The bottom line benefit of cold soaking?

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NorCal

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This will be my first year of having my must cold soaked for 3 days prior to inoculation. The planned benefits are color and flavor extraction, while getting little tannin extraction. This is consistent with the style of wine that I’m trying to achieve; fruit forward, depth of flavor, smooth finishing wine. I could also see where this would allow pressing at 3-5 brix, when the alcohol is the highest and tannin extraction would also be at the highest.

Cold soaking seems to be a standard process of many wineries, but it seems not too common amongst us home winemakers. Is it too hard to do vs the benefit situation? Has anyone made the same wine with and without cold soak and can speak to the difference?
 

David Violante

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The first thing that came to mind was @Ajmassa using dry ice to cold soak prior to fermentation. This is a great question~ it would be a pretty interesting experiment to do a cold soak, regular ferment, and extended maceration and see what the differences are.

 

Tim3

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I started cold soaking a few years ago and can say there is a world of difference. The cold soak allows for the water soluble blue pigments to be released and extends skin extraction without extending the alcohol based extraction of seed tannin. I’ve compared with both Cab and Merlot grapes. My result was a deep purple color (nearly opaque), vs primarily red hues that you could read a newspaper through, with increased tannin and mouthfeel but less bitter and longer chain tannin from earlier wines. It’s hard without a glycol chiller but worth the effort in my opinion. Dry ice is the popular method and probably easier, though I end up dropping a bunch of frozen gallon jugs of water to keep the temperature near 50 degrees, switching them out once they’re defrosted. 2 per 20 gallon brute does it for me. Immediately after crush it helps to freeze the must and as it thaws keep the frozen jugs of water in rotation.
 

balatonwine

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Is it too hard to do
For someone with a cold basement or cellar (not uncommon in many areas in many homes in colder climates), not so much. For someone in California, sans any basement or cellar, it is more problematic.

In fact, even getting fermentation started this late in the year can be difficult for me. Too cold in the cellar. Cold soaking is the "default", if I want it or not. :(
 

Jim Welch

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I started cold soaking a few years ago and can say there is a world of difference. The cold soak allows for the water soluble blue pigments to be released and extends skin extraction without extending the alcohol based extraction of seed tannin. I’ve compared with both Cab and Merlot grapes. My result was a deep purple color (nearly opaque), vs primarily red hues that you could read a newspaper through, with increased tannin and mouthfeel but less bitter and longer chain tannin from earlier wines. It’s hard without a glycol chiller but worth the effort in my opinion. Dry ice is the popular method and probably easier, though I end up dropping a bunch of frozen gallon jugs of water to keep the temperature near 50 degrees, switching them out once they’re defrosted. 2 per 20 gallon brute does it for me. Immediately after crush it helps to freeze the must and as it thaws keep the frozen jugs of water in rotation.
I'm wondering if cold soaking would have the same benefit with a kit wine that includes grape skins?
 

Tim3

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I'm wondering if cold soaking would have the same benefit with a kit wine that includes grape skins?
No there really isn’t any reason for a cold soak with a kit with skins. The color has already been fully extracted and you’re not going to be getting much additional tannin or extraction from the skins. Though you would still have the risk of spoilage if not done correctly.
 

Jim Welch

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No there really isn’t any reason for a cold soak with a kit with skins. The color has already been fully extracted and you’re not going to be getting much additional tannin or extraction from the skins. Though you would still have the risk of spoilage if not done correctly.
I was thinking that may be the case but wasn’t sure, thank you
 

Rocktop

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I was thinking about this , after re-reading the epic NorCal thread about closing the gap between home and commercial wines.
It was mentioned about using a deep freeze to cold soak grapes in their primary tubs. The problem is the in-efficient use of space when using round tubs in a square freezer.
My thought was, could you source large food grade heavy plastic to line the inside of a freezer and then use the whole freezer as cold soak tub and then eventual primary? Of course you would need a thermostat interrupt to turn the freezer into a fridge but they are easy to come by. Once cold soak is done , unplug and start to warm for primary ferment.
Could this work?
RT
 
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