1st time with juice buckets/grapes but not making wine

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JimmyT

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Hi all,
Getting ready for my first juice buckets and wanting to make sure I have everything I need and have the process down for what I need to do. I have a few questions as well that I'd like some input on. I'm getting two different buckets, 1 moscato and 1 cab sauv/merlot with adding a lug of petit Verdot grapes.
1-When I pick up my buckets is there anything else I need to do besides add kmeta to shock the current yeast so I can use a different one? Also, how much meta should I add?

2-Yeast choice for cab/merlot-I'm looking at several different ones and wanted a little feed back on this
1-D21, I like the description on this and wondered if. this would be good on its own.
2-D80/D254 combo, I've seen several people talk about this and it was mentioned on morewine.
3-RP15 Rockpile, seen the description on this and it mentioned about adding body. Since I'm not going all grape I thought this could help with the mouthfeel. Also a reason I went with the petit Verdot. Supplier said it was a bold grape and would help with the bucket.
4-BM4x4, I've seen a lot of people on here using it and seems to have good reviews.

3-How much nutrients are needed to go into these buckets? I know the different yeast also can need more or less depending on the yeast needs. I plan on using Fernando k&o, if you can recommend in grams that would be good or a yam level to shoot for and I can figure out how much from there.

4-What tannins do you recommend for the cab. I was looking at using opti-red, booster rouge(says it has good synergy w/D80&D21yeast?!?!) and lallzyme ex. Does this seem like a good plan or what would you change? If you would change something I'd like to know why so I can learn why I should or shouldn't ad something.

5-Oak! I seen on morewine they have xoakers, the oak balls. I'm interested in getting the med+ French. Anyone use these or would you recommend something else. I don't have a lot of experience with oak because I make mostly white kits and fruit wines.

6-I think I want to try a malolactic fermentation on the red bucket [emoji50]. This is a whole new ballgame for me. I've read up on it and somewhat have an idea but a little hand holding would be comforting lol. I was looking at the vp41 and was going to get opti-malo to feed it. Do I need the acti-ml to rehydrate the malo? Any other suggestions with this?

7-Any other additives or any other steps in the process that I didn't mention that I should consider?

8-Grapes! How should I prep them? Kmeta them when I get them? How long of a maceration time should I have? Prep the grapes and add them to the bucket while I'm waiting for temp to rise or wait? Any other steps I should take?

9-Similar questions for the moscato. Yeast I was thinking either BA11 or QA23. Would it benefit from opti-white, booster blanc and lallzyme c-max? How much should I set aside to backsweetin with to get around 1.014. Or point me to a formula to use to figure that out. How much nutrient should I add to this bucket also?

Sorry for the long post, I've been out of the wine scene for a little while and now I'm jumping back in with stuff out of my element lol. Thanks in advanced for any info or suggestions you can provide.
 

zadvocate

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I have used opti red, FT Rouge on grapes and the wine looks and tastes great. I think they would both be great in a bucket. the Lallyzme ex is an enzyme to break down the grape for color etc.. Your only doing a lug of grapes so make sure your Lallyzme addtion is based on the lug not the bucket. I am pretty sure the Lallyzme is not for juice.

I never used Oakers but I almost bought some and they look interesting.I have used chips and using a winestyx now which is really easy to use. I would do MLF with some nutrient. I co-innoculated and will do that from now on. Wait 24 hours after adding the yeast and add the MLB. Worked great for me.

As for the grapes I think you would just crush and destemm them add a little Kmeta, your Lallyzme let it sit for 8 hours then add them to the bucket and begin. You probably could just add them to the bucket and add the Lallyzme wait 8 hours then begin. Some one on here will know better. I have never added grapes to a bucket.

I am doing a chardonnay bucket next week and bought this all in one packet. They also have one for reds too.
https://morewinemaking.com/products/additive-pack-brehm-frozen-fruit-whites.html
 

bkisel

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I've only done one juice bucket. Got it last fall from Fulkerson Winery in the Finger Lakes region of NY (about an hour drive north of my home in PA). The winery apparently balances the juice before selling as I had instructions to only wait till the must got up to temperature and then pitch the yeast.

The wine came out tasting fine with only a small issue with wine diamonds forming when the wine bottle is chilled in the refrig for a day or more before opening.
 

