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Calcium Carbonate mis-use

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Chris McElroy

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Last night I made a mistake in applying Calcium Carbonate to reduce the acidity of my Marquette must by .1 I applied the correct amount of the powder, 1/2 teaspoon for each gallon of must - but I mistakenly stirred it into the whole batch (7 gallons). I should have first treated a small amount of the must, then add it to the rest. My pH spiked from 2.9 to 3.4 Can experienced hands suggest a corrective action, if one is needed? thanks
 

Johnd

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Last night I made a mistake in applying Calcium Carbonate to reduce the acidity of my Marquette must by .1 I applied the correct amount of the powder, 1/2 teaspoon for each gallon of must - but I mistakenly stirred it into the whole batch (7 gallons). I should have first treated a small amount of the must, then add it to the rest. My pH spiked from 2.9 to 3.4 Can experienced hands suggest a corrective action, if one is needed? thanks
That’s a pretty decent sized jump, but the resultant pH isn’t bad, did you get a TA on the must before / after as well? Do you plan on MLF for the wine?

As you’ve seen, it’s always better to add chems slowly, in small doses, to ease up to your desired starting point. Most of the products I’ve used are intended to be applied based upon the volume of finished wine, not the volume of must, yours could be different, but it’s worth checking.

Unless TA was way off, I’d probably go ahead and pitch the yeast and get it going, you’ll have the opportunity later to adjust acid by taste once your wine has cleared and aged a bit.
 

GreginND

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At this point you have a great pH value. I wouldn't worry about it at all and proceed. The only issue is that the carbonate took out only tartaric acid and not malic acid, so after MLF your acid balance may be a bit off. But that is easily corrected by adding some tartaric acid back if the pH is too high and TA too low.
 

Stressbaby

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Last night I made a mistake in applying Calcium Carbonate to reduce the acidity of my Marquette must by .1 I applied the correct amount of the powder, 1/2 teaspoon for each gallon of must - but I mistakenly stirred it into the whole batch (7 gallons). I should have first treated a small amount of the must, then add it to the rest. My pH spiked from 2.9 to 3.4 Can experienced hands suggest a corrective action, if one is needed? thanks
This idea of adding the carbonate to a portion of the batch to help with the removal of malic is tricky. Supposedly you have to get the pH on the small batch up to 4.5-5 in order to precipitate the malic. I tried this on my traminette this year. Not only did I fail to get the pH up to 4.5, but I turned the must a nasty brown color. The resulting pH was in range but now I have this ugly looking wine and I've no idea if it dropped the malic. I'm probably going to have to try some PVPP on this wine before all is said and done.

Would appreciate hearing from anyone with experience doing this, particularly on a white wine.
 

RonObvious

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You may have seen my post on Marquette acid strategy. I tried the double salt technique you mention above last year with my Marquette and found it difficult and messy. And to boot, the pH ended up being on the high side while the TA is still high too. So maybe consider your mistake a blessing in disguise. I think I'm going to do very minimal (if any) acid neutralization this year and see if 71B yeast can bring down the TA instead.
 

Chris McElroy

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Thanks Johnd and others - good info. We did the simplified double-salt technique on Traminette, Seval Blanc and Lacrescent last year with success. I appreciate the new suggestions on moving forward.
 

Chris McElroy

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That’s a pretty decent sized jump, but the resultant pH isn’t bad, did you get a TA on the must before / after as well? Do you plan on MLF for the wine?

As you’ve seen, it’s always better to add chems slowly, in small doses, to ease up to your desired starting point. Most of the products I’ve used are intended to be applied based upon the volume of finished wine, not the volume of must, yours could be different, but it’s worth checking.

Unless TA was way off, I’d probably go ahead and pitch the yeast and get it going, you’ll have the opportunity later to adjust acid by taste once your wine has cleared and aged a bit.
My 'before' TA was 1.125. I started fermentation and will check TA again upon conclusion. Yes - will do MLF. Thanks much.
 
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