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White Wine Troubles?

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ianjamespiano

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Hi everyone! Every time I try to make White Wines from juice links Pino Grigio I get the burnt rubbery smell and off flavors. I make a bunch of other fruit wines and red wines from juices and they always seem fine.
I ferment the white wine juices at lower temperatures and have tried Copper Sulfate at proper dosage but doesn’t seem to help that much?
What am I missing on the white wines?
Thanks a ton for any help!!
 

pgentile

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The copper doesn't diminish the burnt rubber/sulfur smell and taste?

My guess would be there is a yeast nutrient deficiency leading to the off smells and flavors. What yeast did you use? Nutrients?
 

Johny99

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Not sure all what you are doing, but start by controlling your H2S. How cold are you fermenting and how long is it taking? My whites go 5-7 days, peak temps in the 70s F. I’ve heard of folks, particularly in Michigan fermenting colder and for months, but I’ve not tried to temperature control that much. Too long can lead to reductive things going on and sulphides. Too hot and fast can do the same. You need some oxygen for the yeast to ferment cleanly. I ferment whites with an air lock but plenty of headspace.

H2S can be produced by yeast or less desirable bugs working on the gross lees. Monitor it with your nose and at first sign of Sulphides, rack and get some air into it. Easier to get rid of it as H2S than later as mercaptans. I don’t think a bit of oxygen during fermentation is bad at all. Not sure when you are first racking, but I suggest before or right at completion. Get it off the gross lees and into a clean topped up container. Kmeta at that point.

Keep trying, IMHO whites are a greater challenge. You are looking for more delicate aromas and flavors. You can hide a fair amount of bad stuff in a heavy red.
 

ianjamespiano

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The copper doesn't diminish the burnt rubber/sulfur smell and taste?

My guess would be there is a yeast nutrient deficiency leading to the off smells and flavors. What yeast did you use? Nutrients?
Hi! Thanks for the response!
Red Star Pasteur Blanc and I did use the amount of Yeast nutrient instructed on packaging.

Also, do u recommend how long bulk aging white wine in stainless steel tank with floating lid before bottling? I wonder if that has anything to do with it?

All the other kinds of wines I try to make don’t seem to have this problem except for the white wines?

Thanks and cheers!
 

ianjamespiano

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Not sure all what you are doing, but start by controlling your H2S. How cold are you fermenting and how long is it taking? My whites go 5-7 days, peak temps in the 70s F. I’ve heard of folks, particularly in Michigan fermenting colder and for months, but I’ve not tried to temperature control that much. Too long can lead to reductive things going on and sulphides. Too hot and fast can do the same. You need some oxygen for the yeast to ferment cleanly. I ferment whites with an air lock but plenty of headspace.

H2S can be produced by yeast or less desirable bugs working on the gross lees. Monitor it with your nose and at first sign of Sulphides, rack and get some air into it. Easier to get rid of it as H2S than later as mercaptans. I don’t think a bit of oxygen during fermentation is bad at all. Not sure when you are first racking, but I suggest before or right at completion. Get it off the gross lees and into a clean topped up container. Kmeta at that point.

Keep trying, IMHO whites are a greater challenge. You are looking for more delicate aromas and flavors. You can hide a fair amount of bad stuff in a heavy red.
Hi! Appreciate the reply!
I’m glad you said whites are a greater challenge. Others have told me whites are easy but not in my case!
Could you please tell me your racking schedule and bulk aging before bottling? And how long you bottle age? It should taste pretty much how you want it before bottling correct? It’s not gonna fix itself once bottling correct?
I’m using stainless steel tanks with floating lids.
Again thanks for your time!!
 

salcoco

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describe the steps you follow for your white wine fermentation starting with when you receive the grapes or juice. also a what temperature are you fermenting?
 

ianjamespiano

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Hi!
After receiving the juice:
- rack the juice into 60 Gallon fermenting tub with lid.
- I treat with a dose of Kmeta then let sit 24-48hrs.
- I add yeast nutrient then an hour later add the yeast
- within 24 hrs see a nice ferment starting to happen (around 60-65 degrees room temp)
- stir twice daily to get oxygen into the yeast
-After about 5-7 days rack into secondary stainless steel tank with floating lid.
- at this point I don’t detect any odd smells. (But I may be untrained and don’t notice at that point?)
- leave in secondary another week to 2 weeks until completely fermented on hydrometer.
- rack of lees into stainless steel tank and add Kmeta.
- after a bit maybe a few weeks only in this tank I notice the rubbery off smell.
- wine taste is astringent as well although I realize it’s young at this point.
- not sure how long is best for whites to age in bulk stainless steel at this point?
Thanks for any help!
 

