calcium carbonate turned red wine brown

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Jan 21, 2023
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new York
I just crushed grapes and the juice was quite acidic, 2. 8 photo. so I added 1/4 cup of calcium carbonate to my 200 liters, the ph is about 3.2 but it's foamy brown bubbles and scummy on top instead of the beautiful red color it was before. I havent added yeast or started fermenting. any advice? hope adding calcium carbonate didn't ruin my wine
Is the whole batch brownish or just the top? How does it taste overall? Since you did this (yesterday?) I might take another pH sample today and see if you’re still at 3.2. Did you test for TA by chance? It would also be good to see if that moved.

I’m usually a bit hesitant to add things that bring up the pH exactly because of your experience and because (I feel) it tends to add a little bit of a mineral-ish taste to the wine. Not that you did something wrong at all, this is merely my experience. Other ways to reduce acidity are cold crashing, blending afterwards, MLF for malic acid co-inoculation, yeast selection (Lallemand 71B), adding water (this however will thin it out), sur lie aging, sweetening afterwards…

If it tastes ok, even if it’s a smidge low in pH, and the overall color is still good, I think you’re ok. What was the grape variety? Go with your taste buds. Its also going to change a bit through fermentation. What was the SG? What yeast do you plan on using?
Cabernet grapes. I had other vats 1k liters that were ok with the. adjustment. I checked flavors before and after and was great. the low ph was just too sour.
I didn't do TA. still waiting for some equipment.
I've never done MLF intentionally. I prefer a fruit forward wine than the buttery, dry wines.

the brown scum on the large vats skimmed and was fine.
some of. the wine is still around 3.0ph but as long as it doesn't stall fermentation, it's ok.
2k kilograms of grapes kicked my butt the past 3 days. had my gf help was fun using equipment. crusher and press. the juice is quite good this year,

sg of juice was 19 brix, a little low. I like a 13 to. 14 percent abv wine, so. I added sugar to about 25 brix.

I made a 5 gallon bucket of yeast starter, and will use to ferment all the tanks
That is quite a bit of grapes! It's always great to have help and have fun doing something you love.

It looks like all is going well. I don't think you're going to have any problems with the must. If you don't taste the mineral-ish-ness now, you're probably not going to. I haven't found MLF to make my reds more buttery, just less acidic. Another option if they are still quite sour or tart is to use glycerin to help with mouthfeel. Also, some drinks are quite acidic but the acid is covered up with some residual sweetness. Since you don't like dry as much as fruit forward, this is another option. Keep the yeast happy and they should do ok. One thing that's helped me with a good fermentation start is to slowly add must to the starter and acclimate the yeast to the high sugar and low pH environment. Add must, wait until it starts again, add must... keep going a few more times and then pitch your yeast. That's just what has worked for me. I only suggest that especially since the pH is a little lower than usual.
I'm using 2yeast strains one that can handle 16 abv and low acidity. and one that is similar to 71b. and if it stalls, I could finish with the terminator😀 but frankly it doesn't have the flavor profile I like.

punched caps today seems to be roaring.

unfortunately I don't have access to MLF starter. I saw 1 gram but it was 20 dollars. yeah I've used glycerine, adjusting mouth feel, nuanced flavor profile and complexity, never been an issue, just doing large 1k liters batches instead of 50 to 100 liters batches.

I like your idea of building the starter that way. if I have issues I'll definitely do that to restart if it stalls.

thanks buddy

grapes grapes. crushing went well. but ran out of fermentation tanks had 2 500 liters, 2x 250, 3 x100. but left room for the cap to bloom, I'm hoping to have 1k liters of wine after all rankings. I'll age 500liters in. oak for 1 year+ and 500 liters in stainless steel. with oak chunks for 6 months.
in. 2 weeks I'll be making 1k liters of peach mango Chardonnay, then I'll have 500 liters of 6 different fruit wines. if all goes well this year. hopefully by next may I'll be able to start selling.

next 6 months while wine Is.aging. the real work of branding and marketing exposure, before sales come in.

starting relatively small, and try to build, it's definitely a journey


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Sounds like everything is going well! Good to hear ~ Good luck with the rest of what you’re doing, keep us posted. I see you’re from NY, what part? Looking forward to seeing the labels too.
I was born in Oswego, family from Geneva and Syracuse. but I moved to China 20 years ago.

my brand is dark harvest, fruit wines, I make different types of brandy (technically not because aged only 2 years and not 3+). I also have a line of perfumes, but that's harder here to market because unless it's a top known brand it's hard to get exposure,

still in process making website, will update labels this year, been branding for a few years but still need a big push this year, then marketing things and sales next year after wine is sent to the factory and processed. easier to get a licensed factory to make the products than start my own factory. maybe in. a few years can grow more, but still keeping it relatively small.

I guess the most ironic thing is in don't actually drink alcohol😂 I taste but never imbibe.


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Nice labels and I like the look of the frosted bottled. My wife and I went to college at Ithaca and Keuka. Love that area… headed up there for our 30th. Good luck with the marketing plan!

How’s the must going?
went out today to push down cap, smells good actively growing. got a little warm today, hit 30 degrees, I'll add some ice jugs to cool it down. AC busted last weekend. hopefully be I'll get fixed this week.

