MLF options, oaking

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Nov 23, 2009
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I have fermented out a California CabSauv (OG1.090, current SG 0.993) transfering once @~1.010 off the gross lees. The pH is ~3.1, the TA is 6.6.

The wine is on fine lees right now, and I had originally planned on racking to a clean carboy with oak cubes and adding MLB, but reading that some yeast and sediment helps MLF, I added the MLB to the carboy with the fine lees.

So my question is, should I add oak cubes to the current carboy, or wait until MLF is finished and rack to another carboy with oak, or the third option, rack to a carboy during MLF and oak it there.

One other question, I have read that MLF can be finicky to get started, but there appears to be activity (more bubbles) even just a day after adding the culture (Wyeast MLB). The wine was quite still before addition of the MLB. I wonder if this is a good sign (and normal) or there is just more outgassing due to the physical act of adding of the culture.
Oak I would add after MLF is finished (Ilike 1-2 cups in mine)
MLF broduces "tiny" bubbles.
Do not add k-meta till AFTER MFL is finished
MLF needs a low Ph that works best. (you should be OK)
NEVER add sorbate to a wine that went thru MLF
The bubbles look small, but steady so far (~10 days after inoculation)

One question: how do you know when it is over (besides running some kind of analytical test). I assume if all goes well, the bubbling will taper off and it will visually "look" finished?
1st Sorbate is not needed when aging 12 months.


Sorbate reacts with the MLF bacteria and you will ruin the wine.
If a wine has gone through mlf to completion and there is verifiably no malic acid, the wine could be sweetened under certain conditions and sorbate added safely. You need a good strong dose of S02 to prevent any left over malolactic bacteria from beginning working in the wine. The sorbate will prevent renewed yeast activity. If there is no residual malic acid it shouldn't be a problem since it is the conversion of the malic acid by the bacteria in the presence of potassium sorbate that causes the geraniol to be formed. No malic acid = nor geraniol. So it can be done, but unless you are certain mlf is done and there is no mailc acid present, it is a crap shoot. Be safe.

Glad to hear your MLF is progressing well. Be sure to sure the lees up 1 or 2 times per week, nothing violent, just stir the lees back into suspension. Ph 3.1 is a bit to the low end for Mlf, but its working so thats good. I'd wait to oak it!
Give it plenty of time to mature.


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