This one is for all the wine nerds out there! It’s easy to enjoy wine for its taste and its ability to enhance the experience of a meal, but it takes someone special to enjoy wine for its wide range of technical data! If you’re that someone special, you probably totally geek out over wine technical sheets. If data isn’t your thing, but you’re always excited about the opportunity to learn more about wine, read on!

So what even is a technical data sheet? It’s a short document–usually only a page or so–produced by or for a winery that gives a wine’s data in order to help someone better understand any given wine. If you don’t know what you’re looking at, a technical sheet can be a little confusing, so let’s break down the seven typical components of wine data.

1. Acidity: A wine’s acidity level tells the concentration of acids present in it. A low acidity wine is 2 g/l and will taste flat, whereas a high acidity wine is 10 g/l and will taste sour. The average bottle of wine ranges from 4-8 g/l.

2. pH: Still telling us about a wine’s acidity, the pH level indicates how intense the acids will taste. If the pH level is a lower number, that means the acids present will taste more intense, and vice versa–the higher the number, the less intense the acids present will taste. For all you mathematicians and scientists out there: the pH number is logarithmic, meaning that a pH of 2 has ten times more acidity than a pH of 3. Most wines will be in the 3-4.5 pH range.

3. ABV: This number represents the percentage of alcohol in a bottle of wine. Typically, wine ranges from 10-15%, but there are a few specialty wines that boast very high ABV (like a Port) or a very low ABV (like a Moscato d’Asti).

4. Aging/Maturation: This information tells us the methodology with which the winemaker used to age the wine, including if the wine was aged in oak, what kind of oak, how new the oak was, and how long the wine was aged. This is more common in red wines than in white wines, but typically this information will appear for Chardonnays.

5. Malolactic Fermentation (MLF): This is a process that almost all red wines go through, and very few white wines go through (a common white wine example is Chardonnay). The MLF process is when the winemaker chooses to convert malic acid (a tart-tasting acid) into lactic acid (a creamier-tasting, smoother acid). On a technical data sheet under this information, it will say “yes” if the winemaker used this process or “no” if they did not. This can also be referred to as secondary fermentation.

6. RS: If you read our last post, you already know this stands for Residual Sugar, which is the measure of sweetness in a wine. A wine with 10 g/L or less RS is a dry wine, 10-35 g/L is referred to as off-dry or semi-sweet, and 35 g/L and higher is a sweet wine.

7. Brix: Last but not least, the Brix measurement is the percentage of sugar in the grape juice at harvest (i.e. 26 Brix is 26% sweetness). This tells us how ripe and how sweet the grapes were when they were picked.

Next time you drink a glass of wine, check out its Technical Sheet so you can flex your wine-data muscle!