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First time without yeast

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bobrules

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Hello All,

I have been making wine for about 5 years with yeast additive and now i am ready to explore wine making without yeast. I understand it takes longer but i would like to give it a try.

Does anyone have a procedure or suggestions that could make my new journey a successful one?

Here is what i have learned so far:
1. ferment naturally in pail 10-14 days. Stirring in the AM and PM
2. put in carboy for 30 days and rack after 30 days
3. Keep in carboy for 90 days then rack
4. keep in carboy another 90 days and bottle.

is this correct? Am i missing anything?
 

BernardSmith

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Hi bobrules - and welcome.. Is it yeast that you are not adding and so you are planning on making use of wild yeast? Or is it yeast nutrient you want to leave out? I ask because you mention "yeast additive"... and I am not clear whether the "additive" is the yeast or the additive is what you add to the yeast...
 

mennyg19

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Fermentation should be based on SG, not time.
I did this about a month ago. My wine is now aging. Its pretty good actually, but didnt compare my additive and natural wines side by side.
Dont add sulfites in the beginning, that'll kill or at least stunt your natural yeast from taking hold... good luck!
 

bobrules

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Hi bobrules - and welcome.. Is it yeast that you are not adding and so you are planning on making use of wild yeast? Or is it yeast nutrient you want to leave out? I ask because you mention "yeast additive"... and I am not clear whether the "additive" is the yeast or the additive is what you add to the yeast...
Thanks Bernard, My plan is no yeast at all. I guess what i am going for is zero additives. Sorry if i was confusing.
 

LenMajdan

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I harvested a kilogram of grapes and broke the skins by hand about a week before the main harvest and let it commence fermentation. It was kept it in a jar with an airlock to reduce contamination risk. It smelled quite nice and so I used it to help launch the main batch. The technique is called pied de cuve. The final wine seemed more complex than the same wine where bought dried yeast was used. Both wines have been submitted to a local wine show. It will interesting to see how the experts view the results.
 

Scooter68

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Being or playing the skeptic here I wonder why the fascination with not using commercial yeasts? The industry of these yeast arose out of a desire to have consistent results in wine making. I also understand that the different wild yeasts could produce more complex results but it can also cause results that are not desirable. Has anyone tried doing a semi-scientific test making identical batches (split the original must) and with one in wild yeast and a second in a commercial yeast suitable for the must being fermented. That would then require a blind test to determine the true differences. And again the biggest thing that would concern me is the lack of being able to repeat that each time you make wine, even from the same sources due to environmental differences. Again playing the skeptic here.
 

mennyg19

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Being or playing the skeptic here I wonder why the fascination with not using commercial yeasts? The industry of these yeast arose out of a desire to have consistent results in wine making. I also understand that the different wild yeasts could produce more complex results but it can also cause results that are not desirable. Has anyone tried doing a semi-scientific test making identical batches (split the original must) and with one in wild yeast and a second in a commercial yeast suitable for the must being fermented. That would then require a blind test to determine the true differences. And again the biggest thing that would concern me is the lack of being able to repeat that each time you make wine, even from the same sources due to environmental differences. Again playing the skeptic here.

Same reason why someone would choose to MAKE wine as opposed to buying a more predictable bottle from the store...
 

jburtner

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Interesting to actively cultivate a wild yeast in successive fermentations. How can this yeast be stored longer term?

Cheers,
jb
 

BernardSmith

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Interesting to actively cultivate a wild yeast in successive fermentations. How can this yeast be stored longer term?

Cheers,
jb
Bray Denard (AKA Loveofrose) in other wine and mead making forums has posted a detailed note on how to extract wild yeasts , cultivate and harvest them and then store them for long periods.

Scooter68, I would think that if you are a commercial wine maker and you were dependent on sales then all other things being equal you might want to control as much as you could of the wine making process and so being able to inoculate your must with a very dependable and familiar strain of yeast might be something you would adopt given the enormous number of variables you need to deal with from the brix of the harvest to the water content of the fruit etc but as a home wine maker - a hobbyist - the idea of growing a colony of yeast whose initial contact you made was purely by chance and whose characteristics you are not familiar with and whose ability to turn a gallon or two of fruit must into a peculiarly and particularly delicious wine - or not - is as yet undetermined might - just might - excite some wine makers. The downside is that if the wine turns out to be appalling all you have lost is a few gallons of must - but if the wine turns out to be delicious and deliciously unique you can, with care, cultivate that colony and that colony is (for all intents and purposes) uniquely yours...
 

Scooter68

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The idea of cultivating your own yeast is certainly a interesting idea and one that I can fully understand. But purely letting whatever wild yeast is there determine the outcome - guess I'm too cheap to take those risks.

