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Yet another 'What's growing in my wine?' post

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Ajmassa

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Hoping someone has an 'aha' moment reading this explanation.
First noticed while "cleaning" the wine for a restart procedure. In order: tartaric, racked, lysozyme, yeast hulls, racked (1st oily spots seen), restart, racked and stabilized. I thought it was diminishing but they are back.
It's been a week undisturbed since stabilizing now. Noticed the oily spots starting to have a spiderweb look yesterday. Dipping a glass 10ml pippette for a sample showed it also formed a thin skin. Couldn't stir em out- stirring just separated the spots.
Also noticed the air bubbles (not co2. Def just O2) around the rim of the surface. The bubbles remained the same since racked a week ago. Agitating with pippette could not release them and just moved em around. Ended up removing by sliding up the neck as well as from within the pippette tube. Thinking this bubble thing might be related.
3.8 pH calls for 78ppm free so2 on sulphite chart. Titret test showed >70ppm free so2. Topped appropriately. No off odor or taste. TA 6.0g/L.
Will continue to monitor but thinking action is needed. PH still too high perhaps? Btw this is a Tuscan blend from grapes. IMG_7945.jpgIMG_7936.jpg
 
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pgentile

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Can't remember if you hit this with MLF or not yet. If you have the following sounds close.

https://www.extension.iastate.edu/wine/lactic-acid-bacteria-and-wine-spoilage

5. Ropiness

Certain species of Leuconostoc have been found to produce dextran slime or mucilaginous substances in wine. The wine appears oily and may not necessarily have high volatile acidity.

In general, the lactic acid bacteria (as a group) are involved in the fermentation of malic acid and other wine constituents. Their activity results in the formation of several components that impart off flavors to wine. Some of the terms used in describing the lactic spoilage in wine include: acetic or sour, buttery, cheesy, sauerkraut-like, bitter, pickle aroma, mousy and geranium.
 

Johnd

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With SO2 at 70 ppm, it wouldn't seem to be very vulnerable to much, if any, unwanted biological activity, having alcohol present makes the environment even less hospitable.

It's not uncommon in my experience to see some "stuff" on the surface of the wine inside the little neck area, especially on new wine. You've done a lot to this wine, some additives I've never used, so there's no telling what kind of residual films may rise to the top.

Were it me, I'd take a clean paper towel and poke it in there to absorb the film off of the top, spritz it with a couple of squirts of SO2 solution and keep a close eye on it. Make sure the taste and smell are still appropriate, keep it topped up, and continue to do a good job monitoring and maintaining proper SO2 levels.
 

pgentile

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On second thought and re-reading your post and Johnd's, he is probably right. I have seen some oilyness in the neck on the surface of some of my wines, it never lasts and never forms a film or spiderweb look though.
 

zadvocate

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I found the below from herehttp://www.howtomakewine-athome.com/homemadewine-7.html

Ropiness

Once in your life time you may see a---ropey- wine. This looks silky and shiny and has a thick appearance. When poured it looks oily. The cause is bacteria of the lactic acid family. The cure is simple. Crush two Campden tablets and beat them into a gallon of wine. The bacteria are connected together in long chains or ropes and the beating breaks them up. Use a, long wooden spoon and make a good job of it. Then store in a corked jar for a week or so until the wine looks normal again and a sediment of dead bacteria can be seen on the bottom of the jar. Now rack off the clean wine into a sterilized jar in the usual way. The wine will not be harmed nor the flavor impaired.
 

Ajmassa

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Thanks for the link. It is showing tons of similarities. With the high pH as the main culprit of LAB. But also not adding any so2 at crush.
Other giveaways are the very quick MLF and the wine not finishing completely dry. From 1.002ish to .999 after restart. Even the added yeast during the restart can contribute to LAB. And it says LAB can flourish during MLF in high pH wines.
Adding all those unfamiliar chems I feared could be a can of worms.
No off aromas as of yet, and I want to keep it that way. I'll remove the surface spots but I still don't feel comfortable with the high pH.
So I'll remove and continue to monitor as I've been. The oily surface diminished after racking and K-meta. But in a week came back worse. I wasn't overly concerned previously since I've had oily spots before. But these developed to ropiness with the added concern of a "skin" formed. Meaning- as I dipped a pipette the entire surface wrinkled and moved together before breaking apart.
I planned to further adjust pH lower anyway. I was just going to wait a bit to see how it matured but I'm thinking the wine is telling me something and I need to listen. What do you think? Couldn't hurt right?
If or when I do adjust is tartaric still the best option? Or would acid blend be something to consider?
 