I have 5 gallons of the juice set aside. I can make another starter if it stalls. but hopefully it will go dry. would be ok. if it stalled with A little sweet, then wouldn't need to back sweeten and still be 13%abv

I laser engrave the boxes, and torch burn the wood, instead of selling bottles i focus on box sets. the bars and restaurants I've talked to will wholesale different types of wine. but only one or 2 flavors each place. that way can match flavor profile with atmosphere of local.

my chocolate brandy is biggest seller. I might change in the future and just make brandy, since making 8 different flavors of fruit wines takes too much effort😀. but I'll keep trying a few years.
I spoke too soon. took ph and gravity readings.

temperature of must is 30 degrees. it's fermentating so quickly went from 25 bricks to 10 in 3 days. flavor is little sour as ph still around 2. 7 to 2. 9 took a few readings little variation. I can't press and transfer to vats until Saturday, but if it finishes tomorrow or Thursday I'm screwed. wasted 2. 5k dollars on grapes.

I wish I had my ac working but grapes arrived early and I couldn't just let them rot. worst part for me is if its ruined have to wait a year before can get more grapes.

at night temperatures drop to 22 but not low enough. the wine feels warm. I'm. not making mulled wine must😂😂

my stainless steel vats and transfer pump will be here Friday or Saturday. so hopefully things aren't totally ruined. the must had a perfect flavor yesterday but today really bubbly sour and strong not the fruity profile I had last year
* try adding milk jugs of ice to the wine. Fermentation is exothermic, in small batches as 25 liter I typically see 2 degrees higher temp in the fermentation. Option B fill a Big Mouth bubbler with bag ice and float it in the tank.
* you have several ways to deal with high acid. Chilling to crystallize bitartrates is easy up north (some here ferment in an unheated garage). Plan on removing some tartaric. It is late now but one could ferment with 71B which is rated to reduce malic acid by 1/3 or more exotic Maurivin B which is rated to reduce malic 56%.
* as noted MLF. in which case the wine needs to be kept warm and low free SO2
* degassing will improve the flavor you have a ways to go.
* it appears that the measured acid decreases with time. ,,, Acids combine with alcohols creating esters. Two year Old wine won’t be as acidic.
* taste is everything, yup we can explain why folks like a certain range of TA, but grandpa could make wine just by taste. ,,, Practice tasting it is a skill.
I know its exothermic so my must was about 22c degrees starting. thought might go 3 or 4 degrees but it flew up 10 degrees hotter in the 500 liter vats. even if I had AC on in. the room. keeping room to 22 degrees, I don't think it's enough, I'll need some kind of water circulation chiller with 2 large buckets of ice water. but not sure that will work enough.

sucks losing 6k dollars. I feel so stupid, I thought I had fixed everything. I've been preparing for 6 months. if I can salvage it into Brandy won't be a total loss. but still sucks, can't have this happen to the next 6 batches
It may not all be a loss. Take a breath, you are where you are. How do you get to where you want to be?

@Rice_Guy has some great ideas for both pH and temperature. There's also a LOT of CO2 in the must and that will change how it tastes and the pH measurement.

Another way to cool it down is to use tubing, ice-cold water, and a small circulation pump. An example is something like this cooling plate at MoreWineMaking that goes directly into the must and not around the container. I'm presuming you don't have access to a glycol chiller and you may be towards the end of the fermentation already. Here's another version in coil form from Blichmann. Run cold water through the plate or tubing and ensure the source feeding the tubing remains cold with blocks of ice. You could use a large cooler or any other vat with a supply at one end and return at the other.

How is it today?
The wine cooled down after 3rd day, 2 small barrels taste exactly as i wanted, but the 2 x 500 liter tanks were more strong and harsh tones, not unlike a 10 dollar wine. it would be ok after aging but not exactly what I want. I'll get it double distilled and age it as a high quality brandy. and I'll just start another batch of cab sav in a few weeks.

now that I've had a a few days, I. have AC installed and 2 large freezers so can hold more large ice jugs.

I also Looked into making a wort chiller style water circulation system, if necessary if it warms up again. it's back down to normal temperatures again 24 degrees at high so should be ok. was just annoying having a heat wave for the 5 days I was fermenting.

really appreciate the support and thoughtful comments.

sometimes you can make something dozens of times and the one time you need it to be perfect you hit obstacles.

I think that's why I. love creating wine is because of all the constant problem solving
The wine cooled down after 3rd day, but the 2 x 500 liter tanks were more strong and harsh tones, not unlike a 10 dollar wine. . . . I think that's why I. love creating wine is because of all the constant problem solving
I am curious what your taste actually is. ,,, a sample?

In the vinters club I have divided buckets and run several 4 liter incubator temperatures with unpleasant flavor. The years after the fact impression is that there are mercaptan based flavors which developed in the higher temperature, ,, Therefore two low tech approaches might be 1) using a no SO2 yeast (Renaissance) and 2) better yeast health ie step feeding with Fermaid O ,,, (TOSNA) , possibly with extra aeration in the first third sugar usage ,,, I haven’t ever divided a club bucket to see if either direction would fix the 30C flavor. @weaverschmitz we have another project to try.

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