Ajmassa

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Ok. I am gonna piggyback with you here since i will have much of the same thing for the first time. First time doing spring juice. Will also be getting a Cab Sauv/ Merlot blend. And will be attempting MLF for the first time as well.
In regards to nutrients and additives, I was about to copy and paste the link zadvocate had posted before. That pack seems to have everything we would need.
My suppliers do not offer any grapes for Chilean tho so I'm not able to add any like you. I do plan on picking up a pack of grapes recommended by heatherd.
http://www.juicegrape.com/Mosti-Mondiale-All-Grape-Pack/
I think I will gain the same thing as I would from fresh grapes.
I am completely clueless with the MLF and will have to get some more clarity and comprehension before I jump in. If all goes well I don't see why I wouldn't do MLF on every juice batch.
I will be following along closely with any details you post. Looking forward to learning a lot on this batch.
 

cmason1957

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I am doing four juice buckets this spring, 1 White (Gewurztraminer) and 3 reds (Cab Sauv, Merlot, and Malbec). I do not plan to add any extra Kmeta when I get them, I have been told there will be no yeast added to the buckets I am getting.

Even if there were yeast added, I would hesitate to add Kmeta, let's assume it is EC-1118. You aren't going to cause it enough harm to "kill it off" unless you use a large amount of K-Meta and if you do that, you are going to have issues getting the MLF to start or complete. Many folks report issues already with juice and grapes from Chile with MLF already. Two years ago, I just let them ferment with whatever was in the bucket, I was told no yeast was added, but... It did ferment to completion and made a very good wine. I did blend several types together for added complexity (Cab Sauv, Sangiovese, Petite Syrah, and something else that escapes me at the moment).

I will be adding some Oak Cubes to my wine, after MLF completes. Not sure of type for now. Probably what I have in the wine area is Med+ American, I tend to use that for hybrids and Norton.
 

Ajmassa

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Even if there were yeast added, I would hesitate to add Kmeta

Agreed. With all the info in this post I forgot to point that at as well. I've never added any k-meta before AF and have never had an issue. And now with MLF I will obviously continue to do this.
I'm tempted to make 2 identical 6 gal batches of the Cab Sav/merlot blend. And using one to combine with a10gal batch of Sangiovese that I can make in the fall. Creating my own Super Tuscan. But that leads me down another wormhole of blending wines 6 months apart in age. But First things first. MLF research is #1 on the priority list
 

JimmyT

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My suppliers do not offer any grapes for Chilean tho so I'm not able to add any like you. I do plan on picking up a pack of grapes recommended by heatherd.
http://www.juicegrape.com/Mosti-Mondiale-All-Grape-Pack/

I actually looked into that but decided to go with the lug of fresh grapes for $8 more. I didn't see anywhere that it said what varietal grape they use for those packs. I wanted a heartier grape for the juice bucket since they are a little thinner. If my supplier didn't offer grapes then I would probably go that route for sure.
 

JimmyT

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I am doing four juice buckets this spring, 1 White (Gewurztraminer) and 3 reds (Cab Sauv, Merlot, and Malbec). I do not plan to add any extra Kmeta when I get them, I have been told there will be no yeast added to the buckets I am getting.

Even if there were yeast added, I would hesitate to add Kmeta, let's assume it is EC-1118. You aren't going to cause it enough harm to "kill it off" unless you use a large amount of K-Meta and if you do that, you are going to have issues getting the MLF to start or complete. Many folks report issues already with juice and grapes from Chile with MLF already. Two years ago, I just let them ferment with whatever was in the bucket, I was told no yeast was added, but... It did ferment to completion and made a very good wine. I did blend several types together for added complexity (Cab Sauv, Sangiovese, Petite Syrah, and something else that escapes me at the moment).

I will be adding some Oak Cubes to my wine, after MLF completes. Not sure of type for now. Probably what I have in the wine area is Med+ American, I tend to use that for hybrids and Norton.

Very good point about the meta and the mlf, I didn't even think about that. I'll have to ask my supplier which vineyard the juice and grapes are coming from and see if they come inoculated already. I hope the mlf doesn't give anyone troubles this year but knowing my luck I'll have something to fight with.
 

JimmyT

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I am doing a chardonnay bucket next week and bought this all in one packet. They also have one for reds too.
https://morewinemaking.com/products/additive-pack-brehm-frozen-fruit-whites.html

I seen these when I was researching all the stuff on morewine but wanted to customize a little depending on the feedback I got from this post. Plus I was planning on trying some of the products I mentioned on other projects I have planned. I'm getting the bigger packs of stuff so I have extra.
 

