Quantcast

Confusion on when to start MLF (using Brix)

Wine Making Talk

Help Support Wine Making Talk:

skyfire322

Junior Member
Joined
May 21, 2017
Messages
370
Reaction score
247
Location
Ft Wayne, IN, US
I'm thinking about going through MLF on my next batch of white (I've never conducted it before). I've been doing some research and I've seen some discrepancy when it comes to WHEN to begin. Some say start at 0 brix, others say to start at 5 to 8.

Is there a hard and fast rule as to when to conduct it, is it the pH, or is it culture dependent?
 

crushday

Grape juice artisan
WMT Supporter
Joined
Jul 1, 2018
Messages
833
Reaction score
945
Location
Pacific NW - S. Sound
I'm no expert and someone else might bring a different perspective as they answer...

In general terms, grape varieties such as Riesling, Gewürtztraminer, Pinot Gris, Sauvignon Blanc, Chenin Blanc, Muscat show more fruity, floral profile with high acidity. Using malolactic fermentation would completely change the natural style of these wines. Therefore, winemakers usually protect these wines from MLF.

However, Chardonnay is an excellent variety for a malolactic fermentation. When you start is up to you. Some co-innoculate, meaning during primary fermentation. Other times are at the BRIX you indicate and I don't think it matters.
 

Boatboy24

No longer a newbie, but still clueless.
Joined
Mar 18, 2012
Messages
13,994
Reaction score
10,673
Location
DC Suburbs
You're going to get a lot of different answers on this one because in many instances, it's a matter of preference. Some will inoculate after pressing and the subsequent racking 24 hours later. Others will do it a day or two before pressing. Others (myself included) inoculate about 24 hours after cap formation.
 

NorCal

Super Moderator
Super Moderator
Joined
Apr 17, 2014
Messages
3,184
Reaction score
3,313
Location
Sierra Foothills, Nor Cal
I‘ll read the manufacturer’s data sheet. My go to is mlb is Beta and it allows for a number of different scenarios on when and how to add. I‘m with @crushday on mlf on a white. A buttery Chardonnay it would be a must, others you want to make sure it supports the wine you want to make.
 

CoteRotie

Supporting Members
WMT Supporter
Joined
Aug 19, 2020
Messages
35
Reaction score
21
Location
SF Bay Area
Though I haven't seen any research on it, the conventional wisdom is that inoculating after dryness ensures that the ML bacteria aren't competing with the yeast for nutrients.

If you're providing plenty of nutrients or your must's YAN and nutrient profile is good it likely doesn't make much difference when you inoculate. Successful wines are made both ways all the time.

Personally, I wait until after pressing (reds) which may be 0-5 degrees brix.
 

skyfire322

Junior Member
Joined
May 21, 2017
Messages
370
Reaction score
247
Location
Ft Wayne, IN, US
Thanks! I kind of had a feeling it'd be more of a "your mileage may vary" if/when/how to conduct it. But yeah, the blend is (IIRC) Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay.

I'm on the fence because, the winery I worked at always had their Chard go through MLF for said buttery notes. The rest, more delicate varietals (Viognier, Vidal Blanc) didn't to keep their aromatics. I just thought it'd be an interesting experiment since Sauv Blanc is delicate but Chard can take it.
 

Jetcontrails

Junior
Joined
Oct 14, 2019
Messages
4
Reaction score
3
Location
Sierra Foothills
Both ways is acceptable, but some food for thought...

If you’re fermenting your white below 60°F, long slow fermentation, your malolactic bacteria are virtually inactive. Just too cold.

Also, if you inadvertently end up with any RS (residual sugar/stuck AF), better to be void of ML bacteria until you resolve your RS issue.

So, no real benefit to early inoculation. Some may argue stability concerns, VA, LAB, etc., but in most cases, with white wines, your pH is low enough to keep the rogue LAB suppressed. Red wines with higher pH, that’s a different animal.

My recommendation, for a first timer, I’d suggest doing MLF once AF is complete.
 
Last edited:

Latest posts

Top