What’s Inside #WineWednesday: Tartaric Acid

We all have that one friend — the social butterfly that has an insatiable need to always be the center of attention. They spice up your life every time you get together but can be too much at times leaving you craving some space to recharge. Finding the right balance of that friend is crucial.

Our #WineWednesday molecule is like that friend. This molecule is the one that all winemakers, wine enthusiasts, and Friday night wine drinkers know about. Too much of it and the wine turns sour, not enough and it tastes like someone forgot to add the grapes to the water. The molecule, found in every wine from white to red and everything in between: tartaric acid.

Tartaric Acid

Facing the Science

In our all natural, GMO-free world, it’s easy to forget wine is simply a mix of hundreds of chemicals, so we’re here to show you these chemicals (ingredients) are the exact same molecules in that “natural” wine, organic fruit salad and that GMO free pack of sunflower seeds.

So, what’s in #WineWednesday:

Tartaric Acid Molecule

Chemical Name: Tartaric Acid
Class: Organic Acid
Smell: Neutral
Taste: Sour
Color: Colorless

Uses: In the wine world, tartaric acid is the new and trendy molecule that is at the center of the “natural vs. processed wine” debate. Tartaric acid is found naturally in all wines, red and whites, at varying levels. More tartaric acid = more sour wine. Some winemakers add tartaric acid to sour up the wine while others use salt and other filtering mechanisms to filter out excess tartaric acid. Tartaric acid is used outside of the wine world to improve tastes as well. Pharmaceutical companies use it to improve the taste of oral medications.


Where it’s found in nature: Tartaric acid is found naturally in fruits and vegetables like grapes, bananas, apricots, apples, avocados and sunflower seed. It is also a natural byproduct of the wine fermentation process.

Product Goods: Because tartaric acid is the social butterfly of acids, it can take many forms and be used in countless product goods. It’s used widely in effervescent tablets, fruit jellies, carbonated drinks and gelatin desserts. It can also be used in cleaning and polishing metals, processing cheese, wool dyeing, and baking powders. We mean it when we say this molecule is like that friend that you want to take to parties because of how well they get along with everyone.