Stevew1

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I always add a 1/4 tsp of kmeta to the bucket and start the wine yeast the next day. The theory was to inhibit any natural yeast and allow the wine yeast to take over. I do 12-16 buckets a year with great results.
 

heatherd

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Hi all,
Getting ready for my first juice buckets and wanting to make sure I have everything I need and have the process down for what I need to do. I have a few questions as well that I'd like some input on. I'm getting two different buckets, 1 moscato and 1 cab sauv/merlot with adding a lug of petit Verdot grapes.
1-When I pick up my buckets is there anything else I need to do besides add kmeta to shock the current yeast so I can use a different one? Also, how much meta should I add?

2-Yeast choice for cab/merlot-I'm looking at several different ones and wanted a little feed back on this
1-D21, I like the description on this and wondered if. this would be good on its own.
2-D80/D254 combo, I've seen several people talk about this and it was mentioned on morewine.
3-RP15 Rockpile, seen the description on this and it mentioned about adding body. Since I'm not going all grape I thought this could help with the mouthfeel. Also a reason I went with the petit Verdot. Supplier said it was a bold grape and would help with the bucket.
4-BM4x4, I've seen a lot of people on here using it and seems to have good reviews.

3-How much nutrients are needed to go into these buckets? I know the different yeast also can need more or less depending on the yeast needs. I plan on using Fernando k&o, if you can recommend in grams that would be good or a yam level to shoot for and I can figure out how much from there.

4-What tannins do you recommend for the cab. I was looking at using opti-red, booster rouge(says it has good synergy w/D80&D21yeast?!?!) and lallzyme ex. Does this seem like a good plan or what would you change? If you would change something I'd like to know why so I can learn why I should or shouldn't ad something.

5-Oak! I seen on morewine they have xoakers, the oak balls. I'm interested in getting the med+ French. Anyone use these or would you recommend something else. I don't have a lot of experience with oak because I make mostly white kits and fruit wines.

6-I think I want to try a malolactic fermentation on the red bucket [emoji50]. This is a whole new ballgame for me. I've read up on it and somewhat have an idea but a little hand holding would be comforting lol. I was looking at the vp41 and was going to get opti-malo to feed it. Do I need the acti-ml to rehydrate the malo? Any other suggestions with this?

7-Any other additives or any other steps in the process that I didn't mention that I should consider?

8-Grapes! How should I prep them? Kmeta them when I get them? How long of a maceration time should I have? Prep the grapes and add them to the bucket while I'm waiting for temp to rise or wait? Any other steps I should take?

9-Similar questions for the moscato. Yeast I was thinking either BA11 or QA23. Would it benefit from opti-white, booster blanc and lallzyme c-max? How much should I set aside to backsweetin with to get around 1.014. Or point me to a formula to use to figure that out. How much nutrient should I add to this bucket also?

Sorry for the long post, I've been out of the wine scene for a little while and now I'm jumping back in with stuff out of my element lol. Thanks in advanced for any info or suggestions you can provide.
1: I typically do not add kmeta to juice buckets to kill wild yeast. For me, I'm thinking that I don't want the kmeta to hinder the desired yeast in any way, or hinder MLB, so I just omit it and anticipate the commercial yeast will overcome any wild. I do not add kmeta until after MLF is complete.

2: I've used BM4x4 and RC212 on reds with good luck. I sprinkle rather than rehydrate.

3: I didn't make any notes about nutrients, so hopefully another forum member can weigh in.

4: Tannins for the reds, I use generic tannin powder and oak powder in primary. I usually use Tannin Riche during aging.

5: Oak is typically powder in primary, as mentioned above, and (2) medium plus spirals during bulk-aging to taste.

6: I use VP41 as my MLB with good success. I have been doing MLF and alcohol fermentation together with good results. It shortens the process a bit. I sprinkle the MLB rather than rehydrate. Optimalo is desirable. Some folks stir fairly often, but I just let the wine do it's thing. MLF will not always look like anything is happening, and it may take anywhere from days to months, so that's the hard part. Don't add kmeta until MLF is complete.

7: I add pectic enzyme 24 hours prior to pitching yeast. I don't use other clearing agents except in cases where wine is extra stubborn, and at that time I'll use bentonite.

8: I put the grapes in a mesh bag and add them to the bucket immediately. I don't add anything to the grapes. Note that you'll be pressing at around a specific gravity of 1.000. I don't fuss over the grapes in terms of squeezing and stirring too much, but lots of folks do daily or more - I'm just telling you what I do honestly so you have a baseline, but there are lots of folks who do more.

9: I've used QA23 with good luck. All the same steps apply, with of course the exception of MLF.

