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Wine and Cider Analyses

IR Wine Scan-Only for 100% grape-based wines

  • Purpose: Snapshot of wine chemistry:  pH, titratable acidity (at pH 8.2), fermentable sugar, malic acid, lactic acid, volatile acidity, alcohol
  • Technique: OenoFoss (FTIR)
  • Price- NY*: $20;  Non NY: $30

Acidity: Acetic Acid (volatile acidity)

  • Purpose: Acetic acid is the most abundant volatile acid. At large concentrations it suggests microbial contamination, and is considered a sensory flaw.  While acetic acid is the major component of volatile acidity (VA), volatile acidity as measured through distillation may include other compounds and will therefore not necessarily match a direct measurement of acetic acid.
  •  Technique: Enzymatic
    • Price- NY*: $60; Non NY: $90
  • Analysis Notes: Legal limits for Volatile Acidity in wine:
    Red Table Wine 1.2 g/L
    White Table Wine 1.5 g/L           
    27 CFR 2.21(a)(1)(iv)
    NOTE: In some wines, sensory threshold may be as low as 0.5 g/L

Acidity: pH

  • Purpose: A measure of hydrogen ion concentration, pH affects microbial stability, concentration of molecular SO2, tartrate stability, and the perception of wine structure. 
  • Technique: pH meter
  • Analysis Notes: Due to the buffering capacity of wine, pH is not always directly correlated with wine TA. Wine pH generally ranges from pH 3.0 to pH 4.2.
  • Price- NY*: $5; Non NY: $7.50

Acidity: Organic acid panel 

  • Purpose: Tartaric and malic are the primary acids found in grape wine that has not undergone malolactic fermentation (MLF).  During MLF, malic acid is converted into lactic acid.  Some acetic acid is formed during fermentation, but excess amounts can be an indicator of microbial spoilage.
  • Technique: HPLC (tartaric, malic, lactic, acetic)
    • Price- NY*: $60; Non NY: $90
  • Technique: OenoFoss (FTIR) (malic, lactic, acetic)
    • Price- NY*: $20; Non NY: $30
  • Analysis Notes: Wines are not considered MLF stable until less than 30mg of malic acid remains in the wine.

Acidity: Titratable acidity

  • Purpose: A measure of the acids in wine that can be neutralized with a base. Expressed in g/L tartaric acid equivalents (wine) malic acid equivalents (cider).
  • Technique: autotitration (8.2 endpoint)
  • Analysis Notes: Titratable acidity most closely corresponds to the sensory perception of acid strength; it should not to be confused with total acidity.
    • Price- NY*: $10; Non NY: $15

Alcohol: Ethanol

  • Purpose: A measure of ethanol content by volume.  Wine and cider must follow TTB guidelines regarding alcohol labeling.  Ciders seeking a label approval from New York State are required to have a certified ethanol measurement, and must choose option 1 below.
  • Option 1. Technique: Gas Chromatography-Flame Ion Detection (GC-FID) or Distillation/ density
    • Price- NY*: $30; Non NY: $45
  •  Option 2. Technique: NIR
    • Price- NY*: $20; Non NY: $30

Bottle Sterility

  • Purpose: Visually clear bottle samples are filtered and plated on selective media to assess sterility.
  • Technique: Filter plating and reverse-phase microscopy
  • Analysis Notes: Turn around on this analysis is about 8 days, as plating takes about 7 days to show results.
  • Price- NY*: $33; Non NY: $50

Carbon Dioxide Analysis

  • Purpose: Measure amount of dissolved carbon dioxide gas in a liquid.
  • Analysis Notes: Bottle must be glass with a crown cap closure, minimum 375 milliliters. 
  • Price- NY*: $15; Non NY: $23

Cold Stability (tartrate)

  • Purpose: Tartaric acid is unstable at lower temperatures, and combines with free potassium to form potassium bitartrite crystals that precipitate out of solution, altering pH and TA.
  • Technique: Conductivity test
  • Price- NY*: $20; Non NY: $30

