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preservation Dumb Question - Vinegar in Homemade Hot Sauce Recipes

I had a great time during the past year making hot sauces and salsa with my peppers.  Got a lot of good advice from this forum!  But I am still a newbie so forgive me a dumb question.
Some of my recipes (especially the habanero recipes) asked for a huge amount of vinegar versus water.  Sometimes as much as 3:1 or 4:1 cups vinegar (red wine and white).  The sauces, frankly, tasted like a vinegar sauce with a little bit of pepper!  So I threw some batches away and started using a 4:1 or 5:1 ratio of water to vinegar, no matter what the recipe said.  The sauces came out much better.
So here are my questions.  Why do the recipes ask for so much vinegar?  Is for preserving the sauce?  And do the experts here have any other thoughts about the use of vinegar in their sauces and salsas?
I personally have a strong dislike for vinegar-based hot sauces. Especially on wings. Nowadays you can even get Texas Pete's without vinegar :-)
When I make hot sauce or salsa, I preserve with citric acid - either lemon or lime juice or both.