Planning to do MLF on my current batch

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I have a new batch in the primary that I plan on doing my first malolactic fermentation on. But of course I have questions even after reading the other posts on MLF here!

This batch is a Blackberry Pinot Noir that I made by using Alexander's Pinot concentrate and added 20 pounds of blackberries. I made it a little more than 3 gallons as I have italian carboys and have learned that they are bigger than 3 gallons. The batch is a shade of 3.5 gallons, so I hope to have some top up bottles as well.

OK, so someone posted a great document from MoreWines called Malocatic Fermentation manual, and that is helpful. It talks about SO2 levels and how you have to keep it below a certain level to allow malolactic fermentation to occur. So it says not to add additional SO2 after fermentation is complete, until after MLF is complete. Is that what everyone does?

My question is this: I plan on racking from the primary as usual and letting fermentation complete to dry in the secondary. Should I wait until I rack again to start MLF or keep testing the SG until it's dry and then start the MLF before racking? I read that the malolactic bacteria use the lees as nutrients, so I'm not sure if it's better to just start it or wait until racking.
 
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AlFulchino

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many do this during secondary fermentation and this reduces the time that the wine will not be protected by co2 and also reduces exposure to O2

my recommendation is to follow this procedure...you dont have to...but reducing exposure to O2 is a big deal...and after secondary your CO2 will be well faded and u will need your sulfite bullet
 

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Al, that makes a lot of sense, thanks. Just one question though, once I get it started, is it ok to rack normally, even if it is still going, or should I wait until MLF is done?
 

AlFulchino

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i recommend waiting for it to be mostly done when you do it as a co-ferment.....or if you are doing it after the secondary ferment is done, and are in fear that its getting too much O2 exposure then i would get it under an airlock...lees are ok at this time...you have time to rack off after mlf
 
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