Heat Stability (protein)

  • Purpose: The presence of residual proteins in wine can result in undesirable haze, formed from proteins that denature at the high temperatures that may occur during storage or transportation.
  • Technique: Hotbox test and TCA acid hydrolysis test
  • Price- NY*: $20; Non NY: $30

Malo-lactic Fermentation (MLF) Check-Only for 100% grape-based wines

  • Purpose: A check by NIR scan to determine the levels of malic and lactic acids in order to monitor the progress of MLF.
  • Price- NY*: $20; Non NY: $30

 Sensory appraisal

  • Purpose: Wines are assessed by a panel of three trained enologists to make preliminary judgments about sensory flaws or varietal typicity.
  • Analysis Notes: Definitive flaw analysis often requires further testing.
  • Informal Analysis. Technique: Rapid sensory evaluation by wine lab staff
    • Price- NY*: No charge; Non NY: $10
  • Formal Analysis. Technique: Sensory evaluation by at least three enology lab members (or other qualified experts) under controlled conditions
    • Price- NY*: $40; Non NY: $60


  • Purpose: Potassium sorbate is added to wines containing residual sugar to prevent refermentation by inhibiting yeast activity.
  • Technique: Distillation/ spectrophotometer
  • Analysis Notes: Potassium sorbate additions will be converted to ethyl sorbate over the course of about 18 months post bottling.  Both compounds impact wine aroma.
    • Price- NY*: $47; Non NY: $70

Sugars: Residual Sugar (glucose and fructose)

  • Purpose: Quantification of the fermentable sugar (glucose and fructose).
  • Technique: ELISA Enzymatic assay
  • Analysis Notes: Reported as a percentage, this analysis gives an indication of a wine's dryness. Yeast can metabolize both glucose and fructose, though most strains used in wine production consume glucose preferentially.
    • Price- NY*: $37; Non NY: $55

Sulfur: Free and Total Sulfur Dioxide (SO2)

  • Purpose: Sulfur dioxide is used as an antimicrobial and antioxidant in wine production.
  • Technique: Foss FiaStar (flow injection- automated aeration/ oxidation)
  • Analysis Notes: Legal limit = 350 mg/L; concentrations above 10 mg/L (ppm) require the label to include the warning "contains sulfites." TTB CFR 4.22(b)(1)
    • Price- NY*: $23; Non NY: $35

Trace Elements: Copper, Potassium, Calcium, and Iron

  • Purpose: The concentration of dissolved analytes can affect wine stability. Excess calcium and potassium can promote tartrate precipitation, and copper and iron favor oxidation.
  • Technique: Atomic absorbance
  • Analysis Notes: Turn around on this analysis is about one week.
  • The amount of residual copper in wine cannot exceed 0.5 ppm.   TTB CFR 24.246
    • Price- NY*: $30 per element; Non NY: $45 per element


  • Purpose: Troubleshooting or production planning beyond that related to specific analyses
  • Analysis Notes: Pam Raes, Chris Gerling, and other enology extension staff are available for consultation, but please note that we are not able to provide general product development assistance.
    • Price- NY*: No charge; Non NY: $150/hr

Export Analysis

  • Purpose: As a condition of entry for imported wine, many countries require specific chemical analyses completed by a person certified by the exporting government.
  • Analysis Notes: Analyses will depend on importing country requirements.
    • Standard: Price- NY*: $35; Non NY: $47
    • Non-Standard: Price- NY*: $90; Non NY: $120

* Analyses are offered at a discount to all New York bonded wineries, home winemakers, and craft distilleries because a portion of testing costs (approximately 33%) are subsidized by the New York Wine and Grape Foundation (NYWGF). We are unable to offer this discount to wine distributors or out-of-state wineries because of the nature of NYWGF funding.