BigH

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After receiving the juice:
- rack the juice into 60 Gallon fermenting tub with lid.
- I treat with a dose of Kmeta then let sit 24-48hrs.
Where are you sourcing your juice from? Any chance that they have already made a sulfite addition? Maybe your addition is taking the SO2 levels too high for the yeast.

- leave in secondary another week to 2 weeks until completely fermented on hydrometer.
- rack of lees into stainless steel tank and add Kmeta.
- after a bit maybe a few weeks only in this tank I notice the rubbery off smell.
What was the reading on the hydrometer at this point? Are you measuring your SO2 levels? I don't have a great answer for you, but my recommendation is to invest in sulfite measuring equipment so you know exactly what you are dealing with when you make your additions, especially this last one.

I am a fan of reduless for removing H2S. However, if the copper sulfate didn't work, I am not sure reduless would.

H
 

ianjamespiano

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Where are you sourcing your juice from? Any chance that they have already made a sulfite addition? Maybe your addition is taking the SO2 levels too high for the yeast.



What was the reading on the hydrometer at this point? Are you measuring your SO2 levels? I don't have a great answer for you, but my recommendation is to invest in sulfite measuring equipment so you know exactly what you are dealing with when you make your additions, especially this last one.

I am a fan of reduless for removing H2S. However, if the copper sulfate didn't work, I am not sure reduless would.

H
Thanks for the reply! That could be it. Maybe With the white wines opposed to everything else I can’t just add Kmeta at each racking.
Hmmmmm? The whites just seem so fussy! Thanks!
 

BigH

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Thanks for the reply! That could be it. Maybe With the white wines opposed to everything else I can’t just add Kmeta at each racking.
You might want to read this old thread . Burnt rubber smell usually indicates an H2S problem that was left untreated, which turned into a mercaptan problem.. Although in your case, the cycle seemed to move pretty quick.

Excessive SO2 could stress the yeast, which might cause H2S problems. That was the line of reasoning I was thinking about in my post. But there are lots of things that can cause H2S problems.

Good luck
H
 

Johny99

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Could you please tell me your racking schedule and bulk aging before bottling? And how long you bottle age? It should taste pretty much how you want it before bottling correct? It’s not gonna fix itself once bottling correct?
I’m using stainless steel tanks with floating lids.
Again thanks for your time!!
OK, this is going to be long.........warning

I start with my own grapes. I crush and press, with variations, to get to juice. I don’t put in any Kmeta as I make sure my grapes are clean and cold as the morning is. I ferment in barrels or ss beerkegs, 15gal. I leave a good bit of headspace but put on an airlock to keep stuff like fruit flies out. Typically I don’t do a nutrient addition. Again my grapes and that seems to work with them. Your juice might need it. I don’t stir or disturb, even check sugar, till the bubbles slow down. That is usually at 4-5 days. I a/c my shop to ~70. I rack to fresh kegs and leave the gross lees behind airlock and let it finish, 10-14 days.

At this point the regime depends on the grape and what I want. Chard, Pinot Blanc, and Viognier may get malo. If not, I dose with meta for the pH. For Sauv Blanc, Riesling and a blend I do, I test and adjust Kmeta at anywhere from 3 to 9 months, filter, rest and bottle. Those are fresher wines, my goal, and are drinkable in another 6 months, but so far have aged well for a couple of years. The others may go a year before bottleing depending on malo, oak, and blending.

So in addition to the initial meta addition @BigH mentioned, the only other significant difference I see is headspace. I admit I only acquired a VCT this year and it is full of Cab. Do you leave headspace between the lid and the wine as it ferments? If not, where does the foam go? If I don’t leave about 20% of the keg empty, it foams out the airlock. You stir, and I don’t and maybe that is doing the same. I can’t help but think your yeast is getting stressed.

Only other thing I can think of is yeast selection. I used to use QA23 and only had an issue a couple of times, but I switched to an organic, no H2S yeast last year, Ossia, last year, like it so I’m going to do the same this.

As for bottling, H2S and mercaptans only get worse the longer you ignore them. I’ve some bottled wine to prove that. Splash rack as soon as you detect it, and keep at it till it is gone. Whites do develop in the bottle but depending on the style, you may may not bottle age too long. Most Pinot Gris I see on the market is pretty young.
 

balatonwine

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All good comments so far. I have little to add. But I can give my own Mercaptan experience.

I had Mercaptans form in my Pinot gris last year. During the postmortem analysis the most likely causes were too much SO2 at crush, caused the H2S to form, and then "life" happened and I could not splash rack it off enough so the Mercaptans formed.

