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Yeast, Enzymes, Additives and Other Stuff

2013 August 7

Yeast, Enzymes, Additives and other stuff

The theme of this blog piece so as not to confuse anyone reading is, Please Grow the Freak Up! I hope after you read this you will understand why I say this. To begin, when I read I am astounding at the complete stupidity of the questions of most of the posters. It’s like, Oh Gee hmmm let me just go ask a question instead of doing anything on my own to figure something out. What yeast should I use? Should I use yeast nutrient? Do I need to top up a barrel? What is ML Bacteria? And it goes on and on endlessly. One guy scratched his food grade fermenting bucket and wanted to know if it needed to be replaced. That question produced about 8 comments from the “experts”. Also, I have noticed that the difference between and is growing. One can almost say despite repetitive questions is becoming the Gray Haired Lady of Winemaking Forums. That’s a positive development as far as I am concerned.

Oh yes back to the subject. Let’s start with yeast. What yeast should I use? Use any dam yeast you want, all will ferment your wine. But if you have reason to think one yeast will develop your fruit better than another, read yeast charts from the manufacturers. After picking one, or if possible two, and splitting a batch then you will know which one you like better. Do this over 3 years with the same fruit and then you can offer advice to others. Otherwise shut up and read. One thing if your grape is under ripe use GRE. But you can read about that too . And don’t use Montrachet no matter what anyone says. Well that about covers the subject of yeast.

Yeast Nutrient. Use it! Well that wraps up that subject. Oh which one? Not that many choices. You should be able to name at least 3 if not start reading.

Additives. Additives come in many flavors and colors. All have specific uses. A good place to start understanding their uses is the Scott Fermentation Catalog. Don’t have one? Don’t make wine then. Make Skeeter Pee instead. This arena of Additives is not that easy to master. For example Booster Rouge or Opti Red, which one? Well you can read the description of use but I have been using both year after year many times on the same fruit and I still have a problem telling the difference. Noblesse seems to be good for under ripe grapes. Zac reports this. I have no reason to doubt him but I have never used it myself. Wood Dust is good also in the fermenter when dealing with that problem too. Which ones to buy? Greg Perrucci sums it up nicely. Have all of them in your cabinet to deal with any situation that comes up.

Other stuff. I dare even bring up the subject of Malolactic Fermentation. Just do it and do it with expensive ML bacteria and Nutrient so you don’t have to moan and groan like you are in labor on when you MLF isn’t working.

Well that about wraps it up. Now if anyone has any questions on what experiences any of us may have with certain products make sure you do a little research and display that in your question before you ask. I am sure all of us will be more than happy to share our thoughts with you.

Boy that felt good!

38 Responses leave one →
  1. Dan Lodico permalink
    August 7, 2013

    Hey Gene! I’m glad to see somebody cured your writer’s block.

  2. Dave O'Brien permalink
    August 7, 2013

    I agree with Dan….and back with the sarcasm we have all come to know and love… Gene, see my email about tannins…if your head is spinning on its connecting point feel free to let me know! I am reading as we speak!!!!

  3. Gene Fiorot permalink*
    August 7, 2013

    I responded to your Email. You should have posted it here LOL Chicken Shit!

  4. Zac Brown permalink
    August 7, 2013

    Good post.

    Small correction , red style is best with underripe grapes. Nobless works well to tidy up very minor h2s or to give the wine back some heart post cuso4 addition.

  5. Gene Fiorot permalink*
    August 8, 2013

    Dam Zac you are right! I misspoke. Another example of not believing everything you read on the internet. LOL Take note of this, Zac has spoken. LOL!!!!!

    I think when faced with an issue having resources like Zac and other respected Amateurs trumps forums. Thanks Dude!

  6. Zac Brown permalink
    August 8, 2013

    Thanks for the compliment.

    I’ve actually been thinking of going off forums all together.
    I’m tired and kinda bored .

    You’ll still see me here once in a while though.

  7. Dan Lodico permalink
    August 8, 2013

    As a relative newbie to grape winemaking, I have relied heavily on information from WP, and through that experience, found my way to this blog. The problem with forums is that you have to go through the process of figuring out who knows their stuff, and who doesn’t, but once you figure that out, you can learn a lot.
    I don’t think I’ll live long enough to consider myself anything but a novice at this game, so a good source of good information is treasured.
    As preparation for 2013, I have been reading my notes which is my distilled version of what I have considered to be good information, from Gene, Zac, Crazy Run, Proud Puppy, as well as Pambianchi, and a few others.
    One reason for doing this was to make sure I ordered all of the additives, nutrients, etc. so I’d have them on hand, and as I read my own notes I got confused.

