Malolactic Fermentation of Chambourcin

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kartracer088

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Some Background: I started wine making in January this year with some WinExpert kits. They went well, then made a strawberry wine from strawberries this summer, again went well. Then I met a fellow down the road from me here in Ohio with a 4 year old vineyard, helped him pick grapes and he gave me 100lbs of Chambourcin grapes. That was a couple of weeks ago. By hand I destemmed and crushed the grapes and put them through primary fermentation. When we picked the grapes, the refractometer reported 22 brix, but after crushing and destemming, it measured more like 19.5 to 20, so I added sugar to bring it back up to 22.

Inoculated the grapes with RC212 yeast, the grapes have gone through primary fermentation. I pressed the fermented must after 6 days, transferring into glass carboys(got 8.5 gallons), SG was down to 0.996. TA measured .75% as best as I could tell. The color is very dark, so when dealing with dark red wines, I have been putting a bright LED light under the glass I am doing the titration, and I think I am seeing the indicator decently. If someone has a better method, I would like to know, but this seems to work for me.

I like tasting the wine through the whole process so I can see how it is changing. I like it so far, although I can taste the yeast and seems a little on the acidic side.

So I am thinking malolactic fermentation might be a good thing, which I have never done before. It's been about 18 days since the primary fermentation was started and the S.G. is 0.990

What strain of Malolatic bacteria should I try? Where do I get it?

I was also reading that SO2 levels can have a lot of effect, so I am considering getting an Aeration-Oxidation Free SO2 Test Kit from morewinemaking.com. I tried Titrets, but it is really hard to read with red wine and I am not sure how accurate it actually is.

Any other recommendations?
 

Boatboy24

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Have you added sulfite yet? What is your pH?

From what you've said, you shouldn't have any issues getting MLF going. MoreWine has a pretty good selection of bacteria. I've had good luck with VP41.
 

kartracer088

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I don't know the ph yet, just the TA. I bought a ph meter today, I will check it tomorrow. I only added sulfite at crushing, so I doubt if the is any left, although I was told the RC212 yeast could produce SO2.

I am going to rack it off the lees and then add the Malolactic bacteria culture. I picked up Wyeast 4007 malolactic liquid culture from St. Louis Beer and Wine supply today. Morewinemaking.com shows it VP41 being out of stock, I will look into your recommendation for next time.

Thanks for the feedback
 

Stressbaby

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I'm using CH16 on my Chambourcin right now. The pH is on the low end for CH16 but seems to be chugging right along.
 

kartracer088

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Finally got around to trying my new PH meter. How do these numbers look for starting malolactic fermenation?

measured PH = 3.65
measured SG - .990
measured TA = .81%
 

Johnd

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Finally got around to trying my new PH meter. How do these numbers look for starting malolactic fermenation?

measured PH = 3.65
measured SG - .990
measured TA = .81%
Looks fine, have you added any sulfite? And depending upon what temps you'll be maintaining, somewhere in the low 70's suits most MLB, what strain are you using.
 

kartracer088

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Wyeast 4007 malolactic liquid culture, don't know what it is exactly, but the wine supply store I use recommended it for the Chambourcin. It's a refrigerated liquid pack that does 5 or 6 gallons. Planning on starting it tonight.

Have not sulfated since before crushing and primary fermentation.
 

kartracer088

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I pitched the malolactic bacteria on the Chambourcin last night. I pulled the air locks off the 3 gallon and 6 gallon carboy and poured a package of the liquid bacteria into each carboy( each package is good for gallons). Then I put the air locks back on and rocked the carboys around to mix it up. noticed some degassing of the CO2 during the process.

Today I checked on it and there doesn't appear to be any activity. The instructions on the package don't say what to expect. Temperature is 70degF.

How long does it take before I would see some activity and what should it look like?

I uploaded pictures of the Wyeast package....

1022160955a.jpg

1022160956.jpg
 

geek

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I have used that bacteria; it will do its job, just a bit slower than VP41. It usually takes over 2 months, you won't see activity like bubbles.
I forgot the pH range but it is really picky on low pH and may not complete.
 

kartracer088

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Seems like I am turning into a chemist, one more thing to get for my wine lab:ib
 
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