WineXpert Malolactic fermentation kit Chardonnay

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Nov 30, 2022
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Ok I know this has been discussed before,but I am having a hard time understanding why you should not perform malolactic fermentation with kit wines.

As far as I have understood the main reasons seem to be that:
- Malolactic bacteria consumes malic acid and converts it into lactic acid changing the TA
- Malolactic fermentation will increase the pH
- You cannot use sorbate after malolactic fermentation
- Become tartrate imbalanced

Are there any further reasons?

My questions is,would it be sensible to attempt a malolactic fermentation with a chardonnay kit if you have the ability to measure pH and TA? You could add some malic acid in the must before fermentation as to start with a higher TA and lower pH so that after malo you would end up in the correct range. Then you could cold stabilize the wine to drop tartate cristals if present.

Am I missing something? Has someone attempted it?

The reason I want to do it is because I love a buttery Chardonnay.
Here is a big long thread about attempting to do malolactic fermentation in a kit wine - Malo in kits

I will summarize it for you:

Tim Vandergrift (Technical Services Manager for Winexpert at the time), says:
you can’t do malolactic on the kits. It will end in tears if you try.

Wine kits are claimed to be balanced with mostly Malic Acid, the kind of man-made Malic Acid that Malolactic Bacteria cannot convert into Lactic Acid. So at least some portion of the acid won't be converted. In addition, that which gets converted will end up with a wine that is horribly under acid.

All that being said, go ahead, give it a try. We might all be wrong. I have seen some threads where folks on this forum have tried with FWK kits, balanced in a different way, the concensus was they would not do it again. Kits aren't grapes, even though they did come from grapes, they aren't the same beast.

One thing you could certainly try to achieve some level of that butter flavor is sur-lei aging (and assume I have spelled it incorrectly). You leave it on the lees longer, stirring them up into the wine weekly or twice weekly. It might impart some of that flavor you are looking for.
Craig, you were close! ;)

@Xlev, search on "sur lie" and "battonage" (which is correctly spelled "bâtonnage", although I can't remember how to type "â"), both on this forum and on the net in general.
Yes I am planning of doing that,but will not be getting much diacetyl from that I immagine😊