I have found Harford Vineyard's wine making instructions from juice and grapes to be helpful for a streamlined approach. MoreWine has red and white instructions that go into greater detail.

In terms of brix, SG, pH, and acid, I measure to make sure the wine is within a reasonable range to ferment, and make adjustments if needed to get it closer to optimal. Note that I add 1/4 or 1/2 the amount that is recommended as getting things optimal. After fermentation and clearing, I'll add acid to taste.

Juice buckets and grape packs are not drastically different from what you've been doing so far. The MLF is really the difference. Best of luck!
 

Ajmassa

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I didn't see anywhere that it said what varietal grape they use for those packs.
Pretty sure I was told before that this grape pack is specifically made for the exact same things I'd want. Even though the details are vague, I'm confident it's going to get the job done. Not sure if I'd need pectin enzyme or not since this is already slightly treated and meant for a kit.
The extremely detailed questions and answers here are already so helpful. I was hesitant to get vp31or similar packet for 66 gal for just 6 gal batch and wasting most and looked into some smaller and cheaper cultures. But looking like vp31 works well so why mess around? Along with the appropriate nutrients. I also have not picked up anything to test the MLF progress. Is it uncommon for MLF done without testing And going by time and just looking for visible activity?
If possible I'll wait on that and spread the $ out. All these little things start to add up. The deeper i get, the more i need.
 

cmason1957

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Pretty sure I was told before that this grape .... I also have not picked up anything to test the MLF progress. Is it uncommon for MLF done without testing And going by time and just looking for visible activity?
If possible I'll wait on that and spread the $ out. All these little things start to add up. The deeper i get, the more i need.
You certainly can just go by the seat of your pants and try to guess when MLF is completed. The problem is it might be working just fine and you see no activity. The activity you might see isn't anything like alcohol fermentation. It is very, very subtle, almost to the point of nothing. I have had some MLF's take two weeks and I never once see a bubble and some take 4 months and see bubbles all the time. It just isn't predictable. I will say, I don't do the chromotography. I have some papers, similar to Ph test strips, the amount of malic acid turns them various colors. I don't try to use them to say X amount of malic left, but you can see variations between lots of malic and not very much. I always wait for the papers to say 30 or less and then another 2 weeks to a month, depending on how I feel.
 

JimmyT

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So I got all the stuff (maybe) I think I need for my two buckets. I was going through everything and writing down amounts of each stuff I'll need so I can write out my schedule for adding everything. While doing that I found that the acti-ml pack I got is only 10% of what I need for the entire pack. View attachment 35615
What does everyone else do in this situation. I've read everyone just uses the entire 2.5g pack but I've never seen anywhere about this. Should I buy another 45g of acti-ml to rehydrate the entire 2.5g malo pack or just roll with what I got? I have opti-malo as well for ml nutrient.
 

Johnd

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So I got all the stuff (maybe) I think I need for my two buckets. I was going through everything and writing down amounts of each stuff I'll need so I can write out my schedule for adding everything. While doing that I found that the acti-ml pack I got is only 10% of what I need for the entire pack. View attachment 35615
What does everyone else do in this situation. I've read everyone just uses the entire 2.5g pack but I've never seen anywhere about this. Should I buy another 45g of acti-ml to rehydrate the entire 2.5g malo pack or just roll with what I got? I have opti-malo as well for ml nutrient.
Believe it or not, the stuff is packaged to work perfectly. You have 2.5g of VP41, Acti-ML is used at the rate of 20 g and 100 ml distilled water per g of bacteria. So it takes 50 g of Acti-ML (buy the 50g package) in 250 ml of distilled water, then just add your VP-41 to that concoction, stir well, and distribute as desired.
 

cmason1957

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Another ten bucks or so and you can get a chromatography kit with all the chems and the pap - enough for probably 50 tests.
That is true, but this is so much easier to do. Instant go /no go answer. And I don't have to deal with all the chemicals. There is the added benefit that you get a there is 60 ppm malic, whereas with chromatography it is just splotches on the paper with no idea of how much is left. Both work.
 

Boatboy24

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That is true, but this is so much easier to do. Instant go /no go answer. And I don't have to deal with all the chemicals. There is the added benefit that you get a there is 60 ppm malic, whereas with chromatography it is just splotches on the paper with no idea of how much is left. Both work.
How easy are they to read, relative to the pH strips? I found those pH strips pretty much useless - especially with red wine. I've used the Accuvin SO2 testers and while there is some room for 'interpretation' based on how you see the colors, they are very easy to use.
 

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