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Homemade vs. Commercial and what I am doing to close the gap

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4score

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Well, I’m going on day 14 on my Lanza Cab split batch with D80 a d D254 (3 of those days cold soak). First time using either yeast and the ferment has been pretty slow and steady never getting above about 72F. Currently one is at 1.030 and the other is at 1.012.

It’s still dropping by about 5-10 points a day. Not sure if I should be happy about the long contact time or nervous it will get stuck! Anyone have experience with these yeasts? They were both fed with yeast nutrient at day 5.
The D80 & D254 combo is a great and popular combo. I did a controlled test a few years back and the differences were notable. One (can't remember which) had more of a nose expression than the other....but the other one (with less nose), had much brighter taste and fruit. Very interesting. We used these two once again this year on our Barbera.
 

jsbeckton

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Just sampled my post fermentation with the split batch of D80 and D254. These taste like two completely different wines! One is more fruity and full bodied while the other is less fruity and more tannic. I tasted them along with the blend and after that the blend is really nice and complex so see why this is a popular combo. I may have just moved on from my standard BM 4x4 to this new combo.
 

David Lewis

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Just sampled my post fermentation with the split batch of D80 and D254. These taste like two completely different wines! One is more fruity and full bodied while the other is less fruity and more tannic. I tasted them along with the blend and after that the blend is really nice and complex so see why this is a popular combo. I may have just moved on from my standard BM 4x4 to this new combo.
Funny that you mention this. I've been doing a D80 and D254 combo for a couple years now. This year I split my batches out to also include a batch with BM4x4. I just racked off the gross less today and combined my batches. Individually I though the BM4x4 was the best. But the D254/D80 combo was the winner. In the end I just threw them all together. :)
 

NorCal

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I got back on the post crush sorter. I have the elevations so they work with my set-up (see post 250) ; from macrobin in the back of my truck, do a cluster sort, into the crusher/destemmer and the remove all the green bits that find their way through. I’m trying to emulate this, picture of the sorting conveyor at a local small winery.
46DE5B1E-B912-4CFE-BC8A-62F734A76292.jpeg
My “conveyor” will be a vinyl table cloth (borrowed one for the test fit). The crushed grapes will be slid down hill into a bucket, that will then be tossed into the fermentation vessel. Adds time and labor, but another step to making better wine.
FF39C236-70A0-46AC-9AC0-EBD36DD9B2B4.jpeg
I made it so it all is bolted together, so it makes it easy to store.
33BC9F0D-8D15-4B86-9708-68D943D3C8C5.jpeg
 

Chris Johnson

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I spent some time at a friends winery as they were barreling down at the end of harvest. I was lamenting the fact that I blew through the acid this year. It was spectacular fruit, but the pH was in the 3.7-3.8 range. She showed me their stash and said that folks without optical sorters always need to add acid to account for the potassium released from the stems even if they fully de-stem. Can’t catch all the stems and we should adjust for it. It was one of her tips, she said get more aggressive as I increase the whole cluster.

A few years ago, a different wine maker had told me that his commercial destemmer left 10-15% stems and he adjusted acid by 0.15 pH units in his Pinot to compensate for it. I ended up adjusting Cab and PS to 3.55 this year and after MLF, we are sitting in the high 3.6’s. So far so good.
 

purpletongue

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I spent some time at a friends winery as they were barreling down at the end of harvest. I was lamenting the fact that I blew through the acid this year. It was spectacular fruit, but the pH was in the 3.7-3.8 range. She showed me their stash and said that folks without optical sorters always need to add acid to account for the potassium released from the stems even if they fully de-stem. Can’t catch all the stems and we should adjust for it. It was one of her tips, she said get more aggressive as I increase the whole cluster.

A few years ago, a different wine maker had told me that his commercial destemmer left 10-15% stems and he adjusted acid by 0.15 pH units in his Pinot to compensate for it. I ended up adjusting Cab and PS to 3.55 this year and after MLF, we are sitting in the high 3.6’s. So far so good.
Should you not just be testing the juice after de-stemming and then pressing? So you're left with the pure juice to test. At the end of harvest and pressing you're left with a juice you test for acidity and sugar. Then you correct. Am I missing something?
 

VinesnBines

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Reds are fermented on the skins and pressed after primary fermentation is complete. Your theory is correct for whites.
 

