5 different wines from 225# of Grenache grapes and 1 Finer Wine Tavola Syrah Kit

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Gilmango

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This is just my third year making wine from grapes. First year using my 4 bucket press, but only on the very last of the 5 different wines. Really happy with what I hope will be 5 distinct wines, though time will tell how distinct the 2nd and 3rd are, as well as the 4th and 5th. Here's a quick rundown of what I did, which I could not have done without alot of guidance I picked up on these forums plus a few youtube videos and morewine manuals:

1st wine - originally 3 gallons (now 2 gallons) of saignee Grenache Rose, bled after 4 hours of maceration from the 225# of crushed and destemmed grapes I picked with a friend around 7 a.m. on Saturday, September 16th in Knightsen, CA at a CA Wine Broker (Michael) arranged pick. Nice head trained, dry farmed Grenache, grown organically (but seemingly not certified organic). $199 at $0.80/#, including $20 to use his crusher destemmer. D254 Rhone yeast. Moved to 3 1 gallon jugs after fermenting nearly dry.

2nd wine - a 6.5 gallon (really holds 7 g) carboy where I combined the free run juice/wine from fermenters, the larger of the two had Cellar Science Purple yeast starter added after a 1 day coldish soak with sulfite and pectinase (Lallezyme EX-V). The smaller fermenter did not get any yeast for 5 days, was trying for a 'native yeast' ferment and it smelled OK but was slow to start fermenting, plus the larger fermenter was pushing its cap so high that I ultimately scooped in several big spoonfuls of cap into the 'wild' ferment, which really kickstarted it. So ultimately both got Purple yeast, but hoping the wild/native yeast start at least adds a little complexity. Also added yeast nutrients, Opti-Red, fermenting tannin, and oak chips to both of these and all of the wines, but no MLF.

3rd wine - a 5 gallon carboy (5.5 g) also 100% free run from a third fermenter where the only real difference was that I fermented with D254 Rhone yeast.

I did no press at this point, even though I'd already drilled my bucket for my inaugural bucket pressing run. Instead, I put the unpressed 90# of pomace into 2 of the 3 fermenters, and topped it with 6 gallons of freshly mixed FWK Tavola Syrah which arrived 9 days after I picked the Grenache ($110 with shipping to SF, CA).

4th wine - another 5 gallon carboy with free run juice (still no bucket pressing). Assuming the Syrah and Grenache mixed well from diffusion and all the punch downs, this would be about 2/3 Syrah and 1/3 Grenache. Added no new yeast but added most FWK additions plus, same nutrients, pectinase, ferment tannins, Opti-red, sacrificial oak, etc. to 4th and 5th wines.

5th wine - another 5 gallon carboy. Initially pressed the pomace as hard as I could (using only my body weight), also moved the pomace around in its strainer bag within the drilled bucket, to get as much as I could on re-pressings. Sadly, I could only get to about 4.25+ gallons of pressed wine. My solution, given available carboys and their sizes, was to put it into the 5 gallon carboy, topping it with 1 gallon of the Saignee Grenache Rose. On the one hand, sad to lose 1/3 of my first ever Grenache Rose, on the other hand I kept the mix to just the 2023 Grenache grapes, and FWK Syrah kit, plus one bottle of FWK Syrah Forte wine to reach the neck of the carboy. I also rationalized that the aggressive pressing of the pomace made for a pretty tannic wine, and adding a gallon of rose might actually mellow that out a bit.

Pretty sure 4th and 5th wines will pretty different, less sure how different the 2nd and 3rd wines will be. Tasting and likely some bench trials in the months and years to come will help me decide whether to blend any of these together or with other wines (I now have all 12 glass carboys full, including 4 more with Rhone varietals), so I suspect some blending will occur in my future. Thanks again for all the tips. And for those curious about a bucket press (1) I think I got at least an extra couple gallons out thanks to that press (vs. what my feeble pressing attempts in prior couple harvests would have yielded), and (2) this is the video I like best:

My biggest question at the moment is whether any of these wines will go through spontaneous MLF, and, if they don't will I end up adding MLF bacteria. I'm kind of hoping that nothing spontaneous happens so I can taste the wines again and see if I want to pitch MLF bacteria or not.