    Optired AND FT Rouge?
    or is it supposed to be one, or the other?
    How much oak chips pre-ferment? (Pambianchi, as far as I can tell, doesn’t even discuss oak chips pre-ferment)
    It’s so helpful when the manufacturers tell me a dose like “5 ounces per HL”,, do you think they could at least keep it metric, or non metric? but I digress, the point being that to make conversions down to the minuscule amount of wine I’m making, there is ample opportunity to make a math error and overdo something by a factor of 10.
    When reading the manufacturer’s descriptions of additives, one comes away with the distinct impression that you should just add everything. I mean, who doesn’t want “enhanced fruit aromatics” and “smooth integrated tannins”?
    Hell, I might skip the grapes altogether and just make wine out of the additives. Or maybe not.

    So, here is my list of what I put in my wines (reds) by default, not as a treatment for a problem.

    At crush:
    50ppm Kmeta
    Medium toast French oak chips (after crush so as not to foul up the machine)
    Opti-Red and FT Rouge
    Yeast of choice hydrated with Go-Ferm
    Nutrient strategy of fermaid K, and O, (DAP depending upon fermentation kinetics, not necessarily by default)
    MLF culture (cultured with Apple Juice according to instructions learned here and on WP from Gene and Zac)

    all according to manufacturer’s dosage (unless I screwed up my conversions from pounds to grams, or tons to gallons, in which case my dose might be 1000 X)…

    Ok boys, slice me, dice me, spare no feelings…any comments or suggestions?

  8. Gene Fiorot permalink*
    August 8, 2013

    First @ Zac. I am not blowing smoke up your ass, it is a fact that you have contributed heavily to providing Amateurs a plethora of solid and enlightened information for years. Your posts are always extensive and expansive and I feel that people only read and absorb about ten percent of what you present. The big problem is these gems have very little afterlife. Searching on forums in general suck and you have to wade through all the schmelda to get to the core. So what do people do they ask the question again and the Merry Go Round continues. Anthony Forte is the person who urged me and performed the technical aspects to create this Blog. He said from the beginning forums were a thing of the past in social and information technology on the internet. I didn’t believe him then although I started this Blog anyway. There were a few months I though I was talking to myself. It is pretty easy to see that Anthony is correct when one looks at the shit hole which has become or actually always was. In any case the point is, I think you need to have your own Blog. I hope you will consider this seriously. I more than think it is your nature to share information about our hobby and I think it needs a place which you direct the topics and conversation instead of just responding to someone’s questions. And most important the topics are easily searched by others in the future. Just as an example this past month the blog piece on the Enolmatic had 300 hits and the Brix Charts that Greg provided got 489. And that is from Google searching. In other words people looking for that information not just popping by a forum and asking a question. Create a Blog! The Hobby needs you Zac!!!!

  9. Gene Fiorot permalink*
    August 8, 2013

    @ Dan let’s see what you have here….Opti Red is a yeast product FT Rouge is a tannin. These are different in what effect they are supposed to have on the wine. Yes you can use both. I do on most all occasions. But a word about FT Rouge. FT Rouge is Scott Labs version of Laffort’s VR Supra. FTColorMax is the Scott counterpart to VR Color. I use VR Supra and VR Color. I just split the dose and dose the VR Color at 18 brix.

    Ah! I sense your frustration. My Oak dust formula is in New York I can’t remember it off hand. Help Zac! But I usually use the Supra instead of the dust. In the case of unripe grapes I would use the dust possibly both. On the advice of Stefano at Avio Vineyards I would use both with Sangiovese.

    All else you list seems you are good to go. OH and as far as Hectoliters for the non metric mind consider it 25 gallons if you are accustomed to working in 5 gallon lots. One thing about winemaking additives you really need to worry about overdosing is K Meta DAP and Fermaid. and Fermentation Tannins and CuSo2, Use too much of the rest and you are probably just wasting money.

    Yes add everything! because if you don’t you will always think the wine would have been better if you did. LOL!

  10. crazy run ranch permalink
    August 8, 2013

    One of the great things about this blog is that you can say what you want. I think Gene actually loves a disagreement. So here goes. In my opinion, the only things that should be automatic additions to your wine is yeast nutrient and SO2 at some level. Everything else is optional. Now you may want to simply your life and innoculate for both primary and secondary. For beginners I recommend it. But its still optional and you should still select the ones that suit your goals and matches the fruit as it comes in. The combo of Opti-Red and enzymes can be a powerful tool but I only use in some wines where their use helps me towards my goals for the wine. Tannins and oak dust, keep that shit away from me, I don’t buy or grow under ripe fruit. When someone tells me an additive can only do good things for my wine and have no downside, I don’t believe them (ok, yeast nutrients I believe it). I don’t believe winemaking is a recipe driven process but a decision tree. Consider the cause and affect of your decisions. Consider saving some of that money on fancy additives and spend more on fruit.
    As for the forums, I love reading about people’s experiences and have learned a great deal along the way. But I think its healthy to be a skeptic and look for backup on suggestions and methods. The nut on winemakingtalk who suggest adding raisins to secondary is a great example. Anyone who blindly followed that suggestion probably learned a lesson

