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Snafflebit

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Hi all,

I am new to making wine. I appreciate all input and suggestions about my winemaking plan. I have read the book "From Vines to Wines" by Jeff Cox and whatever I can find on the internet and advice from a winemaker I know.

I got 7 gal of Cab Sauv must from a winery in an 8 gal. bucket fermenter. Today is Saturday and I got the grapes this afternoon. The grapes were crushed Friday and had 30ppm SO2 added by the winery.

The winemaker measured the Brix to be 27 deg. I asked him if he adjusted anything, he said no but he is going to add some water because some of the grapes on the bunches were raisined and he expects the Brix to go higher. At least I think that is what he meant. He calculated that at his planned water ratio that I need to add 0.5 gal. So I plan to do that soon.

I do not know the pH of these grapes but I measured the TA at 0.4. I guess you would say these are ripe Livermore, CA grapes. The juice did not taste tart. I figured to get the must up to 0.6 TA would take 252g of tartaric acid.

I have Lalvin ICV-D254 yeast, that is what the winery plans to use on this must. It's MLF compatible and I bought frozen Viniflora Oenos to go with it but since these grapes seem ripe, now I am questioning if there is enough malic acid to make the MLF necessary. How could I tell? Any opinions on skipping the MLF?

I also plan to do a concurrent yeast and malolactic fermentation. The store owner where I bought the yeast said it is fine to start MLF about 5 hours after the yeast begin to work. I had never heard of this before but I am willing to try. I have the yeast nutrients, DAP and the leuco nutrients also. I am going to divide these additions into three batches over three days.

One last hitch, I am going to pitch the yeast on Monday because that is when my new hydrometer and a second bucket fermenter is coming in the mail. Maybe I should just buy a hydrometer tomorrow at the store but then I will end up with two of them and what good is that?
 
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beggarsu

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Hydrometers - I woudl recommend not switching them - use on -stick with that one..

I broke a hydrometer and got a new one, But this time I did a calibration check in water and found out that it was .990 in Water!! :ft

IE off by a full .01 for all my readings :rn

which meant i had to add .01 to all my readings.

.
Then I realized I had no idea what my first hydrometer saw calibrated at. Even if it's off you know the relative difference but switching hydrometers you don't know the calibration of one to the other.
I think most ordinary hydrometers are off by a Little. Only the very expensive ones are more guaranteed accurate.

But yeah have a backup hydrometer is of some use especially if you do not want to wait to get to a wine store if you have an accident. I broke two thermometers and one hydrometer in the first three months of wine-making adn I thought I was very careful. Looking around , it's very very common especially for beginners.

The store owner said he had a regular customer who broke his hydrometer many many times and kept coming back to buy another one. You are washing these things , sterilizing them - you knock them against anything while carrying them moving them around and .... goodbye .. and don't stir the batch with the thermometer in it. yeah! Ok I did that once.. fortunately it's non toxic - even the liquid did not get in , only some glass which I wire-grade filtered out or tossed with the lees.
 
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Snafflebit

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Thanks beggarsu. I did not consider that all hydrometers will not match! The hydrometer that is coming in the mail is from ECKraus and I think it will be cheapo. I will just buy a good one at the store on my way to helping with the destemming at the winery.

The book I am reading gives the ingredient amounts needed per 5 gallons of must and I was thinking per gallon. So I was 5x over, yipes. Looks like I only need 50 g of tartaric acid instead of 252 g! Mystery solved, and wine saved. :d
 
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Snafflebit

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I should also add that I just increased the SO2 so that the must has 70ppm. I am worried that the pH is really low on this batch.
 

beggarsu

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Thanks beggarsu. I did not consider that all hydrometers will not match! The hydrometer that is coming in the mail is from ECKraus and I think it will be cheapo. I will just buy a good one at the store on my way to helping with the destemming at the winery.

The book I am reading gives the ingredient amounts needed per 5 gallons of must and I was thinking per gallon. So I was 5x over, yipes. Looks like I only need 50 g of tartaric acid instead of 252 g! Mystery solved, and wine saved. :d
Quite a common occurrence apparently - it's just a slip of paper in glass mass manufactured. I think a really, really good one is $$$. Just take the primary offset comparing with water.. There is a possible secondary offset but I never learned that calibration yet.

Lucky guy in grape country!!! I just do the kits and from home grown fruit north of 49 on the prairies.

Let us know in the end how it all turned out.
 

GreginND

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Sounds like you have a pretty good plan. You will want to check and calculate TA and pH after water addition. Adjust acid from there. Regarding mlf, I would wait and add your bacteria to the primary closer to the end of fermentation maybe when you are down to about 5 brix or so.
 

Turock

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Why did you increase the SO2????? You're gonna have a tuff time with the MLF, now!
 

GreginND

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While there is no need to bring the SO2 up that high pre-ferment unless you see signs of rotting, spoilage or wild yeast fermentation, I don't think you'll have any problem with MLF. That SO2 will all be blown off or bound up during primary fermentation. One of the reasons I suggest waiting toward the end to inoculate. The other reason is that the bacteria will compete with the yeast for sugar and can produce more volatile acids. Best to have the sugar levels down when you add it.

