Opinions of Chromatography results

Discussion in 'Wine Making from Grapes' started by Ct Winemaker, Dec 1, 2019.

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  1. Dec 1, 2019 #1

    Ct Winemaker

    Ct Winemaker

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    Hello Folks,

    Looking for opinions / help reading this Malo (Chromatography) result. Wine 1,2 and 5 are look done, questions are;

    1) Wine 3 (Chardonnay) - looks "partially" done, but is it actually going through Malo at all?

    2) Does the presence of some indication at the Lactic level indicate that Malo is started or is there always some indication at Lactic level due to presence of Lactic acid before introduction of Malo yeast?

    3) Same as above, would you expect "no" indication of Lactic if Malolactic fermentation had not started?

    We're just not sure if the Chardonnay is actually in Malo or not. We typically
    see some very tiny but consistent bubbling in our reds during Malo, but see no perceptible activity at all in the Chardonnay. FYI - the Malo was conducted post primary fermentation (wine was dry at start of Malo), malo yeast was VP41 (with appropriate nutrients). Batch size is 30 gallons.

    We did conduct a more recent test (11-29-19) with a very similar indication, maybe slightly less Malic in the Chardonnay, but very hard to see any difference (also only 2 weeks between them - see pics and dates on pics. (wine 3 is our focus right now)

    Opinions?

    Thank you very much.



    Malo Chroma test 11-14-19.jpg Malo Choma test 11-29-19.jpg
     
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  2. Dec 1, 2019 #2

    stickman

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    I believe all of my chromatograms have shown a small lactic spot even when conducted early in the process. By the time primary fermentation is finished you would expect the chromatogram to show a faint lactic acid spot. If the pH on the Chardonnay is low it may take longer than expected.
     
  3. Dec 1, 2019 #3

    Ct Winemaker

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    Thanks stickman. Based on these results, do you think, can you tell by this, that the Chardonnay (3) is actually going through Malolactic fermentation? Slow, OK, but looking for confidence that it’s started??
     
  4. Dec 10, 2019 #4

    Mario Dinis

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    I'm in the same situation and was advised to wait another month and recheck. Doing reds with CH-16.
     
  5. Dec 10, 2019 #5

    stickman

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    Was the bacteria purchased online or locally? Package date? Was it shipped in the summer heat etc.? Maintained frozen until use? Is the wine from grapes, or buckets of juice?
     
  6. Dec 10, 2019 #6

    Ct Winemaker

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    Hello Stickman,

    The VP41 was purchased locally (Musto Wine Grape Co - major grape and juice supplier in Hartford, CT). Half was used on a batch of Zinfandel and Petit Verdoh which worked well and showed clearly visible tiny bubbles until done (wines 1 & 2 on the Chromo test). The remainder was sealed and put in our freezer for about 1 week prior to introduction into the Chardonnay of concern (used Acti malo and Opti Malo per instructions). Chardonnay was from Juice with a measured SO2 = 30 ppm (or less) prior to initial fermentation, which could be a concern. We have conducted Malo many times before with good success (could always see activity and then test with test strips to confirm complete). The Chardonnay is the first white we've tried, it may be fine, but since we can't see any activity, and it's taking much more time than the Zin, we aren't confident that it's under way. Primary question is; since we see some Lactic acid on the Chromo, does that indicate that Malo is underway? Others have noted that Lactic may show up prior to Malo lactic ferment, so we're still not confident. This is also our first time using the Chromatography test.

    Thanks for taking a look and any thoughts you can offer.
     
  7. Dec 10, 2019 #7

    Ct Winemaker

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    Sorry Mario and Stickman, looks like you may have been asking Mario about the bacteria source
     
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  8. Dec 10, 2019 #8

    cmason1957

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    Here's my thoughts, did it start?? I believe that it never did start. Not really sure why. I wonder if you were to stir your reds really well (since they are working) and add about 100-200 ML of them to your Chardonnay? It's a guess at best or get some new and different bacteria and try that. I have been using Enoform Alpha and Beta successfully the past few years. You don't mention the PH of you Chardonnay, I assume it is above 3.2. And maybe, just maybe the wine gods really didn't want you to use part of the package and store the rest for later.
     
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  9. Dec 11, 2019 #9

    Mario Dinis

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    That's ok. I bought mine from MoreWine. I mean the CH16. The Weast 4007 got in a supply store while visiting family in Maryland. MoreWine is a great supply store online.
     
  10. Dec 11, 2019 #10

    Mario Dinis

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    Morewinemaking.com
     
  11. Dec 11, 2019 #11

    Ct Winemaker

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    Cmason1957, thanks for the thoughts. Not what I hoped is going on, but it is what it is. PH is 3.36. Reds are well done and sulphated, so can’t try inoculation with that, too late.

    I guess we’ll let it sit for another couple of weeks and then test again. If I don’t see any change, I’ll either re-introduce malo bacteria, or decide to make non mallowed Chardonnay!
     
  12. Dec 11, 2019 #12

    cmason1957

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    If you do decide that you are not finishing Malolactic Fermentation, you probably will want to add lysazome to ensure that it doesn't kick off sometime later, like in the bottle. SO2 levels will drop as the wine ages.
     
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  13. Dec 11, 2019 #13

    Ct Winemaker

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    Good point! Thank you.
     
  14. Dec 11, 2019 #14

    wxtrendsguy

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    If you want to be sure send a sample to a lab and get a measurement of the Malic acid...do it again in a month and see if it changes. In the mean time keep it warm, near 70F, and give the lees a stir once a week. Looking at your image I'd say MLF has begun and is just progressing slowly. I do not believe Lactic acid naturally occurs in grapes, however spontaneous MLF can begin especially in barrels and of course after you bottle a wine where MLF did not complete or no lysozyme addition.
     
  15. Dec 11, 2019 #15

    Ct Winemaker

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    Thank you wxtrendsguy. Now that the second chroma test is fully “dry” it does look to us like there may have been a little progress between the two tests. Based on that and your excellent and sincerely appreciated advise, we will let it “continue” for a while (month or so), and then retest.

    If anyone else has any thoughts on this, please go ahead and let us know what you think!
     
  16. Dec 12, 2019 #16

    wxtrendsguy

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    Another thought is to add some oak chips or cubes. Lactic bacteria really love wood and will make a happy home there. I frequently barrel a wine in 1 yr or older barrels after pressing and MLF takes off without doing anything. I clean and steam the barrels and sure enough put wine in there and boom MLF still takes off...
     
  17. Dec 12, 2019 #17

    jgmann67

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    You might also add some yeast hulls too, bring the temp up in your wine and stir the sediment back up into the wine every day or so.

    I had this problem with two reds in 2017... four tries and I couldn’t get an MLF so I finally called it “done.” Hoping you have better luck.
     
  18. Dec 14, 2019 #18

    Ct Winemaker

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    Checked the actual wine temperature with a recording data logger. Turns out that even though it’s in our normal heated “living space”, the actual temp was only about 63 deg f. We moved it to a location where we can control heat (heater and temp controller), so it’s now sitting at 72 deg f. Hoping to see some malo activity soon!
     

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