  11. Gene Fiorot permalink*
    August 8, 2013

    Everyone learns from a debate. Thanks for the Post Steve. So let me say I started using fermentation tannins to stop color instability. It’s only been a few years and it seems to have helped. As far as Opti Red and Enzymes these guys want knock you over the head reds. Those things really help. A delicate Zin you say, Heck no they want Character. So we extract to the max. As far as downside I can’t say I can’t split enough batches to really make a determination to make a comparison. So we believe the people at Scott Labs. But one thing for sure we never made wines from Central Valley Grapes like the ones we make now from Suisun, Napa, Amador and Sonoma. 98% of this discussion really should be about the grapes.

    And yes there is nothing like a good disagreement to keep the brain working.

  12. crazy run ranch permalink
    August 8, 2013

    Sounds like you have made logical decisions to address problems you were having, that’s what I was suggesting. But I think some read this fixes and put together a list of things they feel are needed to create a good wine. The people at Scott Labs are awesome. But they will even tell you that not all the things are needed all the time.

  13. Dan Lodico permalink
    August 9, 2013

    Steve, I’m sure not all of the things are needed all of the time. The problem for me is that with limited experience, I’d rather use something with little/no downside, perhaps unnecessarily, than have a disappointing result that I don’t learn about for a year or two, and then say “gee, I bet if I’d put in 50 cents worth of oak dust, that wouldn’t have happened”…

    we’ve had debates over whether we even need to put in the SO2 at crush…(Gene!)…

    OF course, with the volumes I’m doing, these additives aren’t very much money compared to the effort involved in procuring decent fruit, and making wine in the basement. And I don’t have the volume or time to do side-by-side comparisons over many years to decide what is worth the trouble and what isn’t.
    Not only am I an amateur, I’m a small time amateur at that.
    All of this talk has me eager to get my hands on some grapes!

  14. Gene Fiorot permalink*
    August 9, 2013

    Dan don’t go crazy buying for your small amounts. I have everything you need. About the So2 at crush I have at Zac’s advice return once again to this practice. So what do you think is the best formula for grams of So2 per pound of grapes?

  15. Glenn permalink
    August 9, 2013

    I add as little as possible to my wine, though I do use enzymes and oak chips at start of ferment. goferm to start my yeast (different depending on grapes) and nutrients during ferment. no so2 until after MLF completes and then only minimum dose by ph level and my sc100 meter before going into barrel. My wife has reactions to many additives in commercial or other homemade wines that she does not drinking mine. (good for the hobby) 🙂

  16. Gene Fiorot permalink*
    August 9, 2013

    Well Glen let’s take a look at some of these additives. Enzymes occur naturally on grape skins, Most fermentation tannins are Chestnut, Yeast derived products are just that Yeast and Nutrients can be all organic. Now not to say you can’t be allergic to any of these things but there are very few categories you would have to explore when dealing with a problem. But In your case keeping them out and keeping her drinking your wine exclusively is an excellent way to preserve your hobby aspirations. LOL!

  17. Gene Fiorot permalink*
    August 9, 2013

    I did want to address one thing that Steve said about liking disagreements. Whenever I write a blog that let’s say touches nerves the readership triples for days after. For example yesterday we had the incredible low 1.2% bounce rate. This value means out of all visits only 1.2% arrived at the blog and didn’t want to be there. The percentage of new visitors was 33% and we had an average read of 3.8 pages per visit for over 3 minutes. If you know anything about internet marketing you would kill for those statistics. Anthony has used our figures in meetings for internet marketing. The first few times this occurred I though it was coincidence but it is not. It is true people love it. What can I say. At least some poor bastard might read we think JoesWine is a jerk for adding raisins and avoid taking that bad advice. I think of it as a public service. LOL!

