Wine making instructions for my fiance

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Dillon Boggs

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Hello all,

I am relatively new to wine making, and am getting grapes and juice. I however will not be home when my juice and grapes come in. My fiance will be in charge of starting the wine and I will be home in about a week or so. These are my instructions to her. Let me know if you think they are clear enough or I am missing any steps in my limited knowledge. I have made a 3 kit wines, and have a zinf from juice in October in a carboy, but my experience is very limited!

Thanks for all you help!
 

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Arne

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Makes perfect sense to me, but I am not a newbe. Turn her loose with it and tell her if she has any problems to give you a call or show her how to get on this site and somebody will give her a hand. Arne.
 

salcoco

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if it was me not to stress the relationship, just keep everything cold until you get home. just add frozen bottle of water to both the grapes and juice will keep fermentation in check. the rapes will get a benefit from cold soaking.
 

Scooter68

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Beware of creating an unnecessary stress point in your relationship. IF she feels comfortable doing it fine but if things go wrong, let it go.

This is a chance to let her grow if she wants to be involved OR a chance for you to show how important she is to you.

Sorry for injecting social commentary but....
 

Dillon Boggs

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I'll be gone for at least another week or so, so unless she clears out space in the chest freezer I don't think keeping them cold is going to be an option. She knows to call if she has any questions. I think everything is pretty clear? I told her if all else fails pitch the yeast throw some nutrients at it, and just make sure to punch down. I think she is nervous about it, but at the end of the day its only about $150 buck in all and if it doesn't turn out we can make some red wine vinegar or something. How's my actual process sound? This is the first wine I am getting pretty serious about (besides measuring pH which I know is very important). My zinf I just pitched the yeast, added oak cubes, and it is tasting really good. I imagine with grapes in the juice and the enzymes (plus Malo lactic fermentation which will start as soon as I get home with some opti-malo and vinaflora CH-16 which I believe I can just add dry right after fermentation?) that this wine will be great. I would appreciate any input you guys have.
 

sour_grapes

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You are her fiance. She is your fiancee. Vive la difference.

Only thing that struck me is that it will not ruin the wine if she adds the MLB during the primary fermentation. Many of us do this on purpose (called "co-inoculation").

The whole process is a lot to expect someone with no experience to tackle, I will opine. I second your opinion that the potential downside of wasting $150 is not tragic in the grand scheme of things; my suggestion is to share (if you haven't already) that sentiment with your fiancee.
 

jgmann67

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You are her fiance. She is your fiancee. Vive la difference.

Only thing that struck me is that it will not ruin the wine if she adds the MLB during the primary fermentation. Many of us do this on purpose (called "co-inoculation").

The whole process is a lot to expect someone with no experience to tackle, I will opine. I second your opinion that the potential downside of wasting $150 is not tragic in the grand scheme of things; my suggestion is to share (if you haven't already) that sentiment with your fiancee.
I’ll take this one further, and suggest you check your yeast selection. The BM strains can give you grief unless you co-inocculate.

Don’t leave anything to chance or availability - have all your supplies (yeast, mlb, nutrients, enzymes, tannins... everything you could need) on-hand before you pickup your grapes.

One last suggestion. As with anything, knowing how to do something is fine. Know why you’re doing it is better. Your directions look good. Go to morewine.com, download and print their winemaking book for red wine. It’s an easy read, and will give her both the ‘hows’ and the ‘whys’ of winemaking. I read mine every season like a pre-flight checklist.

She can read it cover-to-cover in about an hour. And, you two can talk it all through together (maybe both learn something new). Well worth it.

Plus, you might end up with a winemaking partner for life. [emoji1303]
 

Dillon Boggs

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I’ll take this one further, and suggest you check your yeast selection. The BM strains can give you grief unless you co-inocculate.

Don’t leave anything to chance or availability - have all your supplies (yeast, mlb, nutrients, enzymes, tannins... everything you could need) on-hand before you pickup your grapes.

One last suggestion. As with anything, knowing how to do something is fine. Know why you’re doing it is better. Your directions look good. Go to morewine.com, download and print their winemaking book for red wine. It’s an easy read, and will give her both the ‘hows’ and the ‘whys’ of winemaking. I read mine every season like a pre-flight checklist.

She can read it cover-to-cover in about an hour. And, you two can talk it all through together (maybe both learn something new). Well worth it.

Plus, you might end up with a winemaking partner for life. [emoji1303]
What exactly does compatibility mean? Will the yeast and bacteria compete, does BM 45 not do well because it won't feed the bacteria enough? does 45 produce enough soft acids to round the wine so malolactic is not needed? Is it because it produces high H2S if it isn't fed well enough? Does it produce too much SO2 during fermentation? If someone could link an article or explain I would appreciate it. All I've found is that the yeast has a below average compatability, but is highly recommended for red wines like cab.

This will be my first time using ML bacteria, and from what I've read you can co-innoculate at the start of primary, but you may get volatile acids when the bacteria consume the sugars. I know a lot of people co-innoculate and that is starting to be a more accepted practice, but I figured that taking one thing off the list would be helpful to her. I can have her direct pitch as that would be easy if that is the right course to go? I could also have her pitch at either 1/3 or 2/3 sugar depletion.
 

jgmann67

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What exactly does compatibility mean? Will the yeast and bacteria compete, does BM 45 not do well because it won't feed the bacteria enough? does 45 produce enough soft acids to round the wine so malolactic is not needed? Is it because it produces high H2S if it isn't fed well enough? Does it produce too much SO2 during fermentation? If someone could link an article or explain I would appreciate it. All I've found is that the yeast has a below average compatability, but is highly recommended for red wines like cab.

