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WAVE – Working with High pH Wines

July 14, 2021 @ 4:00 pm - 5:00 pm


Washington Advancements in Viticulture and Enology (WAVE) has become the signature research event for Washington’s wine industry. Co-sponsored by the Wine Commission and Washington State University, the annual research seminars and webinars are designed to bring viticulture and enology research results into the hands of users and raise awareness of the value of research amongst grape growers and winemakers.

WAVE follows an all-day format to highlight both viticulture and enology research. WAVEx is a condensed version, but with more practical application. WAVEx allows the Wine Commission and WSU to tailor research programming for specific wine regions. WAVEx has visited the following regions: Prosser, Richland, Walla Walla, Lake Chelan, Columbia Gorge and Woodinville.

Working with High pH Wines, Dr. Thomas Henick-Kling, WSU

In winemaking, the pH of the grapes and must can affect microbial populations, fermentation rate, flavor and color. Washington’s red grape varieties often contain low amounts of malic acid and the musts have a high pH. In higher pH musts, there is potential for growth of spoilage bacteria. A better understanding of how wine pH affects the final wine composition can help winemakers produce high quality and consistent styles of wine.

Dr. Thomas Henick-Kling, director of Washington State University’s Viticulture and Enology Program, and co-investigator Dr. Hailan Piao, WSU research associate, evaluated various methods to adjust must pH and studied how effective starter culture additions are in managing microbial populations in wines of different pH. The three-year project was funded by Washington State University, the Auction of Washington Wines and all Washington State wine grape growers and wineries through the Washington State Wine Commission.

Henick-Kling will discuss practical methods that winemakers can use during fermentation to adjust grape must pH and the impact these winemaking decisions have on sensory profiles during the July 14 WAVEx webinar. Register for free here.


Visit the Wine Commission website for more information and registration:


July 14, 2021
4:00 pm - 5:00 pm
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Washington State Wine Commission