Adding vinegar to rustic wines

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Adding vinegar to rustic wines

Postby audaciouspiglet on Mon Jun 08, 2020 1:38 pm


I have been making some wines like gorse and am about to do elderflower (well, it will be bubbly, so champagne).
My question is: why do so many recipes recommend adding a few tablespoons of vinegar to a wine such as elderflower? (This does include recipes where people are doong it wild, without added yeast). This seems counterintuitive, as it is all too easy to turn it into vinegar without purposely adding vinegar! As I understand it, you want to avoid any acetobacter getting in. Also, when trying to make vinegar, one method is to inoculate your juice with a bit of pre-existing unpasteurized vinegar (with a mother). So if I do not want to make vinegar, why on earth should I add it?! Making rustic wines like this is not an art that is very well known any more, and neither is wild/natural fermentation, besides that, information online can be really incorrect, on subjects like this, so I am suspicious that these recipes may be wrong, except one was made by the British chef Hugh Fernley whittingstall, who I generally believe knows what he’s doing.

If I have the science right, and someone correct me if not, vinegar needs oxygen and wine does not. So if I am using a fermentation lock, then perhaps vinegar is not going to turn my wine into vinegar as there is not enough oxygen. The trouble is, at present I do not use a fermentation lock. I’m sure it’s preferable but I’ve seen and heard and also done it successfully myself, without. In this case it seems extra strange to add vinegar. Anyways, even if it’s not turning it into vinegar I’d still like to know why it should be added.

Thanks in advance if anyone has ideas!
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Re: Adding vinegar to rustic wines

Postby irie1029 on Thu Jun 11, 2020 10:40 am

Love that name audaciouspiglet..... I have no clue why you would add vinegar to a wine process. just my 2 cents.
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Re: Adding vinegar to rustic wines

Postby khoomeizhi on Wed Jun 24, 2020 10:35 am

do these recipes have any other source of acidity? i've noticed a lot of recipes add lemon juice or similar to increase acidity when there aren't other acidic ingredients, in could be like that. in my wild ferments i can usually tailor acidity to taste by controlling the amount of time it's in open fermentation...but that does mean putting it under airlock at the point where you don't it any sourer. you do theoretically want to avoid acetobacter, but in wild ferments i don't know how one would actually do that, especially with open ferments during fruitfly season!

it doesn't sound like the best idea in general to me. just started a elderflower/oakleaf/spicebush twig mead that i will not be adding vinegar to!
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Re: Adding vinegar to rustic wines

Postby Cars10 on Tue Sep 14, 2021 2:21 pm

You want to change the pH of the starter.
See more here: ... th-vinegar
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