Question about MLF

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Sep 5, 2007
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Hi there,
This year I want to try MLF but I have a question and no matter what I read I can't seem to get a clear answer.

It's clear that I should wait until primary fermentation is/close to complete before starting MLF. What's not clear is if I should press (this is for a Cab Sav) than start MLF or start MLF and press later? I was hoping to get some extended maceration with this batch.

Thanks in advance for any and all assistance,
Kdiddy, if you start MLF before primary fermentation is complete then it seems to me like you would press as normal; when the brix is 0 (or -1) or the specific gravity is 1.000. MLF takes several weeks to complete and you can't wait to press once you have reached 0 brix. There is a difference of opinion when it comes to starting MLF. Some say to start before primary ferm ends. The wine still has a good amount of nutrients to help MLF along. Others say to wait until the primary is finished. If you wait until the primary is finished, then you can start the MLF after the pressing.

i no it happens in a barrel on its own so that would be after pressing
ML Fermentation can start on its own if the wine is atthe correct temperature. The optimal temp for red wine MLF is 68-72 degrees. For white wine the optimal tem is 58 degrees. If the temp of the wine will be falling colder than the recommended range before the MLF has completed then it is better to start MLF when you have at least 2 weeks during which the temp will be in range then trying to start MLF (in red) at a 55-60 degree range. The 2 weks gives the MLF time to take hold.

I like to induce MLF, this way I don't have to worry about when it starts or if it has started before I bottle.

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