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zadvocate

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In the East coasters buying grapes from California try a native fermentation? I'm just wondering if there would be any issue given the distance and transportation. I would like to try it but I'm afraid being transported in a truck across the country will bring along some unwanted guests.
 

balatonwine

The Verecund Vigneron
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Contrary to popular belief spontaneous fermentation is often dominated (or rather what you want to dominate) by yeast inoculation from the winery, not necessarily from the vineyard.

So your "natural" fermentation may be actually driven mostly by what yeasts you used in past years that are still lurking around where you normally do your fermenting. So more a "feral" yeast than a "wild" yeast fermentation. Of course, buildup of such feral yeast takes time to inoculate early and sufficiently enough "naturally" to get a desired result. One reason older wineries can get away with spontaneous fermentation with fewer problems. In other cases, the "wild" lower alcohol tolerant yeast and bacteria may exert a larger effect until the higher alcohol tolerant wild and/or feral yeast strains take over, and that delay is not always a good thing. The devil is in the details. In that case, I would worry about the grapes entire exposure starting in the vineyards in CA than just what may have been picked up in route.

End result? I would say if you want to try a spontaneous fermentation do so. Experimenting is fun. But I would also suggest soon after pitching in some Saccharomyces cerevisiae.
 
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