Ajmassa

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I found the below from herehttp://www.howtomakewine-athome.com/homemadewine-7.html

Ropiness

Once in your life time you may see a---ropey- wine. This looks silky and shiny and has a thick appearance. When poured it looks oily. The cause is bacteria of the lactic acid family. The cure is simple. Crush two Campden tablets and beat them into a gallon of wine. The bacteria are connected together in long chains or ropes and the beating breaks them up. Use a, long wooden spoon and make a good job of it. Then store in a corked jar for a week or so until the wine looks normal again and a sediment of dead bacteria can be seen on the bottom of the jar. Now rack off the clean wine into a sterilized jar in the usual way. The wine will not be harmed nor the flavor impaired.


If it were only that easy! I'm already at >70freeppm. I'm assuming about 5-6 camdens = 1/4 tsp. 1/4 tsp/6 gal adds roughly 50 free ppm. So 2 camdens per gallon would add 100free ppm no? Though I like the idea of beating the crap out of it with a wood spoon. Sounds like my great grandmother.

The ph can and should come down anyway it sounds like. So I feel I should do it unless advised not to. But How much so2 can be in there until it's too much? I added the k-meta originally by mixing in water and adding to the receiving vessels before racking last week. This wine is so needy I'm already coming up with potential names P.I.A comes to mind.
 

zadvocate

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I dont know but if adding the extra SO2, it may get bound up by the bacteria and not be a problem. I would do a search online for how to get ride of it. I joined a group on facebook moderated by Daniel Pambacci. I remember there being a post on there about this very subject and he gave directions as to what to do. I cant find it. If you not already, you should join that group and post, he will respond. He is the author and former contributor to winemaking mag.
 

zadvocate

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from Jack Keller site
Oiliness or Ropiness: The wine develops an oily look with rope- like treads or strings appearing within it. It pours slowly and thickly with a consistency similar to egg whites, but neither its smell nor taste are effected. The culprit is a lactic acid bacterium and is only fatal to the wine if left untreated. Pour the wine into an open container with greater volume than required. Use an egg whip to beat the wine into a frothiness. Add two crushed Campden tablets per gallon of wine and stir these in with the egg whip. Cover with a sterile cloth and stir the wine every hour or so for about four hours. Return it to a sterile secondary and fit the airlock. After two days, run the wine through a wine filter and return it to another sterile secondary. Again, this problem, like most, can be prevented by pre- treating the must with Campden and sterilizing your equipment scrupulously.
http://winemaking.jackkeller.net/problems.asp
 

Ajmassa

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I dont know but if adding the extra SO2, it may get bound up by the bacteria and not be a problem. I would do a search online for how to get ride of it. I joined a group on facebook moderated by Daniel Pambacci. I remember there being a post on there about this very subject and he gave directions as to what to do. I cant find it. If you not already, you should join that group and post, he will respond. He is the author and former contributor to winemaking mag.


Thanks for all info with this. I was aware Pambacci as the author of the infamous book. But to be honest I thought he was dead. Didn't realize he's still very much out there doing his thing still.
I'll keep looking into what is needed specific to this wine too. The only difference I see is that my oil ropiness is just on the surface and not in the rest of the wine (yet?).
Hopefully I don't have to filter because it's already a medium bodied wine and the last time I filtered a red I lost some color. Plus I hate my filter.
Everything points to lactic acid bacteria. So the sulphite dose/agitation/racking as well as lowering ph both seem like necessary steps to take. Hopefully I'll be updating this post with measures taken showing success.
You're doing the Pinot EM right? How's that going for you? Tucked away still macerating?
 

pgentile

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This wine is so needy I'm already coming up with potential names P.I.A comes to mind.

That's the way I felt with my problem Chilean Malbec from the fall. Many splash rackings, pH adj, reduless doses, partial MLF completion, etc. But it's looking like in the end all the effort was worth it. Aging nicely now.

PIA should be a new wine designation.

I know this is a cliche, but these are invaluable learning experiences. I will never let a low pH must get that far in the future without adjusting up front.
 

Ajmassa

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That's the way I felt with my problem Chilean Malbec from the fall. Many splash rackings, pH adj, reduless doses, partial MLF completion, etc. But it's looking like in the end all the effort was worth it. Aging nicely now.



PIA should be a new wine designation.



I know this is a cliche, but these are invaluable learning experiences. I will never let a low pH must get that far in the future without adjusting up front.


