unintended sweet wine

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NorCal

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The back story. I had a large pick up day of three bins of grapes last September; 1/2 ton of Petite Sirah, 1+ ton Mourvedre (40% for me, 60% making for someone else). The vineyard had 250-300 pounds of left over Cab Franc and they asked me if I wanted it. What was I going to say?

The three bins of grapes were crushed and fermenting in macrobin, the Cab Franc was fermented in the 55 gallon stainless steel Wineasy container. I was short yeast and nutrients, so I used the Avante pressings from another ferment to innocualate the Cab Franc that just completed and called it a day. The Cab Franc ferment was sluggish and I ended up having to press the Cab Franc before it was done, because I needed the Wineasy to press three bins of grapes that were done fementing.

My bet was the unfinished Cab Franc would go dry, post press, while it was going through MLF, as other wines I have pressed early have done. Well, it never did and I have 20 gallons of sweet Cab Franc. Not super sweet, but enough that it is not a wine that I would reach for. I do however have friends and family that I think it would be a barn favorite. The concern is bottle stability with the residual sugar. My thoughts are to take the wine out of the wine box and try to get the temperature into the 70's and see if this initiates any further fermentation. If not, bottle it and roll the dice that it will remain stable. Another option is to add this sweet Cab Franc to this year's bin of Cab Franc, while it is in the heat of active fermentation. I do have some other wine that I could blend with, to reduce the % of residual sugar, but don't want to create more wine I don't enjoy.

Pic from racking last night. Thoughts?
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F2955B73-2999-4EC0-9062-CB7B0FA3EB05 two.jpg
 

my wine

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I have never done fresh grapes or the volume you have but I have restarted kit wine that was too sweet and had already added k-sorbate. It went fairly well given the sorbate. It seems to me you could take a gallon or 2 and add some yeast and see what happens. If it goes well you have a bucket of yeast starter. If not you are maybe out a gallon of sweet wine.
 

ibglowin

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Can't add sorbate since it went through MLF so you have mentioned many of the ideas I have already listed below:

1) Dilute it down with another finished wine making a (lower SG wine) blend that is drinkable
2) Try and restart with with a workhorse yeast of sorts all by itself.
3) Dump in with a batch of something right in the middle of AF. (perhaps potentially making more unfinished wine)
4) Go the other way and try and make a port styled wine blend (perhaps using some Petite Syrah that you step feed until it maxes out.

What was/is the current SG or Brix?
 

NorCal

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Can't add sorbate since it went through MLF so you have mentioned many of the ideas I have already listed below:

1) Dilute it down with another finished wine making a (lower SG wine) blend that is drinkable
2) Try and restart with with a workhorse yeast of sorts all by itself.
3) Dump in with a batch of something right in the middle of AF. (perhaps potentially making more unfinished wine)
4) Go the other way and try and make a port styled wine blend (perhaps using some Petite Syrah that you step feed until it maxes out.

What was/is the current SG or Brix?

Its at ~.5 brix, 15% abv, so not interested in the effort to restart this wine. If I decided not to bottle it, I would go the course of feeding it into this year's Cab Franc ferment.
 
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I do however have friends and family that I think it would be a barn favorite.
I'd follow @Rice_Guy's general rule and bulk age until October, then bottle. The yeast should have starved to death by then.

You have an audience for this wine, so it makes sense to go with it. It will probably disappear faster than you expect.
 

NorCal

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I thought it would be good to update this thread.

This stuck ferment Cab Franc remained stable at .5 brix for 11 months. As a comparison, a white Zin is typically 1.5 brix. So, not real sweet, but not a wine I'd enjoy. However, friends and family liked it, so I decided to go ahead and bottle around 100 bottles.

Sure enough, within 4 weeks of bottling they all fermented dry in the bottle, resulting in a carbonated cab franc. While some might appreciate a sparkling cab franc, my guess is that I would have even fewer friends/family that would like this one. The cure....uncork a case at a time, empty into a carboy, degass and immediately re-bottle. The now dry wine is pretty good, so while this is a pain, it's worth the extra effort.

What did I learn? Do a better job at prevention and more patience before bottling.
4BF240D6-F809-4AC1-A41A-DA1230AA5C58.jpeg EE75DAF8-A69C-4BC2-94E4-D43DED1C0029.jpeg
 
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What did I learn? Perhaps more patience before bottling.
Don't feel too bad about this one -- after 11 months I'd expect the yeast would be dead. It must have had enough very low level activity to keep it alive. In your situation, I'd believe it was done, same as you.

IME, racking helps. Several folks (including @VinesnBines IIRC) have noted that racking a wine may "shake it up" and invoke activity.
 

VinesnBines

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Don't feel too bad about this one -- after 11 months I'd expect the yeast would be dead. It must have had enough very low level activity to keep it alive. In your situation, I'd believe it was done, same as you.

IME, racking helps. Several folks (including @VinesnBines IIRC) have noted that racking a wine may "shake it up" and invoke activity.
Yes, not just racking but shaking up by pouring pitcher full at a time in a carboy was just the kick start my super stuck Chardonnay needed. I swear the fermentation restarted before I finished cleaning up.
 

CDrew

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Great follow up. And an interesting problem. Don't you think that it warmed up and restarted? Though the racking may have contributed.

It might have made a decent Sangria but now you have a real wine. I'd declare victory and drink up!
 

jburtner

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I have a Mouvedre that's still ever so slightly sweet and has been in carboy for about a year - gone through a few rackings... Hesitant to bottle it so might just sit on it to see if it'll finish out on it's own...

-johann
 
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I have a Mouvedre that's still ever so slightly sweet and has been in carboy for about a year - gone through a few rackings... Hesitant to bottle it so might just sit on it to see if it'll finish out on it's own...

-johann
Bottle it and I'm sure it will finish! ;)

If you haven't racked in 3 months or more rack it again. That might kick it off, along with ensuring it's some place warm, > 70 F.

No one has mentioned sorbate -- if you dose with sorbate + K-meta it won't restart.
 

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