Can I freeze my grapes?

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Ajmassa

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Well I just stopped by a new supplier I found out about when researching my area in south jersey to check it out and pick up a few items. I've already pre-ordered my Cab/merlot juice pale and pickup is may 13th.
I walked out of the store with my items....and 3 lugs of Cab Sauv on impulse! Figured it would be a nice practice run for fall grapes. I've only helped the family as a kid the couple times they used grapes instead of juice. Hoping to get 3 gallons out of the 54lbs.
Few questions.
1. I planned on doing MLF and got vp-41 for 66 gal. Will this last 2 more weeks if I decide to start these 2 batches 2 weeks apart?
2. Or should I just wait and time these batches together? And if so should I freeze my grapes until then? How long will they keep if refrigerated?
 

Johnd

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Well I just stopped by a new supplier I found out about when researching my area in south jersey to check it out and pick up a few items. I've already pre-ordered my Cab/merlot juice pale and pickup is may 13th.
I walked out of the store with my items....and 3 lugs of Cab Sauv on impulse! Figured it would be a nice practice run for fall grapes. I've only helped the family as a kid the couple times they used grapes instead of juice. Hoping to get 3 gallons out of the 54lbs.
Few questions.
1. I planned on doing MLF and got vp-41 for 66 gal. Will this last 2 more weeks if I decide to start these 2 batches 2 weeks apart?
2. Or should I just wait and time these batches together? And if so should I freeze my grapes until then? How long will they keep if refrigerated?
According to the packaging, you should use it once opened, I would heed that advice.

You could freeze and start them together, or just proceed with the grapes, and when the juice pails are ready, inoculate both together. I wouldn't refrigerate grapes for two weeks.
 

Ajmassa

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Thanks for the confirmation. I have a wealth of options here. And I may just refrigerate for a couple days and get primary finished on the grapes so I can use the skins for the juice batch. And inoculate malo together at the lag stage of the juices ferment.
I anticipated to have all summer to prepare for the fall grapes and bought these unprepared. I plan on making a makeshift bucket press for these, since I'm not overly concerned with the extra amount from 3 lugs.
Excited and nervous at the same time!
 

ColemanM

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You could also just wait until both wines are done fermenting, racked and off gross lees. Waiting to inoculate a wine with mlf for two weeks is not a problem. Just be sure to have the carboy topped up with zero headspace since there is no so2 in the wine.
 

Ajmassa

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I thought about waiting, but no so2 is a concern. And now this way I can do MLF at 2 different points of a batch at the same time. And will see if I would prefer one way or not.
Keeping the grapes frozen until Thursday And will crush on Friday. If all goes to plan pitching yeast on Saturday. Pickup for the juice is the following Saturday.
Timing is looking like MLF will start sometime during the primary on the juice batch (after the lag phase of the yeast?, which I still need to Google) and the grape batch at that point will be a few days after it's in the carboy and then racked again off the gross lees. I will definitely make sure they're both at an ideal point together before I inoculate ML. My 2 main concerns are :to be careful with oxygen exposure since no sulphite additions and,
2. To not screw up the malo. Luckily there are some other members popping their MLF cherries who will be a week or 2 ahead of me and I can learn from their threads they have going.
 

Johnd

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There is another option you could consider. Go ahead with your grape wine and inoculate it with MLB just after the lag phase of the yeast, when AF is just getting started. Once you press your skins and move the grape wine to carboys, use your once-pressed skins in the juice buckets. The skins will already have active bacteria in them, so in effect, you'll be doing concurrent MLF on both batches. I've run concurrent MLF's on my last several batches with good success.
 

Boatboy24

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More often than not, my grapes come in at different times. I'll usually wait until they are all pressed, then add MLB to all at the same time.
 

Ajmassa

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. The skins will already have active bacteria in them, so in effect, you'll be doing concurrent MLF on both batches. I've run concurrent MLF's on my last several batches with good success.

