PH after adding mlf

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drumlinridgewinery

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I am posting this for a friend from our local wine making club.
He added MLF to his Italian juice 4 months ago. 6 gallons each of Amarone, Nebbiolo, and Brunello. The PH then was about 3.3 on all 3 of them and has risen to 4-4.1 now on them all. The ph is higher than he wants to store these wines for aging. Did the MLF cause this? What is he to do?
 

Johnd

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I am posting this for a friend from our local wine making club.
He added MLF to his Italian juice 4 months ago. 6 gallons each of Amarone, Nebbiolo, and Brunello. The PH then was about 3.3 on all 3 of them and has risen to 4-4.1 now on them all. The ph is higher than he wants to store these wines for aging. Did the MLF cause this? What is he to do?
I've never seen one cause that much of a pH change in red wines, but that doesn't mean it's not possible. I'd wonder if there was either a problem with the meter or if there was still CO2 in the wines affecting the readings somewhere along the line.

At any rate, if he's confident in his current readings, he should use tartaric acid to bring his pH readings in line, and pleasing to taste.
 

drumlinridgewinery

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Thank you. This was my thinking also. Maybe needs a good stir to release some gas. and the use of tartaric acid to bring it back. thanks
 

Johnd

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Thank you. This was my thinking also. Maybe needs a good stir to release some gas. and the use of tartaric acid to bring it back. thanks
Take a small sample, 5 or 10 ml in a test tube and run some warm water over the tube to warm it to 80 or so, plug the end with your thumb and shake vigorously, and release the CO2. After a few repetitions of this process, you shouldn't get any more gas. Let it cool a bit and test it.

Make sure the meter is properly calibrated with fresh solution, don't want to make adjustments based upon bad data.......
 

sdelli

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This year was the first time I did a re-hydrate on my mlf... Going in they were all good. 3.65 to 3.70. The mlf was one of the best performers I have had. The results though is they came out at 3.9 to 4.02.... I added tartaric acid to all of them at about the rate of 20 grams per 5 gallons.... Doing much better but may need one more dose down the line. My thinking is the mlf did such a good job on the acid conversion it raised the ph a little more aggressive. Next time I will add more acid at the crush then usual to compensate.
 

Johny99

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So, thinking out loud, yes dangerous, mlf bugs convert Malic acid. So, if it converts it all, bug health isn't an issue, although I do rehydrate and use opti-Malo for mine. So, the amount of pH change should simply be a function of malic versus other acids. If you get the same grapes from the same vineyard next year, I guess the acid concentrations might be the same. If you source different grapes, the concentrations will likely be different so results would vary as well.

That said, I often see .2 pH increase from mlf, so your thought of lowering a 3.65-3.7 makes sense.
 

NCWC

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I question the original 3.30 ph. I don't see how the ph could go to 4.+
unless the TA was really high, but this was a kit I take it. Tartaric will fix it. Just bench trial.
 
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