Wild and Crazy Advice

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Trevisan

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Greetings fellow winemakers. First time post for me, though I've been following almost daily. Been home winemaker off and on for past 30 years and I have never heard of the advice a colleague received from the old country on how to make wine. We just pressed several varietals from very small estate grown. Trouble is, in my opinion, the sugars were 10 to 15 brix after one week in fermenter on wild yeast. I tried to persuade cultured yeast, and fermentation to below 5 brix. No go. Must is now in stainless steel where colleague was told to allow fermentation to finish. However, he was also told to rack every week for three months. This is mind boggling to me. My practice has always been: KMBSO2 50ppm at crush, inoculate 24 hours later, punch down 3x a day, feed yeast, ferment to 0 brix, press and rack off gross lees within 72 hours. Rack in winter, spring and summer. Colleague insisted on old country advice. I think his source is pulling his leg. What do you think?
 

sour_grapes

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Trouble is, in my opinion, the sugars were 10 to 15 brix after one week in fermenter on wild yeast. I tried to persuade cultured yeast, and fermentation to below 5 brix. No go.
I'm sorry, but I don't know what you mean by this (and it is relevant to your question). What do you mean when you say that you "tried to persuade cultured yeast"? And what step didn't work ("no go")?
 

cmason1957

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I think he is saying that the ferment was done without inoculating without any specific yeast, but using the natural yeast. (He tried to convince them to add cultured yeast, but was overrulled). After 1 week of fermentation the reading was at 10-15 brix. They pressed and racked to a stainless steel fermenter. He thought they should wait until the brix dropped significantly.

I agree with you that results are more likely to be consistent using cultured yeast, but many folks don't use cultured yeast and get ok results. Racking seemed a bit early, but not horrible. I agree that racking every week for three months seems really dangerous. No idea if the old country fellow is pulling his leg or does things this way. My advice, walk away, shaking your head. Make your wine and try to convince him to have a blind tasting at some point in the future. Let the results speak for themselves, you have tried to offer him best practices, it is up to him to use them or ignore them.
 

Brettanomyces

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Sounds like a group effort. OP wanted to use commercial yeast, but partner vetoed and forced a wild fermentation.

Sounds like the partner is getting very interesting advice.
 

Scooter68

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With wine making and many other subjects when I'm first learning about it I look at the free advice given and sort of follow the method Diving Contests use. Toss out the high and low (Extreme edgy guidance) and look for the most commonly recommended process. Maybe later down the line I might look at alternative methods but very carefully.

In the first 3 months I may rack my wine twice - At the end of fermentation, and if enough lees drop out, once more, normally that second time is 2 - 3 weeks later, Then I go to the 3 month racking schedule. With Juice wines where the only lees are yeast and precipitates I might rack a second time a little before 3 months and before that second time I may add bentonite if it looks to be a slow clearing process.

Agree with cmason - every time you rack there is a little risk involved.
 

Trevisan

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Appreciate your replies. Cmason interpreted my "shorthand" correctly. In the future I will be adhere to better clarity. I have decided to let it go and just assist him with my labor as may be needed.
 
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