In summary, from 225# of grapes I got 15.5 gallons of wine without any pressing. Then added 6 gallons of kit wine to the unpressed 80# of pomace, and with pressing got over 9.75 gallons of out, now have 25.5 gallons of wine, for a cost of $309 for grapes and kit, $360 when I add in $31 for yeast/nutrient/tannin/oak/pectinase/opti-red/etc plus $20 for gas to Knightsen and back. That's $14/gallon, or $2.82 a bottle. Will go up if I add MLF or lysozyme.
 
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Spontaneous MLF only happens if you put wine into a barrel that has had MLB in that barrel. If your aging in glass. Fugedaboudid.........

Also you mixed pomace with Kit wine. Normally you never want to attempt to do MLF on Kit wine as it has been pre-balanced to not need it and actually has a higher than normal amount of malic acid. If you were somehow even able to get MLF going it would turn your wine into a flabby tasting mess with a high pH. It is not advised to attempt MLF on any Kit wines.
 
Spontaneous MLF only happens if you put wine into a barrel that has had MLB in that barrel. If your aging in glass. Fugedaboudid.........

Also you mixed pomace with Kit wine. Normally you never want to attempt to do MLF on Kit wine as it has been pre-balanced to not need it and actually has a higher than normal amount of malic acid. If you were somehow even able to get MLF going it would turn your wine into a flabby tasting mess with a high pH. It is not advised to attempt MLF on any Kit wines.
I hope that you are right, as I don't want any spontaneous MLF, but I've read that spontaneous MLF is still a risk even in glass carboys. Albeit one I can mitigate in some ways, such as the first 3 bullet points from what Wikipedia says this about preventing MLF:

For some wine styles, such as light, fruity wines or for low-acid wines from warm climates, malolactic fermentation is not desired. Winemakers can take several steps to prevent MLF from taking place, including:[4][9]
  • Limited maceration, early pressing, and early racking to limit contact time of the LAB with potential nutrient sources
  • Maintain sulfur dioxide levels to at least 25 ppm of "free" (unbound) SO2, depending on the pH of the wine, this may mean an addition of 50–100 mg/L of SO2
  • Maintain pH levels below 3.3
  • Keep the wine cool at temperatures between 10 and 14 °C (50. 0 to 57.2 °F)
  • Filter the wine at bottling with at least a 0.45-micron membrane filter to prevent any bacteria from making it into the bottle
In addition, winemakers can use chemical and biological inhibitors such as lysozyme, nisin, dimethyl dicarbonate (Velcorin), and fumaric acid, though some (like Verlcorin) are restricted in winemaking countries outside the United States. Fining agents, such as bentonite, and putting the wine through cold stabilization will also remove potential nutrients for LAB, thus inhibiting malolactic fermentation. Some experimentation with the use of bacteriophages (viruses that infect bacteria) has been conducted to limit malolactic fermentations, but disappointing results in the cheesemaking industry have led to skepticism about the practical use of bacteriophages in winemaking.[8] source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Malolactic_fermentation
I don't have a filter, nor do I want to filter the wine, nor add bentonite. Also no way to keep it that cool. Prefer not to add lysozyme either or the other inhibitors mentioned.

As far as MLF in the FWK kit wine that is also something I especially want to avoid, and another reason I did not co-inoculate with MLB during the initial Grenache must ferment. The FWK makers have confirmed that since their product is not heat pasteurized it can go through MLF (unlike most every other kit) but reports from those who have done so do confirm it becomes a flabby mess, as you said.
 
For sure, spontaneous MLF can occur in carboys. I had it happen several years ago in a Rose I made from Movedre, Since I generally want to control this I add MLB. The Rose though, I'd recommend using lysozyme to prevent MLF and then sulfite at a fairly high normal level.
 
For sure, spontaneous MLF can occur in carboys. I had it happen several years ago in a Rose I made from Movedre, Since I generally want to control this I add MLB. The Rose though, I'd recommend using lysozyme to prevent MLF and then sulfite at a fairly high normal level.

I probably should have said YMMV. But never had it happen in my 12 years of using glass carboys. Heck most of the time I have to inoculate multiple times and bring a Shaman in burning sage to get MLF to start in my carboys! LOL
 

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