This will be my first time using ML bacteria, and from what I've read you can co-innoculate at the start of primary, but you may get volatile acids when the bacteria consume the sugars. I know a lot of people co-innoculate and that is starting to be a more accepted practice, but I figured that taking one thing off the list would be helpful to her. I can have her direct pitch as that would be easy if that is the right course to go? I could also have her pitch at either 1/3 or 2/3 sugar depletion.
I’m not the expert on yeasts, and have used the BM 4x4 and BM45 a lot with kits. But, when I used it with my 2017 fresh grapes, I had the worst time with my MLF... that’s when I found out that this strain (if I remember correctly) binds the SO2 to the wine making MLF difficult. Here’s the product description:

IMG_0485.JPG

Wish I saw that before... Talk to 10 winemakers and you’ll get 15 opinions. Some say it’s not an issue and they’ve never had a problem. I wasn’t so lucky. So, from here on, I check compatibility and co-inoculate.
 

Dillon Boggs

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So another beginner question here what's the harm in a stuck/very slow mlf? If I'm again this for over a year in a carboy is it really going to be an issue?
 

jgmann67

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So another beginner question here what's the harm in a stuck/very slow mlf? If I'm again this for over a year in a carboy is it really going to be an issue?
A slow mlf is one thing... A stuck mlf is entirely different. To me, the active “work” on your wine is in the first couple of months. At that point, your AF and MLF should be just about wrapped up.

From there, it’s more passive, moving a wine off fine lees, making minor tweaks, dosing every three months and getting your wine to the point that it goes in the bottle. Basically... waiting around till your wine tells you it’s time.
 

cmason1957

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I have used BM4x4 at least for the past three years and always do mlf after alcohol fermentation finishes. One thing I do is very little or no metabisulphite at crush time. I've never had a problem with mlf and this yeast. Make sure you use a good proven ml bacteria (vb41, Ch16, something like that)
 

bstnh1

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Hello all,

I am relatively new to wine making, and am getting grapes and juice. I however will not be home when my juice and grapes come in. My fiance will be in charge of starting the wine and I will be home in about a week or so. These are my instructions to her. Let me know if you think they are clear enough or I am missing any steps in my limited knowledge. I have made a 3 kit wines, and have a zinf from juice in October in a carboy, but my experience is very limited!

Thanks for all you help!
Has she made wine before or will this be her first experience? If she has never done any of this before, I don't see this being successful.
 

Dillon Boggs

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Update: I had to be on the phone with her the whole time, but the additives were measured and the yeast was successfully pitched. She stuggled a little but she checked this morning and it's already going strong. I'll be doing mlf with ch16 whenever I get home next week
 

Scooter68

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If she can cook a meal from scratch, make a cake from scratch - she can handle the fermentation process. The quantity of materials is more but that's it.
 

jgmann67

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Update: I had to be on the phone with her the whole time, but the additives were measured and the yeast was successfully pitched. She stuggled a little but she checked this morning and it's already going strong. I'll be doing mlf with ch16 whenever I get home next week
This is the fun part to me.

The cap will form pretty quickly. Make sure she punches that cap down twice a day to keep those skins wet.
 

bstnh1

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Update: I had to be on the phone with her the whole time, but the additives were measured and the yeast was successfully pitched. She stuggled a little but she checked this morning and it's already going strong. I'll be doing mlf with ch16 whenever I get home next week
You owe her big time! :h Better bring her home a nice gift. lol
 

jgmann67

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Update: I had to be on the phone with her the whole time, but the additives were measured and the yeast was successfully pitched. She stuggled a little but she checked this morning and it's already going strong. I'll be doing mlf with ch16 whenever I get home next week
This is from another thread on MLF - depending on bacteria strain, pH and timing, you can see about how long it takes to finish (though I think those hash marks are actually a measurement of weeks not days) and the risks.

IMG_0496.JPG
 

Dillon Boggs

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I believe MLF is going strong. When pressing and transferring the wine had a pretty harsh taste that quickly faded into a rich jamy character. I am assuming that both age and MLF will change that astringency into a smoother flavor. My only other question is that somehow during pressing a got some skins and seeds into the carboy. Are these okay to leave or should I re-rack into a clean carboy? there aren't many, just a few floating near the top of the carboy, and I'm sure a few more have sunk to the bottom.
 

cmason1957

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I believe MLF is going strong. When pressing and transferring the wine had a pretty harsh taste that quickly faded into a rich jamy character. I am assuming that both age and MLF will change that astringency into a smoother flavor. My only other question is that somehow during pressing a got some skins and seeds into the carboy. Are these okay to leave or should I re-rack into a clean carboy? there aren't many, just a few floating near the top of the carboy, and I'm sure a few more have sunk to the bottom.
A few things floating is no problem whatsoever, let it sit while MLF does the magic it does.

Taste, looking for bubbles, watching for airlocks burps, waiting for 3 or 4 months are all very bad ways to try to determine if MLF is progressing or even started. Airlocks notoriously lie, it might be from your MLF, but more likely just some stray CO2 exiting. Bubbles might be there, might not, I have had MLF's quite successful and never a tiny bubble was seen and others where the bubbles seemed like a reverse waterfall that never even started. Taste is among the worst. I have tasted wines and thought they were terrible, then my wife brings me a blind glass of the exact same thing the next day and it is the best thing in the world.

The only way to know for sure is to measure, either via chromotography or a malic acid test strip/test kit. Anything else is pure guesswork.
 
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