Chris Johnson

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Should you not just be testing the juice after de-stemming and then pressing? So you're left with the pure juice to test. At the end of harvest and pressing you're left with a juice you test for acidity and sugar. Then you correct. Am I missing something?
Applies mainly to reds. Destemmer doesn’t remove 100% of the stems. I usually de-stem, add 25 ppm of SO2 and walk away for 24 hours before I start looking at numbers. Acid additions are better integrated if made before fermentation. During the fermentation, residual stems and fragments will release potassium which will raise the pH of the solution. Many of us co-inoculate, so adjusting acid as part of the press cycle could interrupt MLF. So if you add more acid up front to account for the stems in the process, you’d be more likely to hit whatever pH you are targeting. Post-ferm acid additions should be rather minor.
 

purpletongue

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Applies mainly to reds. Destemmer doesn’t remove 100% of the stems. I usually de-stem, add 25 ppm of SO2 and walk away for 24 hours before I start looking at numbers. Acid additions are better integrated if made before fermentation. During the fermentation, residual stems and fragments will release potassium which will raise the pH of the solution. Many of us co-inoculate, so adjusting acid as part of the press cycle could interrupt MLF. So if you add more acid up front to account for the stems in the process, you’d be more likely to hit whatever pH you are targeting. Post-ferm acid additions should be rather minor.
Thank you for the explanation. I haven't pressed myself so this is way outside my experience. After making my post I was thinking that it was the must and the cap that changed it for reds. Thanks for sharing your knowledge. It seems as much as one may use science to create a consistent product, there is nonetheless a level of intuition and artistry that is intrinsic to this art.
 

NorCal

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Applies mainly to reds. Destemmer doesn’t remove 100% of the stems. I usually de-stem, add 25 ppm of SO2 and walk away for 24 hours before I start looking at numbers. Acid additions are better integrated if made before fermentation. During the fermentation, residual stems and fragments will release potassium which will raise the pH of the solution. Many of us co-inoculate, so adjusting acid as part of the press cycle could interrupt MLF. So if you add more acid up front to account for the stems in the process, you’d be more likely to hit whatever pH you are targeting. Post-ferm acid additions should be rather minor.
It will be interesting to test the theory(?) that potassium gets released by stems left in the must. I hope it correct, because we battle to retain acidity in the grapes that I get from this region, so every little bit helps.
 

Booty Juice

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I thought more stems = less acidity (higher Ph) was established – not theory. I say this not as an enologist but as someone with a bunch of old-ass relatives here and abroad who partial whole-cluster ferment going back generations. In the old country they typically start with low Ph grapes (3.2 ish) and make no adjustments. Up in El Do Co, they usually start with 3.7 ish PN’s or Syrah’s and knock the hell out of them down to 3.3 ish pre ferment, and sometimes lightly pop em again post ferment.
 

jgmillr1

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I thought more stems = less acidity (higher Ph) was established – not theory. I say this not as an enologist but as someone with a bunch of old-ass relatives here and abroad who partial whole-cluster ferment going back generations. In the old country they typically start with low Ph grapes (3.2 ish) and make no adjustments. Up in El Do Co, they usually start with 3.7 ish PN’s or Syrah’s and knock the hell out of them down to 3.3 ish pre ferment, and sometimes lightly pop em again post ferment.
We shouldn't confound potassium, TA, the varietal and growing region with the treatment of the grapes. On the west coast, the grapes are fought to retain acidity (TA) while east of the Rockies the grapes are fought to lower it, for example. Different varietals and growing conditions being the main differences of course.

If the stems contribute potassium then the pH will rise but not drastically resolve an unbalanced TA. The stems also impart an astringency to the wine from their tannins that is not so pleasant.

The solution is to ripen the right grapes in the right region. Fresno isn't known for its Pinot noir nor the Willamette for its Cab Sauv. Stems or no stems won't make up the difference.
 

purpletongue

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I thought more stems = less acidity (higher Ph) was established – not theory. I say this not as an enologist but as someone with a bunch of old-ass relatives here and abroad who partial whole-cluster ferment going back generations. In the old country they typically start with low Ph grapes (3.2 ish) and make no adjustments. Up in El Do Co, they usually start with 3.7 ish PN’s or Syrah’s and knock the hell out of them down to 3.3 ish pre ferment, and sometimes lightly pop em again post ferment.
Out of curiosity what is the chemical explanation as to why stems decrease acidity?
 

Snafflebit

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Potassium is in the grapes in combined forms like potassium sulfate and potassium phosphate. The potassium ions K+ become disassociated in the wine and reattach to tartaric acid to form potassium bitartrate, which is a stable salt. The potassium combines preferentially to tartaric acid and not the malic acid, this can also imbalance the acid ratios.
 

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