I normally also ferment my whites between 60-65°F, and normally do not airlock until about 2/3 of the sugar is used up (just stick a bit of cotton in the hole where the airlock is). Last year, I tried airlocking from day one. Don't know if that affected the H2S formation, but do wonder if restricting even that little amount of O2 through the cotton may have caused the problem. I know others airlocking at higher temps, but maybe at lower temps I wonder if it may be a contributing issue. But that is just me wondering. I have no real data to back it up.

-After about 5-7 days rack into secondary stainless steel tank with floating lid.
How much airspace did you leave during the secondary? Since a little O2 for the yeast can help prevent H2S, a little space may be to consider till fermented to dry.

- not sure how long is best for whites to age in bulk stainless steel at this point?
Depends on the type of wine you want to make. Some let the wine sit on the fine lees for months (sur lie method). However for a Pinot grigio style (Italian), you don't sur lie. For the Pinot gris style some wine makers do sur lie. Do note, that Pinot gris and Pinot grigio are the same grape -- just the French and Italian names respectfully, but they also often represent different wine making styles for that grape.
 
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balatonwine

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Others have told me whites are easy but not in my case!
Whites are easier to go from crush, press and ferment because there is no need for extended skin contact et al. But it is more difficult to make a very good white wine because more wine making skill (or luck) is required. Many white wines will be what they will be because, unlike most reds, mitigating tools like MLF or oaking more hide their distinctive character rather then enhance them. The ultimate quality of a white wine will be up to the wine maker and starting quality of the grape.
 

Stressbaby

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One thing to note is that the incomplete response to copper does not rule out mercaptan/H2S problem. If the mercaptans have been sitting around long enough to form disulfides, copper alone doesn't work. You have to use ascorbic acid to break down the disulfides first. This link is the clearest I've found describing the process.
 

salcoco

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do you always use the tank with floating lid for your whites? could the lid not be tight enough to prevent oxygen entry? should you use a yeast nutrient like Fermaid-O at this point in fermentation. possibly stress of yeast once racking over to tank.
 

ianjamespiano

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Thanks for the info everyone! So I’m thinking too much SO2 going into secondary and possibly adding more yeast nutrient at secondary?
The white wines are the only Wines with noticeable troubles in them.
Maybe after a few more days the copper treatment maybe help more?
I’ll report back. Thanks again everyone!!
 

pgentile

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Thanks for the info everyone! So I’m thinking too much SO2 going into secondary and possibly adding more yeast nutrient at secondary?
The white wines are the only Wines with noticeable troubles in them.
Maybe after a few more days the copper treatment maybe help more?
I’ll report back. Thanks again everyone!!
Yes on the SO2 and nutrient.

I had a problem chilean malbec on 2017, it took two Reduless applications to get the stink out. At Morewine for Reduless it says:"if the sulfur problem still remains after the Reduless treatment, then a bench trial with copper sulfate (CuSO4) is recommended". You have already done one treatment with copper sulfate, which I think is the next level up from Reduless you may need to experiment with small amounts to figure out the dosage that works. But I have no experience with copper sulfate.

Good Luck
 

Ajmassa

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Can anyone answer this for me? (Seems relevant to the convo)

I keep a small length of copper pipe in the wineroom. And if I notice any type of off odor, I’ll pull a sample of about a glass full and stir up for a few minutes with the pipe.
With the thought being that if odor is removed then I know what’s needed. And if no change then i can rule it out. —haven’t had the pipe remedy any odor yet tho.
But would this test even work? Would the odor be removed immediately this way? Seemed logical but realize I don’t actually know the timetable for h2s/copper.
 
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mainshipfred

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I also question the VCT with fementation still going on, especially the timeframe at low temps. Even though the process slows down toward the end of fermentation it is still an aerobic activity. Plus I don't see any reference to SG when it is racked to the VCT. With this being said though I'm about to make my first batch from grapes and never made a white kit. It's got me a little concerned.
 

mainshipfred

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Can anyone answer this for me? (Seems relevant to the convo)

I keep a small length of copper pipe in the wineroom. And if I notice any type of off odor, I’ll pull a sample of about a glass full and stir up for a few minutes with the pipe.
With the thought being that if odor is removed then I know what’s needed. And if no change then i can rule it out. —haven’t had the pipe remedy any odor yet tho.
But would this test even work? Would the odor be removed immediately this way? Seemed logical but realize I don’t actually know the timetable for h2s/copper.
I'd say that is perfect deductive reasoning. I also have a piece of copper on hand although it is a stranded wire. I used it once on a glass of wine with H2S maybe 30 seconds and it was gone. Then stirred the 5 gallon carboy for a few minutes. It didn't take long to get rid of it but I may have done it a second time if that helps.
 
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