You can add high pH to that too. And I couldn't agree any more. Every problem presents lessons learned to prevent them in the future.
My issue all stems from 2 major things.
Originally At 3.9 I didn't adjust pH before AF- thinking I would just do it after. (Have read articles pro adjusting before AF and as well as anti) And I should have went beyond 3.8 when I did adjust. Frustrating when all that was needed was a simple tartaric addition.
And I didn't add any so2 at crush, more concerned with MLF and taking AF for granted.
Ya live ya learn. Learning more after couple batches of grapes than a lifetime of juice pails.
Maybe it's nothing, but I was also a little suspect that our grapes were in about a month before everyone else's too.
 

cmason1957

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If I remember Daniel Pambianchi's suggestion, it was to add liquid to float the stuff on top out, then rack, add sulfite. I don't remember anything about beating it into a froth, but it has been several weeks (maybe months ago) that I read about this. And he is very much alive, writes columns still, just not for WineMaker magazine any longer.
 

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And there is certainly nothing to prevent you from bringing down the pH a few points if you want to do so, just don't overdo it. A little tartaric acid dose every day or so, stirring and tasting, you could get down into the 3.6's pretty easily, as long as it tastes good there.....
 

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Thanks guys. I'm gonna try and find this exact process and get a plan in motion.
And I definitely will be dropping pH. The tough part for me is going by taste and the reason I stopped at 3.8 I planned on lowering later since it's difficult for me to adjust by taste this early. 3.6's sounds safe though.
And maybe I'll get lucky. With my high so2, removing the surface skin/ropes and slowly adjusting ph over the next couple days it stays removed. And I could avoid more unfamiliar procedures. But I'll do whatever it takes.
Can't wait to just give these a little oak and put em to bed already!
 

Ajmassa

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Were it me, I'd take a clean paper towel and poke it in there to absorb the film off of the top, spritz it with a couple of squirts of SO2 solution and keep a close eye on it. .

John I would would never think to spritz directly into the vessel. For clarity, spritzing the surface with the high concentration sanitizer k-meta solution ok? Even if citric acid was added to the sanitizer ?
As I write I can recall a documentary where I saw them spritzing the barrel bung holes after topping and before plugging back up.
 

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John I would would never think to spritz directly into the vessel. For clarity, spritzing the surface with the high concentration sanitizer k-meta solution ok? Even if citric acid was added to the sanitizer ?
As I write I can recall a documentary where I saw them spritzing the barrel bung holes after topping and before plugging back up.
I've seen it done at commercial wineries, and I do it as well. When I top up my barrels, after they are filled, the bung is cleaned and sprayed, a little spray around the outside and inside of the hole before putting the stopper back in is a regular course of action for me. As for the citric / meta spray, there's just not enough there to affect an entire batch of wine, but if something is sitting on the surface of the wine, on or around the hole, I believe it to be an effective prophylactic.

I posted this once before, it's pretty telling, if you have 3 TBS each citric and sulfite in a gallon of water, there are 90,921.8 drops in a gallon, so a few drops won't make a difference............
 

Ajmassa

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I remember that post well. How could I ever forget that brilliantly anal droplet breakdown? :)
I was just looking for reassurance since this was spritzing directly into the vessel and not residual droplets left after sanitizing. But the perspective from the droplet point of view says it all. Thanks
 

pgentile

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Maybe it's nothing, but I was also a little suspect that our grapes were in about a month before everyone else's too.
I wondered what magic Lenny performed to make that happen as well. Although I had no issues with grapes from Prococci this year or the two prior, my problem grapes were from Gino Pinto's and Chilean. And they have no control over pH or hoe the grapes were treated until they got to them.

By the way PHB West still has a few fizzing juice buckets discounted to $30 each. At least as of Saturday they did.
 

Ajmassa

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Yeah I heard. I was emailing with Jimmy the other day and he mentioned it. He reached out to me trying to locate the last person who rented their oak press. He had a few hundred pounds of grapes ready and a busted press. He also told me they're opening up a 3rd location on Oaklyn nj. But alas time won't permit another batch for me.
By the way PHB West still has a few fizzing juice buckets discounted to $30 each. At least as of Saturday they did.

It's been 24 hours since I disturbed and stirred the oily ropey surfaces. Today was no change, though not enough time had gone by for the skin to form again.
For the time being I used the paper towel approach. And I was able to get the suspect surfaces absorbed and off the wine. I also added 1g/L tartaric. Stirred that in and quick reading was 3.7. I will repeat tomorrow if necessary.
I also gave the silicone bungs a good clean. Then gave a healthy spritz of my sanitizer directly into the vessels- covering the surfaces and necks- before plugging back up. I think this mix was 3tbs k-meta/1tbs citric. After repeating this tomorrow I'll give it until the weekend to monitor before taking any other measures I think. Really hoping it doesn't come down to that. (After spritzing the surfaces looked crystal clear, and plugged immediately after. Here's hoping)
If nothing else, I think doing all this will at minimum help the process.
 

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