I started making my own wine because I couldn't fined PURE blueberry, or blackberry or an number of other fruit wines in the stores. They all had a leading ingredient of Grapes rather than what they claimed to be on the label. Neither could I find a sweet apple wine or any number of other wines in stores. Even if I did find it the price was well over $10.00 a bottle and/or it could not shipped to me. Other than labor, the wine I make cost well under $5.00 a bottle tops, not to mention I know what went in it.
 

pete1325

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Yeasts, wild or store bought, is only part of the process....it really comes down to the grapes. Type, Brix, weather, freshness all play a role in the end results. That said I've made wine the "old school" method (no added yeast-no additional additives) and with store bought yeast, MLF bacteria, K-meta, adjusting PH, racking twice...etc. and the out come is pretty close to the same. Keep in mind that the wine made "old school" (crush, press, ferment and drink) will not age as well.....just my opinion.
 

Scooter68

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OFF THE WALL QUESTION - Not that long ago amphoras were found in ship wrecks. They contained wine that was deemed very drinkable. Wonder how those lasted so long - literally hundreds of years.
 

jburtner

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I read some articles about isolating cultivating and banking wild yeasts to hone in on ones that have the attributes you might desire. Absolutely a detail oriented process and sounds like it can be done to varying degrees if you want. I'm pretty sure that in more traditional times folks were also detail oriented and followed these practices on small test batches leading up to crush and cultivating / pitching those colonies with most desireable profile. Particularly if responsible for large productions. Maybe their lives depended on delivering consistently good product in some cases or off with their heads as it were....

Cheers and long live the bestest yeasties - may we be so lucky try them all!
-jb
 

Johny99

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I read some articles about isolating cultivating and banking wild yeasts to hone in on ones that have the attributes you might desire. Absolutely a detail oriented process and sounds like it can be done to varying degrees if you want.

Cheers and long live the bestest yeasties - may we be so lucky try them all!
-jb
As I understand it, this is the process used to isolate many of the commercial yeasts we have now. Same way the early potatoes became Yukon Gold, and other food stocks came about, pre gmo of course. Mendelson with his peas and Zwiegelt with his grapes. Me, I'm still just trying to make really good wine, with the tools I have. My only request of you who experiment, tell us the results!
 

randicoot

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I wonder if thee's a way to keep the yeast going in the same way that kefir grains are kept going. The problem might be to separate the dead yeast from the live, since they say the dead yeast can contribute off flavors. Is there an easy way to filter dead yeast from live?

With kefir, the "grains" are large-ish and easily separated. Saccharomyces cerevisiae is supposed to be among the many strains of yeast found in kefir. I wonder if the dead yeast is expelled from the grains or maybe eaten by other yeasts or bacteria.

Randy
 

LenMajdan

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Why bother using the native yeasts? A few reasons: 1) To see what happens when you do. There is the hope that you might stumble on a fabulous outcome. 2) Breeding up the native yeasts results in more than one yeast inoculating the wine hence the complexity. 3) The yeasts in the vineyard most likely reflect the terroir of your vineyard. 4) There is that desire within self to produce an end product that has the minimum intervention i.e. a natural product of nature - yeah a bit hippyish but still we must be crazy to put all that effort and money into making our own wines and beers. It would be cheaper and less time consuming to buy the stuff.

As to the taste test. We split the Chambourcin harvest into two batches. One batch was inoculated with BDX yeast and the other with the Pied de Cuve. Exactly the same process was followed for both batches after that including 20+ days on skins following fermentation. When pressed a sample of each was taken and a blind test conducted by my wife. She found the Pied de Cuve a little more complex and her preferred choice. Not an exhaustive scientific test but a fair comparison. Certainly it makes it worth the effort to try again.

I agree it is a bit risky not using commercial yeast but the Pied de Cuve method reduces that risk.
 

LenMajdan

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One last thought. Each year the weather varies the grape ripening conditions. The question is will that then vary the yeasts and bacteria that predominate in the vineyard that year. And will those organisms align to produce the best wine from that crop. I'll report back in 2017.
 

Masbustelo

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What was the reason for leaving the skins in for 20 days? Doesn't the wine become at risk from the oxygen exposure post ferment?
 

Scooter68

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So if 'that years' wild yeast turned out to be great - that raises the question - did you save some of it? It could be the most fabulous outcome but without saving that yeast you are unlikely to be able to duplicate it next time. You won't know for many months or even a couple of years that the wild yeast from 2015 or even 2014 was great - unless you are somehow saving and cultivating it. That's a lot of work for a 'maybe' solution.
 

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