Making from Juice - do I still need to kill "native yeast"?

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Siwash

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Hey folks,

I am supposed to pick up some Italian juice this weekend; an Amarone and a Brunello. These are packed in pails from Italy. I once made wine from juice but it was many years ago... I don't recall how I treated it. I usually make from fresh grapes and do the Ko2 pitch to kill native yeast then I wait 24 hours to add my yeast of choice. Do I need to do this to a juice? Or can I just add my yeast when I bring it home? They've kept them refrigerated. These are juices from fall 2021.

Thanks.
 
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You can certainly add KMeta when you first get the juice buckets. Now whether that will actually kill the native yeast (or maybe the yeast added by the juice bucket manufacturer) is a different question. I have gone both ways with juice buckets, adding Kmeta, not adding. Or is it really four ways once you include adding my own yeast choice and not adding any extra yeast. All have fermented out just fine, but my wife and I decided we aren't able to produce wine we like from juice buckets, so we just don't buy them any longer. YMMV
 

Siwash

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I figure the Italian juice has to be better quality than the grapes we get here. The Cali grapes we get come from crappiest regions.
 

Ohio Bob

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I’m 99% a juice bucket guy and have never made an effort to kill the native yeasts. Wether it’s Chilean, CA, or Italian, I just hydrate my yeast and pitch it. Never had a problem with them taking off unless they were on the cold side and not up to room temperature.

I just assumed that Kmeta was added at crushing. The pails don’t say one way or another.
 

Siwash

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Do you ferment in the pail that the juice comes in or your own primary fermenter?

Do you oak during primary or after the first rack or two?
 

Ohio Bob

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Depends and depends.

If your juice bucket is capable of handling any foaming, or vigorous stirring, you can use it. I always go bigger on the primary. My whites are very tame so it’s not necessary.

Oak gives off its flavor based on time and surface area. Shavings give off flavor quickly, so could go in the primary. Cubes give off flavor slowly so better to use in the secondary. Assuming you want to extract as much flavor from the cubes as possible.
 

AaronSC

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Do you ferment in the pail that the juice comes in or your own primary fermenter?

Do you oak during primary or after the first rack or two?
There's no need to add oak unless you actually want the taste/smell. Most Italian wines these days are not "flavored" with oak, though ten years ago or so you would encounter this as part of the fad for the "International/Robert Parker" style.

It's up to you of course, but sometimes I get the feeling from questions on this board that people believe that you can't make wine without "oaking" it. I don't think oaking generally improves most wines (unless they were overly tannic or astringent), and it's ruined quite a few.
 

vacuumpumpman

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I am curious where are you picking up Italian juice up in March ?

Typically I get it September or October - considering that they are similar seasons as we have here in the United States.

I will be placing my order for the upcoming Chilean juices soon and they should be arriving the end of April

Yes I do add meta and wait 24 hours and pitch my own yeast to all the buckets I do
 

Siwash

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I am curious where are you picking up Italian juice up in March ?

Typically I get it September or October - considering that they are similar seasons as we have here in the United States.

I will be placing my order for the upcoming Chilean juices soon and they should be arriving the end of April

Yes I do add meta and wait 24 hours and pitch my own yeast to all the buckets I do

The vendor had a few leftover from the fall... I am in Toronto, Ca.
 

Siwash

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the SG reading was weird for both of my juices... If I am reading it correctly, the Amarone was 1.048 and the Brunello 1.042. The Amarone was fizzing a bit from a vent at the top of the pail. It was stored in "below freezing" temp according to the vendor. I felt that both had already fermented to some extent... They weren't as sweet as my must from grapes.

SHouldn't initial SG readings be around 1.070 to 1.100?

I am concerned. What should I do?
 

Siwash

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So will this result in a degraded product? Is there anything else I should do? I pitched the yeast and added WYeast nutrient.. I also bought an energizer. When could I add the energizer? I am thinking as fermentation starts to really get going? Thanks...
 
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Degraded, well maybe somewhat. My guess is it was left out of the cold storage for some period of time, then put back in. Since the ferment is over half complete, I would not add any further yeast nutrients.

Energizer is seldom needed in grape fermentation. Energizer is like candy for the yeast nutrients are like spinach for Popeye.
 
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I figure the Italian juice has to be better quality than the grapes we get here. The Cali grapes we get come from crappiest regions.
Unfortunately, low quality fruit is available universally. But -- since you were unhappy with the CA grapes you've got in the past, this was a worth while try. Don't count it out -- the wine may turn out fine.

Degraded, well maybe somewhat. My guess is it was left out of the cold storage for some period of time, then put back in. Since the ferment is over half complete, I would not add any further yeast nutrients.
I agree -- it appears storage conditions were not ideal.

@Siwash, the wine will either be fine or it won't, and the best choice is to act as if it's fine. The wine started fermenting early? It may make absolutely no difference -- it was going to ferment anyway, and it's likely that occurred under cold conditions (grapes warmed up enough to ferment). Just keep doing what you're doing.

I'd contact the vendor and complain that the grapes were half-fermented when they arrived. It may get you nothing, but it will warn the vendor they have a problem. What they do about it is beyond your control.

For future reference, I agree you should order non-frozen grape products when they are fresh.
 

Siwash

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So the musts have pretty much slowed right down.. I tasted and did a quick SG reading... i was a bit rushed with it and some foam around the reading made it a bit difficult to get a precise reading but it's pretty darn close to 1.000 or a bit less... maybe .999/8? The taste was a bit on the tart/sharp side especially with the Brunello, so PH is probably fine.. I haven't measured PH and I do have a good meter for that. Hope to do it tomorrow or Sunday. I also think i can rack by Sunday.

Should I add the oak cubes right after I rack it this weekend? What else could I add or modify over the next 48 hours?

Thanks..
 
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