Press, MLF and Sulfite

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Junior
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I currently have petite Sirah wine grape fermenting and it’s almost done fermenting. Per my research, if I want to do MLF, I shouldn’t add any sulfite in my wine. However, with pressing, I’m concerned with infection and oxidation. Of course, I’ll sanitize my wine press but I’m still a bit concerned. At what brix or SG do you press the wine and do you add sulfite if you’re going to do MLF? Thanks!
 

Rice_Guy

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Starting with juice you have lots of dissolved oxygen BUT no alcohol, therefore oxidation isn’t a major issue,,, and metabisulphite wouldn’t matter
In the fermentor you are producing CO2 so you are a reductive environment and metabisulphite doesn’t have to be there.
When you do your first racking you would inhibit malolactic bacteria so at this stage don’t add metabisulphite.

The meta in the primary is used for the purpose of selecting your desired yeast strain and removing wild yeast. I would add it to the juice
 

tradowsk

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Remember, there is a lot of trapped CO2 in the wine from fermentation, so oxidation isn't as big of a concern as a few months down the road when the CO2 is gone and you need to add sulfites to keep the oxygen out.

As for infection, the higher the alcohol, the more protected the wine is. On my pinot noir, I won't be pressing until after it goes completely dry and sits on the skins a bit more to pull out flavor/tannin. So I would say give it some time, let it go dry, then press with some very clean and sanitized equipment. Any splashing of the wine would release a bunch of CO2 that will protect from oxidation, so as long as your gentle with everything, I think you will be fine.
 
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