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is MLF necessary?

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Omerta

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Is it necessary to start an MLF? I have a Cab-Sauv just starting AF. I'd like it to be the best it can. Should I concern myself with this? What are the pros and cons?
 

wyntheef

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It is not 'neccessary'. Many wines have not been through mlf.

The general idea of mlf is to convert some acids into others and end up with a better end product, but is not required.
I intend to use it myself down the line but not until I have read up on it enough to know exactly what I'm getting into.
 

Omerta

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been doing a little research. seems a bit confusing. seems like there is a chance for things to go wrong.
There is info that this will start on its own from pressed grapes, I think. I'm using a juice bucket, whick, I believe has been pasteurized. Then there is info that it is necessary to add MLF bact.
Trying to weigh the risks and rewards.
 

wyntheef

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Same for me. I'm relatively new at this and learning the basics keeps me on my toes enough for now. :b
 

Omerta

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yeah me too.
I'm looking to make something a touch better than table wine. My family makes wine... get juice... put in carboy... wait... taste. The end result is enjoyable but, after learning more about the actual process of wine making it looks like with a little effort its possible to make a high quality product.
 

deboard

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I've been wondering about this as well. I've seen recipes that have you start the MLF in the primary, but I believe it matters about the wine yeast used, because some will tolerate concurrent MLF, and some will not.

I'm not familiar with juice buckets. Did this kit include yeast and MLF bacteria? If so, I would just follow the directions. If the yeast will not tolerate MLF, then it will probably tell you to add the MLF once the fermentation is done. But if the yeast will tolerate it, then it may say to add it at the beginning.

What it comes down to is whether you like wine that has been through MLF, cabernet sauvignon usually is done this way I believe, along with many other reds.

All that said, I'm pretty much where you are, I haven't actually done one yet. I'm sure you'll get plenty of help on here though.
 

surlees

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Omerta,
You didn't say whether you're doing a kit or juice, but never attempt MLF with a kit wine. Kit makers often add K-meta and/or K-sorbate to their concentrates to help protect against bacteria and early fermentation. SO2 will kill mlf bacteria and sorbate will cause what is described as a geranium odor that cannot be removed. Although MLF can be initiated by wild bacteria it generally requires inoculation by bacteria harvested especially for that purpose. Also, there are special requirements pertaining to pH, temperature, Mlf nutrients, and low oxygen. I won't go into detail here other than to reiterate don't try it unless you have raw juice or grapes without any additives.

The purpose of MLF is that it consumes malic acid (as opposed to tartaric, the most prevalent acid in grapes) and reduces tartness (think green apples) and gives the wine a less acidic taste.

Hope this helps,

Fred
 
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Omerta

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Thanks for the in put, all.
This is straight juice. But I do believe it is treated before it leave the vineyard like most bucketed juices.

I just picked up another bucket of Cab-Sauv. Gunna use a different yeast and possibly do a MLF with this bucket and compare the two.
 

deboard

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That's a good idea, you could even blend the two together in some bottles and see how that is. As far as yeast strains, this page has been useful to me, although it does not list every yeast out there:

http://winemaking.jackkeller.net/strains.asp

It will usually mention if it will not tolerate MLF.
 

skhnmh

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You'll find that MLF is advantageous on nearly every red wine and Chardonnay (if you like the "buttery" mouth feel in Chardonnay) as opposed to crispy citric taste for Chard. The "greenness" in reds is oftentimes considered a fault, and mlf will oftentimes make a big difference.

Cheers!
 
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Omerta

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I'm using RC212 in one and Pasteur Red in the other. The RC212 batch has been Kmeta'd too much for malo. The Pasteur Red won't be sulfited till the very end.
I picked up White Lab Malolactic Bacteria to try after the Pasteur Red. No extra SO2 added to this batch.
 

Wade E

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Since this is a juice it would be beneficial to you to do it. it will smooth out a harsh wine and a Cab?Sauv can surely benefit big time from it. It is not complicated at all. When its done fermenting you just add the bacteria to it and let it go for awhile. You do not add sulfite nor sorbate at all until it has finished and it could take up to 2 months but the end result will be big! An addition of Tannin like Grand Cru or Tan Cor can really make this wine totally awesome! You can test if you want to see if its done with a simple test kit when you dont see anymore action. It wont be vigorous like a regular fermentation but you usually can see a MLF in progress.
http://www.finevinewines.com/ProdDetA.asp?PartNumber=WLP790
 

Omerta

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Wade... yup thats the stuff. Got it chillin in the fridge as we speak. Gunna pick up a few tests... ph, malo, so2, acid... if not for anything else but to learn as much as possible about the processes of wine making. Gunna research the tannin additive idea as well. Thanks for the input
 

Wade E

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George sells the Tannin also and I highlt recommend it. It will make a decent wine great and a great wine awesome!
 

Rock

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I ml all my reds.What a big difference.It converts malic acid to lactic acid.Gives wine a better mouth feel.You should test the wines after 4-6 up to 8 weeks to see if all the malic acid has been converted.Paper Chromography test kit will give you these results.
 

Manimal

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That's a good idea, you could even blend the two together in some bottles and see how that is.
This is a bit risky... even if you practice careful SO2 management to keep MLF at bay, it won't kill the bacteria, only inhibit their activity. As Free SO2 levels decrease in storage, they may drop to a level which allows MLF to occur in bottle. Some commercial wineries blend MLF wines with non-MLF wines, but they have the advantage of using truly sterile closed-system membrane filtration in the bottling line, which will remove all ML bacteria. This is virtually impossible to achieve in home winemaking, so a good general rule is that if a wine has been put through MLF, don't blend it with one that hasn't. If you're really careful with sanitation, filtration, SO2 and you let the blended wine bulk age for awhile prior to bottling, you'll probably be alright, but I wouldn't recommend it.
 

Wade E

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Good catch manimal, I didnt even see that in a post. Not a good idea at all unless you like red and purple floors and ceilings!!!!!!!:se
 

deboard

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This is a bit risky... even if you practice careful SO2 management to keep MLF at bay, it won't kill the bacteria, only inhibit their activity. As Free SO2 levels decrease in storage, they may drop to a level which allows MLF to occur in bottle. Some commercial wineries blend MLF wines with non-MLF wines, but they have the advantage of using truly sterile closed-system membrane filtration in the bottling line, which will remove all ML bacteria. This is virtually impossible to achieve in home winemaking, so a good general rule is that if a wine has been put through MLF, don't blend it with one that hasn't. If you're really careful with sanitation, filtration, SO2 and you let the blended wine bulk age for awhile prior to bottling, you'll probably be alright, but I wouldn't recommend it.

That's why you guys are the experts! I thought blending was just a good way to add complexity. I never considered the implications with regards to MLF. Sorry
 

deboard

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I am interested in Wade's post about tannin. You mention a couple of specific tannins. Are there a lot of differences in quality of tannins? I just buy the "Wine Tannin" containers. Are some always meant to be added after fermentation?
 
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