer” than Malic acid.
The Role of Tartaric Acid in Wine and Winemaking
Tartaric Acid is unique in that it is not found in most fruit, but is the primary acid component in grapes. It is one of the strongest acids in wine and controls the acidity of a wine. The mechanism behind this is complicated, and is associated with the degree to which it is able to resist the buffering activity of other acids.
Tartaric acid deceases as grapes are allowed to hang on the vine and mature. Very ripe wines do not have a lot of tartaric acid. The reason behind this lies in the metabolic processes of the vine. In hotter climates, vines use tartaric acid for respiration, decreasing the total acidity in the grapes. However, the decrease in tartaric acid is not as profound as the decrease in malic acid through the same process. This is one of the mechanisms that winemakers use to control the acid content in their wine.
The total acidity in a wine is measured by the amount of Tartaric Acid present. Tartaric Acid plays a critical role in the taste, feel and color of a wine. But even more important, it lowers the pH enough to kill undesirable bacteria, acting as a preservative.
The influence of tartaric acid on the taste and feel of a wine is primarily through its impact on acidity. It contributes to the “tartness” of a wine, but not as much as malic and citric acid. Winemakers will adjust acidity by adding tartaric acid to the wine.
Tartaric Acid often crystallizes on the cork, yielding “wine diamonds.” They are called tartrates and are harmless. Many people mistake tartrate crystals as a sign of a bad wine. However, this is not the case, and the formation of tartates is a naturally occurring process. Many winemakers will prevent this formation through cold stabilization.