Ideal Zinfandel fermentation temperature

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distancerunner

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What is the ideal temperature for Zinfandel fermentation? Is this something we want to push into the low eighties (F)? Or is a long cool ferment in order?

First time working with Zin. Like to be prepared when the grapes arrive.

Thoughts on temperatures and anything else related to Zinfandel fermentation is greatly appreciated.
 

NorCal

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Ask ten winemakers.....

Since I've made a Zin before that picked up a lot of tannin, which I am not a fan of, I opt for a hot (mid 80's) and quick (5-6 day) ferment.

I don't know if it is really a thing, but I've had to work through a stuck fermentation on Zin. I've heard others say the same as well. It could be that there is sugar released from stubborn Zin berries after start of fermentation that results in higher actual brix than measured?
 

CDrew

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What is the ideal temperature for Zinfandel fermentation? Is this something we want to push into the low eighties (F)? Or is a long cool ferment in order?

First time working with Zin. Like to be prepared when the grapes arrive.

Thoughts on temperatures and anything else related to Zinfandel fermentation is greatly appreciated.

How long is a string? How many angels fit on the head of a pin? I would say the best answer is "it depends" or "not too hot, not too cold". But anywhere in the 70F-90F range is going to be fine. I don't control the temps in my garage, and just ride out what ever the weather gives, and it's usually in this range. If you are using the Avante yeast, it tolerates a lot of heat. Not all yeasts do, so factor that in. I also like my fermentations to be done quickly and kind of expect them to finish in 7 days as that's my usual press schedule.

One other thing-I have found for me, that Fermaid K gives a hotter fermentation than Fermaid O, so if you are worried about a spike in temperature, you might be able to influence that with your nutrient protocol.

This is my 6th year doing a Primitivo (Zinfandel's twin brother) and it's been pretty trouble free. I did water back a bit from a 27 Brix must last year, to make sure that I got a complete fermentation.

Good luck!
 

distancerunner

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Ask three beekeepers one question. Get nine answers.

We purchased some Petit Sirah and Mouvedre for blending with an eye toward color and structure. We are thinking of doing this as a field blend if these lugs arrive at the same time as the bins. I like tannins. But I don't think we'll want them real heavy in this blend.

I'm less worried about temperature spikes. The temperature in my cellar is such that without some supplementary heat a 44 gallon Brute full of must has a hard time making it to 72°F. The smaller containers generate less heat Without help must temps tend to the high sixties.

Avante is the yeast of choice this year for this wine. It might be a good idea to have some EC-118 on hand in case the fermentation gets stuck.
 
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NorCal

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Ask three beekeepers one question. Get nine answers.

We purchased some Petit Sirah and Mouvedre for blending with an eye toward color and structure. We are thinking of doing this a field blend if these lugs arrive at the same time as the bins. I like tannins. But I don't think we'll want them real heavy in this blend.

I'm less worried about temperature spikes. The temperature in my cellar is such that without some supplementary heat a 44 gallon Brute full of must has a hard time making it to 72°F. The smaller containers generate less heat Without help must temps tend to the high sixties.

Avante is the yeast of choice this year for this wine. It might be a good idea to have some EC-118 on hand in case the fermentation gets stuck.
Wow, I did a Petite Sirah / Mourvedre blend this year. Its not a match made in heaven, but I think they work together.
 

distancerunner

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How does it taste?

They’re all new to me. I don’t know how they work or what to expect. It’s part of the fun, to stretch and learn. But I don’t want a hundred gallons of plonk at the end.
 

NorCal

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How does it taste?

They’re all new to me. I don’t know how they work or what to expect. It’s part of the fun, to stretch and learn. But I don’t want a hundred gallons of plonk at the end.
My goal has always been to make the best barrel of wine I can make regardless of time and cost. You can follow what I went through in that post. My thought process in combining those two was to have a big bold red full of flavor, without the PS tannin that can reduce the wine to a food only drinker.

I was actually disappointed in the taste at 10 months in the barrel, but noticed it was changing each time I tasted it. I would get the big rich flavor, but the mid pallet seemed awkward and a not so great flavor on the finish. I decided to give it more time in the barrel to evolve and I’m happy I did. The taste profile continues to improve and while the jury is still out, I think it will become a very nice wine.
 
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Ask ten winemakers.....
That was my first thought!

What is the ideal temperature for Zinfandel fermentation?
If you want fruity, go with a lower temperature ferment. Aging with oak will balance the fruitiness as much as you want.

Bleeding over from kit discussions, the FWK recommended overnight yeast starter appears to produce a faster ferment as the inoculation is with a larger colony that is already vigorous. A triple (18 gallon) batch of FWK Forte Super Tuscan was at 67 F in my cellar, fermented from 1.100 to 1.000 in 5 days, and peaked at 77 F during that period. I had very similar results with a different batch.
 

Nebbiolo020

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I am a expert with Zinfandel, I make it yearly.

What I would suggest is using either scottlabs color pro or laffort he grand cru enzymes you will get a lot better color, fuller body and significantly smoother tannins, I also recommend cold soaking with the enzymes for 2-4 days with dry ice. I would suggest using RP-15 yeast it’s my referred yeast after trialing many different yeasts for Zinfandel, I would also suggest keeping up on nutrients Zinfandel will stick easily if you don’t maintain proper nutrient levels.

I would also say a warmer fermentation is better as far as extracting mire color, more flavor and more tannins.

If anything else comes up let me know I’m happy to help.
 
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Nebbiolo020

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A quick look at RP-15 on the 2022 Scott Handbook looks like it is headed away from a traditional rose profile. What have your results been?
When making Zinfandel with it I get huge bold wines, lots of bright fruit cherry, raspberry, strawberry, spicy, full bodied and very round wines, well integrated tannins. It makes a really big Zinfandel.
 

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If you have the time to hand destem them then ferment cool with RC212 yeast + nutrient. This should give you a smooth rich Zin. If the brix is too high and the acid to low blend in something with more acid eg Foch or Barbera or even French Colombard or Chenin Blanc.
 

Bmd2k1

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I find that makes the wine bland and actually isn’t a good practice in testing. Again that’s my recommendation that you avoid cool fermentations with Zinfandel.
Below what temp does "cool" start?

Cheers!
 

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