Wine Protection During MLF

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freddie

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Just put my Sangiovese and Syrah through MALO soon after completion of alcoholic fermentation.

At crush I added 35ppm of SO2. Fermentation completed in about 7 days. MLF has now been active for 10 days and appears to be active. I have topped up all demijohns and containers right up to 1/2 inch under the bung closure.

My understanding is that if I add any further SO2 I may halt the MLF and it may not continue to finality. Howver, on the other hand, I am concerned that my wine is not sufficently protected.

Is it safe to assume that I'm OK whilst MLF is active and continuing and was it prudent to clear the head space by topping right up ?.

I also needed to rack from a smaller container to top up some larger carboy's that had more head space. Will this process disrupt the MALO in that container and should I have taken over the lot inclusive of fine lees that had settled which may have some MALO in it.

Any guidance at this critical phase would be helpful.
 

ibglowin

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At this point your relying on good sanitization practices and the wines pH to keep bad bugs away. Its okay to let it finish out. Topping up with a like wine is fine as long as the pH and SO2 levels of the wine do not go out of range in such a way as to shut down MLF.
 

freddie

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Thanks Mike. I presume you are referring to the pH and SO2 levels of the wine that was used to top up my Sangiovese and Syrah.

Actually, I used the same wine from a smaller vessel. What do you mean by getting the pH and SO2 levels out of range. How exactly does this impact on the MLF ?.
 

RegionRat

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I also am doing MLF for the first time. I understand that the fine lee needs to be stirred off the bottom regularly. I ordered one of those cans of inert gas to purge the head space before replacing the bung.

RR
 

freddie

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I wasn't aware that the fine lees were require to be stirred during MLF. If so how regurly ?.

I was actually wondering if the transfer from one demijohn to another would impact the MLF from continuing, leaving aside the exposure to CO2.
 

RegionRat

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I wasn't aware that the fine lees were require to be stirred during MLF. If so how regurly ?.

I was actually wondering if the transfer from one demijohn to another would impact the MLF from continuing, leaving aside the exposure to CO2.
This is where I read about stirring and flushing with inert gas during MFL .' Under the heading, 'Nutrients in the lees: '

http://morewinemaking.com/articles/5_steps_to_mlf

Like I said this is also my first time. I am just trying not to end up with 18 gal of drain cleaner. Any advice would be helpful.

RR
 
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ibglowin

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Relax guys, its winemaking. You have to work hard to really mess anything up. The Morewine making manuals are fantastic. Print them out and put them into a binder. They have one on every aspect of winemaking.

@ freddie: I didn't want to assume that you were topping off with a wine from the same crush. Wanted to make sure you didn't add 3 gallons of wine that had a ton of SO2 in it or the pH was so low that it would lower your wines pH that your putting through MLF down so low that MLF would peter out and die.

MLF is a little trickier than alcoholic fermentation. MLB needs a much smaller (narrower) temperature range to be happy, it needs a certain pH range, it also has an alcoholic or ABV range (max) as well. You can find all that info for each strain on the manufacturers website.

Stirring the fine lees on the bottom (including Opti-malo which you should be adding) is a good thing to do. It seems to help push things through to finish. About once a week is all that is needed.
 

joea132

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Battonage, or stirring the lees, is an optional practice but it helps to introduce the nutrients in the lees back into the wine to help the MLF along. I've made a point to do it and I've skipped it and had the same results. If you have a sluggish MLF, it may help
 

RegionRat

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Relax guys, its winemaking. You have to work hard to really mess anything up. The Morewine making manuals are fantastic. Print them out and put them into a binder. They have one on every aspect of winemaking.
I appreciate the comment. I am so guilty of over thinking things sometimes.

RR
 

Inferno

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According to Pambianachi in techniques in home wine making , mlf produces co2 during an active mlf.
So in a tank or carboy under airlock , if the ML ferment is active and you see some bubbling slowly happening in the airlock the wine is already protected by inert gas CO2

Also in an active malolactic ferment the MLB are creating a very competitive environment , it wouldbe almost impossible for myconderma or spoilage bacteria to dominate when MLB are at their most active.

Reducing headspace was the right thing to do.
Relax until your paper chromatography tells you mlf is done then add so2 to match ph and you'll be fine

Keep the temp in range and use optimalo and you can forget about stirring the fine lees and introducing O2 during the stirring. That's what the pros do in tanks
http://morewinemaking.com/products/opti-malo.html
Optimalo works better than lees stiring you stir it in initially , getting it and the fine lees in suspension then don't stir again unless 6 weeks later your mlf tests incomplete.
If that happens , warm it up a little Add some more optimalo and stir it up and retest a few weeks later

In the future , 50ppm is the standard so2 dose at crush, this will work much better to knock down native fauna and spoilage bugs than 35ppm. At crush you don't worry about matching ph to so2ppm.
This will further reduce risk of spoilage taking hold until you complete mlf and get so2 in the wine.
I've always added 50 ppm for good fruit and 75ppm for bird damaged fruit at crush and post alcoholic ferment the wine always tests 0 ppm free so2 before I pitch my MLB . So 50 ppm will not interfere with MLB if you add it at crush.
 
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freddie

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So my MLF is now finished. Whilst I need to now add more SO2, is it also appropriate to rack off to another clean container and add So2 to that at this time , or is it sufficient to just add So2 of say 50ppm and rack later on.
 

manvsvine

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I innoculate mlf after racking off the gross lees then
I usually rack off the fine lees post mlf and have the so2 in the receiving carboy.
This helps make a more fruit forwd wine .

But if the was no sign of h2s at all , you may so2 and age it on the fine lees for a while too , your call .

Aging it on the fine lees can aid complexity.

The is no hard and fast rule , it's yet another winemakers choice and philosophy .
 
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