Hello there! I'm Dr. Vinifera, or "Vinny" for short. Ask me your toughest wine questions, from the technical aspects of winemaking to the fine points of etiquette. I hope you find my answers educational and even amusing. Looking for a particular answer? Check my archive and my FAQs.
Dear Dr. Vinny,
The acidity in wine is primarily due to what compound?
—Ray H., Napa, Calif.
The principal acids in wine are tartaric and malic acids and their derivatives. There are other acids that are found on grapes that might be consumed by bacteria during fermentation, or acids that are a byproduct of fermentation, such as succinic acid, gallic acid, cataric acid or citric acid. These acids are all nonvolatile, which means they do not evaporate or boil off. But you may have heard of volatile acidity, or acetic acid, which is the main volatile acid found in wine. Normally, there is a small amount of acetic acid in wine, which contributes positive attributes, but at higher levels it shows its vinegary side.
Do you have a question for Dr. Vinny? Ask it here...
Learn to taste wine like a pro, pull a cork with flair, get great wine service in a restaurant and more
Learn from the experts and get the most out of each sip. Take one of our online courses or take them all—from the ABCs of Tasting to in-depth seminars on Food Pairing, California Cabernet, Bordeaux, Tuscany, Sensory Evaluation and more.
Sips & Tips | Wine & Healthy Living
Video Theater | Collecting & Auctions