If I get in over my head I'd just wait and add malo simultaneously. But I do like the sound of that. But Would this method be more of a risk of MLF failing to take off? Adding indirectly through the skins? Not physically adding the actual culture might make me nervous. But I do trust your opinion which based on personal experience. Would you add optiMalo and actiML nutrients with the skins again or just let her ride?
Does "good success" mean that it hasn't ever failed to go off this way?

And also, just to clarify, the "lag phase" of your AF is when the culture is getting acclimated to the must? the time between pitching yeast and when it visibly takes off??
 
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Johnd

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If I get in over my head I'd just wait and add malo simultaneously. But I do like the sound of that. But Would this method be more of a risk of MLF failing to take off? Adding indirectly through the skins? Not physically adding the actual culture might make me nervous. But I do trust your opinion which based on personal experience. Would you add optiMalo and actiML nutrients with the skins again or just let her ride?
Does "good success" mean that it hasn't ever failed to go off this way?

And also, just to clarify, the "lag phase" of your AF is when the culture is getting acclimated to the must? the time between pitching yeast and when it visibly takes off??
Yes, the lag phase is when the yeast is reproducing to sufficient colony size to attack the sugar, usually will see a goopy, slimy purple foam on top. As soon as the yeast starts to work and you are seeing CO2 release, fermentation has begun.

Good success means it has worked for me every single time with this method. I believe that the earlier the inoculation, the better the chances of MLB performance. Why? When inoculated early, in a must with proper pH, there is no alcohol present, which allows the MLB to get going, there is also boatloads of food. The bacteria is slowly acclimated to the rising alcohol level, as the alcohol is created, as opposed to being dumped into an environment with 13%-14% ABV, when it's tolerance is around 15%. Temperatures created by AF are higher, which is nice for MLB. The action of the CO2 produced by AF keeps the MLB circulation going during the entire AF. It won't finish before AF, but mine all have within a few short weeks.

When you press the juice out of the skins and subsequently put them into your juice buckets, you'll be transferring a huge quantity of MLB, much more than was in your MLB package, and you'll be right back in the same process as the wine from grapes. The yeast you used in the grape batch will also take over your juice bucket fermentation pretty quickly without the need to add any yeast to them, so make sure you selected a yeast you would like to use in both.

Co-inoculation is not without its problems, just as all of the different timing sequences have. I believe that the key is to make sure you are feeding both your yeast and your MLB cultures properly during the process. I feed my yeast at 1/3 and 2/3 sugar depletion, and I rehydrate the MLB in ActiML, add it to the must, and feed it OptiMalo as well. Improperly fed yeast and MLB can cause problems. Yeast will produce a stinky sulfur smell when stressed, and your fermentation may stall. MLB can start eating sugar, producing VA, which is a flaw if it is present in detectible levels.

Here's an article you might enjoy perusing while you mull it over:

http://www.newworldwinemaker.com/2010/02/a-case-for-co-inoculation-of-malolactic-bacteria-and-wine-yeast/
 

Ajmassa

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I think I am pretty set on going for concurrent MLF during the AF's. I've familiarized myself as much Im able to absorb, and I'm ready to take this project on.
I've got my
vp-41 2.5g enough for 66 gal
Acti-ML 50g
OptiMalo 60g
And I grabbed a few of these Brehm frozen fruit additive packs from morewine. It includes
Lallzyme Ex
FT Rouge
Opti-red
Go-ferm protect
Fermaid K

Im still looking into when is best to add pectic enzyme in relation to lallzyme EX, or if needed at all. Does one remove the need for the other?
And also the proper way to "feed" both AF and MLF. I suppose I'll fermaid k a 2nd time at 2/3 through as well like you said. But the feeding of the malo after initial nutrient additions is tough to research. So many different techniques out there.
That link is a good quick read. As well as a few comments under it. Though you already summed it nicely in your post. Btw, thanks for taking the time to give some direction.
 

ceeaton

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I'm still looking into when is best to add pectic enzyme in relation to lallzyme EX, or if needed at all. Does one remove the need for the other?
I use the Lallzyme EX in lieu of the pectic enzyme. I have had really great color in my red wines using the Lallzyme. Can't tell if it will hold up over many years since I'm just reaching my 2 yr anniversary for my first bucket/grapes batch.

