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Whole Grape Fermentation and Mycoderma(?)

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nhinshaw

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Hello all, I'm in a bit of a quandary:
I've been whole cluster fermenting a batch of white wine grapes (muscat) with the goal of making an "orange wine". Things have been going pretty well with the wine more or less doing what I want.

Last weekend I moved the must from two 6.5g wide mouth fermentors into one 7.9g plastic fermentor--there's a fair amount of head space left over but with a hydrometer reading of 1.000 I thought I had a little wiggle room until it needed to be in a smaller vessel (the fermenentor was sealed with an airlock).

The new 7.9g container is a Speidel plastic fermentor which means I can't readily see what's going on inside. Last night just before bed I popped off the lid to check things out and was perplexed to see a white film on the top of my wine. I was puzzled, then my heart sank. It's very thin, and very chalky to the touch. As I searched through the forums it started more and more to seem like Mycoderma / Flowers of Wine.

The "standard" remediation for this seems straightforward (rack, sulfite, bottle), but my situation is a little different since I've got a wealth of stems, seeds, and skins simply racking this off isn't an easy option.

So my question(s) are:
1. Is this film actually mycoderma (see photo)?
2. If it is can / should I press the grapes (or should I just toss in crushed campden tablets)? I'm not sure if there's a risk distributing the layer of mold(?) throughout the must.
3. If it's not flowers of wine, what the heck is it?!

For the sake of completeness (and I'm kicking myself for this one): I'd not added any kmeta / campden / metabisulfite or anything during crushing or before fermentation.

Photo looking into the fermentor:

(The darker bits floating here and there are seeds not mold).

Any or advice would be greatly appreciated. I was going to dive in and press the grapes today and then add campden to the whole batch--but thought that somewhat hasty decision might be the wrong call. Right now the wine is smelling great and I'm eager to figure out this blight and save the batch!
 

NorCal

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A wine that is done fermenting that has nasties? Rack, big hit of SO2, no headspace, give a few weeks and taste. Hopefully it can be salvaged.
 

nhinshaw

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A wine that is done fermenting that has nasties? Rack, big hit of SO2, no headspace, give a few weeks and taste. Hopefully it can be salvaged.
Thanks for the reply, unfortunately those steps are at the heart of my question.
Am I able to press before racking? I'd love to take the the contents of the barrel, strain it out and give it a lite press--but I'm not sure how wise that is?

I'm hoping someone here has some sage advice--or just a gentle push to press and then sulfite the heck out of the wine.
 

NorCal

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Ah, by the look of it, I thought it was a white wine that has already been pressed.

If it were mine, I would carefully remove as much of the top layer as possible. I would then press, let it settle for a day, rack, and hit it with SO2, no headspace, then give it some time to recover.
 

pgentile

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I hope I never encounter anything like this, but if I did I would do similar to Norcal, skim that top layer off, then press, wait 24 hours, rack, sulfite.

This formed in 7 days?
 

michvin

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Could be Pichia. It only needs 72 hrs to bloom. I agree with the previous advise. Clean off the top, press and hit it with a high dose of sO2.
 

balatonwine

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If it's not flowers of wine, what the heck is it?!
Lots of opinions here. Here is mine: Mixed biofilm caused by air in your headspace. I say this based on the round lump at the bottom with filaments indicates this is not just one critter (fungus/bacteria) causing this.

Correction is as already suggested by Norcal.
 
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