Topping up MLF wine with non MLF from same pressing?

Discussion in 'General Wine Making Forum' started by chicken, Jan 7, 2020.

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  1. Jan 7, 2020 #1

    chicken

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    Until recently we have been pretty laissez-faire/flying by the seat of our pants as far as the winemaking process. (No testing or adjusting of sugar or acid, inconsistent racking and sulfiting, no MLF, no fining agents, forgetting to top up, etc.).

    Our wine is good, but I think could be better, so over the past several years I've tried to improve our methods.

    This year I thought we should try a malolactic fermentation, but my husband and the other family we make wine with were skeptical. As far as they were concerned, our wine is fine. But they did agree to let me put part of this year's batch through MLF.

    I have one 5 gallon carboy of Cabernet Franc that has completed MLF and I am ready to rack and sulfite. Can I use some of the non MLF wine from the same pressing to top up my MLF carboy after racking and sulfiting? Should I add lysozyme just to be safe?
     
  2. Jan 7, 2020 #2

    Johnd

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    If MLF is complete and your wine is sulfited above the threshhold limit of your MLB, and you keep it that way, the risk is minimal. As sulfite levels wane in the bottle, it's not impossible for MLF to kick back off if there is still malic acid present from the non MLF wine. To further eliminate the risk, just top up with a wine that has gone through MLF, if you don't have one, just use a commercial wine of like kind and you'll be just fine. If you don't want to use a commercial wine, you could use lysozyme if that is preferable.
     
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  3. Jan 7, 2020 #3

    chicken

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    Thanks. I'd like to use wine from the same pressing, since that's what's at hand (I have an extra 750ml bottle of non MLF left over after a recent racking). Just wasn't sure how much I should worry about MLF restarting later.
     
  4. Jan 7, 2020 #4

    chicken

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    I was too lazy to go out and get a bottle of cab franc, so I went ahead and topped up with non-MLF, and used lysozyme for peace of mind

    I am happy to report that the wine that went through MLF is decidedly less sharp, and seems to have a fuller taste and mouthfeel. Perhaps this will convince the skeptics. :)
     
  5. Jan 7, 2020 #5

    CDrew

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    All the more reason to add the MLB during primary fermentation. Then all the wine will have MLF completed and you won't need to worry about it.
     
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  6. Jan 8, 2020 #6

    Ajmassa

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    Not to encourage reckless practices, but i have done this without any issue at all. Non MLF’d wine to top a MLFd carboy. And vice verse. Both with & without sulphites.
    I had a batch of wine I split ML on. Then got curious if one would kickstart the other. It didn’t. And I ended up blending them together later. The finished wine chroma test reads as a non mlf’d wine.
    It was a fun experimental type batch. 1/2 will be blended with other MLF’d wines and bottled. *Note- Im not suggesting to do this. And I’ll be sure to report any unfortunate results :)
     
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  7. Jan 8, 2020 #7

    chicken

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    Not really an option this time, since the point was to put only part of the batch through MLF. MLB was added after pressing, to only one carboy. If I was putting the entire batch through MLF, I would consider co-inoculating.
     
  8. Jan 8, 2020 #8

    crabjoe

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    I asked the opposite of this question... at least real similar, not long ago... Can you use a commercial wine that went through MLF to top off, if the wine one is making hasn't gone through MLF and was sorbated.

    The answer I got was that it was ok as long as both wines were finished wines. This I took as had completely fermented, cleared and was bottle ready or bottled.

    My concern here is that it seems people on this thread are having second thoughts about combining MLF/non-MLF wines. I don't know if it's because a wine might not be finished or not, but it's a bit of a concern for me now. Is it ok to mix MLF/NON-MLF wines or is one doomed by MLF possible restarting or sorbate getting used by MLF bacteria making the wine taste bad?
     
  9. Jan 8, 2020 #9

    mainshipfred

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    First I would think the commercial wine you used to top off is so heavily sulfited there is little chance any MLB survived. But no matter which way it's done I would highly recommend using Lysozyme.
     
  10. Jan 8, 2020 #10

    Ajmassa

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    talking about mlf and non-mlf is one thing. But adding sorbate to the discussion changes things. As far as I know- we avoid mlf’d wines and sorbate altogether. And that goes for barrels as well. The combo can jack up a wine proper apparently- producing geranium-like smell/taste.

    Outside of sorbate , yeah the concern is mlf kicking off down the road unintentionally-
    Changing the profile of the wine, possibly in a corked bottle, and opening yourself up to avoidable risks.
     
  11. Jan 9, 2020 #11

    cmason1957

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    If there is no, absolutely no, malic acid present, then adding potassium sorbate to a wine with malolactic bacteria will not cause the geranium taint. The problem occurs when there is any malic acid and the bacteria converts in the presence of sorbate. All those weasel words having been said, if you aren't backsweeting the wine (and why you would a wonderful dry red wine) then there is no really good reason to add sorbate.
     
  12. Jan 9, 2020 #12

    crabjoe

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    That's true, but dang wine kit came with sorbate. Even if you weren't planning on backsweetening.... you might end up adding it just because it was in the kit.
     
  13. Jan 9, 2020 #13

    jgmann67

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    I may have been one of the people that said yes, that’s fine, and I stand by that answer. There’s no danger in your commercial wine starting an MLF again. So I can’t see how adding it to a finished kit wine that has sorbate in it would cause the dreaded geranium effect.

    But that is a narrow question - involving a carboy, and two finished wines. Change those parameters and the answer could also change.
     
  14. Jan 9, 2020 #14

    Johnd

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    Don’t mix the issues, they are not the same questions. Using store bought wines to to top off wine kits is perfectly acceptable. Using brand new made, once sulfited wine (at some unknown level), full of malic acid, to top off once sulfited wine full of fresh MLB just isn’t the same question.
     
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