You have the right attitude. Absorb what you can and try it out. If it doesn't work, post and we'll help you figure out what went wrong, then try again in the Fall. Just take good notes!
 

Johnd

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I think I am pretty set on going for concurrent MLF during the AF's. I've familiarized myself as much Im able to absorb, and I'm ready to take this project on.
I've got my
vp-41 2.5g enough for 66 gal
Acti-ML 50g
OptiMalo 60g
And I grabbed a few of these Brehm frozen fruit additive packs from morewine. It includes
Lallzyme Ex
FT Rouge
Opti-red
Go-ferm protect
Fermaid K

Im still looking into when is best to add pectic enzyme in relation to lallzyme EX, or if needed at all. Does one remove the need for the other?
And also the proper way to "feed" both AF and MLF. I suppose I'll fermaid k a 2nd time at 2/3 through as well like you said. But the feeding of the malo after initial nutrient additions is tough to research. So many different techniques out there.
That link is a good quick read. As well as a few comments under it. Though you already summed it nicely in your post. Btw, thanks for taking the time to give some direction.
@ceeaton summed up the Lallzyme issue just right, I usually put it in a bit before the yeast, giving it a chance to do its job before the yeast takes off. You won't need it for batch 2.

Figure your Ferm. K dose based on 70% of your must volume, and administer half of the dose at 1/3 sugar depletion, the other half at 2/3 depletion. Put the OptiMalo in when you inoculate MLB, and let it all rip.

When you press, let the wine settle 2-3 days, and rack off of the gross lees, at that point, I'll usually put like a 1/3 dose of Opti in there for good measures. Keep your wine airlocked in the mid 70's, MLF should complete soon afterwards.

Just hop on here if you have concerns....
 

Ajmassa

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And then you'd end up like the dog frozen to the porch in Joe Dirt!
Thanks @ceeaton. A little encouragement goes a long way! And I was unsure about the enzymes but had a feeling pectic wasn't needed if using lallzyme EX.

So at this point I'm good to go. But @Johnd, one last thing I'm looking to find out. After the skins are transferred to the juice bucket, which will contain the yeast, the malo and all the nutrients, are there certain nutrients I wouldn't need to re-add since the skins already have been fed properly?
I'd still dose with ferm k at 1/3 and 2/3. And then probably a small dose of opti malo after I'm racked and settled. But what about all the others that were added the first time around? The rouge, opti-red etc...
 

Johnd

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And then you'd end up like the dog frozen to the porch in Joe Dirt!
Thanks @ceeaton. A little encouragement goes a long way! And I was unsure about the enzymes but had a feeling pectic wasn't needed if using lallzyme EX.

So at this point I'm good to go. But @Johnd, one last thing I'm looking to find out. After the skins are transferred to the juice bucket, which will contain the yeast, the malo and all the nutrients, are there certain nutrients I wouldn't need to re-add since the skins already have been fed properly?
I'd still dose with ferm k at 1/3 and 2/3. And then probably a small dose of opti malo after I'm racked and settled. But what about all the others that were added the first time around? The rouge, opti-red etc...
You are correct, you'll still need to feed the yeast / MLB. You can certainly add the rouge, opti-red, etc. if you like, it'll help the skins give up whatever they have left, and help with color retention.
 

Ajmassa

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I'm also adding a 9 lb Mosti Mondiali all grape pack to the juice I bought before I realized I could get fresh grapes, so I'm gonna feed the juice batch accordingly as well.
The only things I suppose I'll leave out will be the goferm and the Acti-ML since they were being used during rehydration of the yeast and malo. Going with rc-212 btw, for no other reason than others said they've had good success. Also what the supplier recommended.
 

Ajmassa

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Pitched yeast 24 hrs ago. It's just about starting. SG went from ~1.101 to ~1.998 Not very noticeable activity tho. No foam or CO2 to the naked eye. Just a dried cap and some bubbles when I stirred.
Thinking I should wait one more day to inoculate Malo ??? Lots left to interpretation in deciding when "lag phase" is over.
 
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