Here's a very informative PDF from morewine about MLF: http://morewinemaking.com/public/pdf/mlf09.pdf
 

seth8530

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I have seen research that supports both co-inoculating and post-inoclating MLF. One of the things to watch out for with pre MLF inoculations is that it is possible for the yeast to eat your MLF nutrient leaving your bacteria without nutrient. Also, since you cranked the So2 up so high, I think at this point you have no other choice but to wait until post fermentation or at least towards the end of fermentation.
 

lawrstin

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Buy yourself a handheld ph meter. What method did you use to measure your TA? I don't like to adjust TA before I have a reading of my Ph.

Lawrence
 

Snafflebit

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I recalculated the SO2 addition and it is 65ppm. Still high. I did not know the ML dislikes SO2 so much, thank you GreginND. http://www.winesandvines.com/template.cfm?section=features&content=86536# This is what I was following for SO2 levels. I did not detect any whifs of VA but the grapes are very ripe and I need to wait to start the fermentation on Monday and I am only able to keep the grapes as cold as my balcony is which ranges from 50 to 70. And I am assuming the pH is high, like 4.0 high, which would make much of the SO2 bound. So that is my reasoning. I can get the pH tested today for $9 I have not researched pH meters.

I measured TA twice with a NaOH titration kit, both times measured 0.40 TA

Perhaps I should not perform MLF on this batch and save it for a later batch? My guess is that I am never getting the pH of this wine to the 3.4-3.6 range unless I boost the acid over 0.7 TA, so there will be lots of bound SO2. Also the Brix measured 27 deg, this will make some potent wine. I see how handy a pH meter would be right now.
 
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Snafflebit

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I had the pH tested. It is 3.95. I will be making a very young fruity Cabernet, (please be no residual sugar! ) The guy who tested my grapes asked if they were free, which they were LoL I'm more interested in experiencing the process and making something that can will not cause any nasty faces!
 
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sjo

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While there is no need to bring the SO2 up that high pre-ferment unless you see signs of rotting, spoilage or wild yeast fermentation, I don't think you'll have any problem with MLF. That SO2 will all be blown off or bound up during primary fermentation. One of the reasons I suggest waiting toward the end to inoculate. The other reason is that the bacteria will compete with the yeast for sugar and can produce more volatile acids. Best to have the sugar levels down when you add it.

Here's a very informative PDF from morewine about MLF: http://morewinemaking.com/public/pdf/mlf09.pdf
Ya, what Greg said. I over sulfited a 15 gallon batch (>100 ppm in white juice) and had a heck of a time getting it started. So2 measurement post ferment indicated no so2 remained.
 

Snafflebit

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Here is what I have done now. I got a hydrometer, thermometer, some more kmeta and tartaric acid at the store.

I added the 0.5 gal of spring water to the 7 gal of must. It went from 27 Brix to 24 Brix. I pressed the juice from the grapes in the must sample, stirred the sample and then the sample went to 25 Brix. Happy about that :h

I adjusted the TA next. I calculated I need 56 g of tartaric acid to get this must from 0.4 TA to 0.6 TA. The owner of the equipment store suggested I add half first then wait 30 min and measure TA again. I did this and the must went up to 0.62 TA, on half the acid! :? Glad I took his advice. This seems like a good number for a red wine. I will leave it here.

All that is left is to pitch yeast.

:gn

I decided to remeasure TA. It is difficult to read in a red sample, I thought people were exaggerating. I took a 15 ml sample added 50 ml spring water and 3 drops phenolthalene. The sample went from red juice color to light gray, maybe even a little greenish. Really sick color. Then a few drops started to quickly darken the sample gray. At that point the TA is 0.5, which agrees with what I expected from the acid addition. Time to taste the juice and maybe add the rest of the tartaric acid. Yup it tastes good with all the acid added.
 
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Snafflebit

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Things are fermenting great. I feel fortunate! The must has stayed between 75 and 85 F the last three days. I measured 5° Brix after only three days! The nutrients and energizer are probably speeding up the process. I plan to let it sit on the skins a few days after it hits zero with the bucket top covered with Saran Wrap and a small hole, like I read in From Vines to Wines". There seems to be enough uncrushed berries to sustain a slow CO2 release and protect the wine. John the winemaker warned me that I could get seed tannin taste by letting it sit.
 

Snafflebit

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The wine is in its first week of MLF and the tiny bubbles have slowed, but not stopped. I just stirred up the lees. No funny odors detected! Before stirring, I tasted the wine and, well, it is a bit watery. I had to top off in the carboy and I used 2 bottles of Sauv Blanc. Probably too much. It still tastes like Cab, but not a killer OMG Cab.
 

Snafflebit

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I have some French Oak powder to add in the next racking. I plan to do that in another week. I hope that adds some body. There is about a centimeter of light lees on the bottom of the 5 gal carboy.

My winemaker friend talks a lot about how the barrel evaporation helps to concentrate wine flavor.

Always learning, learning.
 
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seth8530

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Learning is good, Honestly if you are not using barrels I would recommend staying away from powder forms of oak. I am personally a fan of staves and cubes because they allow the oak flavour to more gradually release into the wine giving a more controlled change to the over all flavour profile.
 

trudy

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Hi this is my first time making wine. I bought a kit as thought this would be easier. I followed all the instructions. After seven days I added the finnings and stabiliser after seven days it should of got lighter as this is wore wine but there isn't hardly any change in colour. Is there any thing I can do? Or has it got to be thrown away?
 
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