  18. crazy run ranch permalink
    August 9, 2013

    If nobody is disagreeing, what good is it? Then we are just our own cheer leading squad, not a very attractive one, LOL!
    But back to topic. Yes, Gene, many of those things occur naturally. But if we take SO2 as an example, SO2 is produced during fermentation. Some SO2 is good but more is not always better. Too much destroys the flavor. Now I’m not saying that a dose of product made from yeast hulls is going to destroy your wine. But it seems possible that it will alter the wine in unforeseen ways. Is it possible that mass use of these additives makes wine more generic? I think so. To Dan’s point, about using something with little to no downside, well what if there is no upside? Then isn’t a low downside unacceptable? That is how I look at oak chips. I don’t think my wines need them and they certainly flavor the wine somewhat. When I used oak chips on finished wines many years ago, I thought they sucked. So why use something that has the possibly to negatively affect the wine? And tannin from Chestnut trees? That doesn’t belong there. For enzymes, again for me its, is more really better? Certainly there is a possibility of increased extraction overwhelming a subtlety that would set your wine apart and raise it to another level. A great example of this is an aged wine. If you have ever experienced a wine that over time, revealed character not found in the young wine, then I think you should believe in the possibility that too much extraction could cover up nuances that make the wine more interesting. Again, if experience says you like a certain additive or process then go for it. But if you have never tried it, then why no split the batch and evaluate yourself? If you end up with one 5 gallon carboy you like better than another, rather than wishing you had treated it all the same, pat yourself on the back for gaining valuable experience.
    Hopefully this doesn’t sound too preachy, just trying to throw out some food for thought.

  19. Dan Lodico permalink
    August 9, 2013

    For Gene: K-Meta… 50ppm at crush (based upon Total Volume of Must)
    Make a 10% solution of K-Meta by dissolving 10gr K-Meta into 100cc water. Add .88cc of this solution to each liter of MUST to get to 50ppm

    10 gallons of must = 37.5liters, 37.7 x .88 = 33cc of this solution.
    15 gallons of must …………………………………..49cc
    20 gallons of must…………………………………….66cc
    For CRR:

    I think you are absolutely on the money in your thinking and in your “argument” (for lack of a better word).
    In my case, it’s a matter of logistics, and, since it’s not my life’s work, how much effort I wish to put into my hobby. One of my bucket list items is to take a very long trip and taste some of the wines of all of the winemakers who have given me valuable advice, if they’ll have me.

  20. Gene Fiorot permalink*
    August 9, 2013

    @ Steve not really preachy at all BUT it does shine a big light on how much a Amateur can devote to the hobby to find out. You have laid out the challenge perfectly, not many of us including me could be able to accept the challenge totally, so we continue on our path and attempt and strive for what you call for in small steps. But at least we are aware of the steps and all we can ask of any Amateur is to try. On the other hand Professionals know everything right? LOL !

  21. Gene Fiorot permalink*
    August 9, 2013

    Ok Dan there is no need for a solution it does not matter how much water you use to dilute the K meta it just matters how much k meta per pound of grape. I am still wondering the correct amount now that I am returning to using Kmeta at crush. Man you sure can make things more difficult than they need to be. Come on Dan help an old guy out. Grams per pound? Jeez People on Winemakingtalk are reading.

  22. Dan Lodico permalink
    August 9, 2013

    Actually, Gene, I cut and pasted that from my notes. I thought it was a quiz. I think I got that from Pambianchi.

    I was just trying to impress.

  23. Dan Lodico permalink
    August 9, 2013

    I think the quick and dirty way is 1/4 teaspoon per lug…I throw that out for comment.

  24. Gene Fiorot permalink*
    August 9, 2013

    The Gene Spread Sheet Says ………to achieve 40ppm, 30ppm is suggested on the Gene Spread Sheet nevertheless to achieve 40ppm you need 1.32 grams or .22 teaspoons per 36 pound lug. If we go with the Gene Spread Sheet we are looking for 30 ppm at .99 grams or .16 teaspoons per 36 pound lug.

  25. Gene Fiorot permalink*
    August 9, 2013

    It was a quiz and it is not the first time I disagreed with Dan.

  26. Dan Lodico permalink
    August 10, 2013

    Yeah? Well it’s not the first time I failed a quiz, either.

  27. Dan Lodico permalink
    August 10, 2013

    actually, using your spreadsheet ratios, IFF one wants 50ppm, I come up with 165 grams per lug, and using your ratio of 6g/teaspoon, the “quick and dirty” technique of 1/4 teaspoon per lug is off by .05 grams per lug. Not bad.

    I prefer to put it in solution of water only because it makes me feel better about mixing it in. Probably a totally useless step.

  28. Gene Fiorot permalink*
    August 10, 2013

    Not bad at all, in fact perfect. But the question now is… is it going to be a 30, 40 or 50 ppm addition? I think it is a good idea to dissolve the K meta in water so you can distribute it better in the vat. I just think it is a total waste of time to bother making a 10 % solution. 2 cups of water enough to distribute case closed.

  29. Dave O'Brien permalink
    August 10, 2013

    M&M’s website is calling for an early season with several varietals all coming at the seame time…They say to get your bottling and cellar in order by the end of August…

    Gene, time to start packing and heading north!

  30. Gene Fiorot permalink*
    August 10, 2013

    The building is built capable of handling multiple varietals at the same time. Me I am Cruising in the Gulf until the third week of September. Making wine by I Phone a possibility. Standby for further developments. Oh Yeah btw I made sure the Cellar was in order in June. The question now is WHO will be the leader? LOL! The Floor is accepting nominations.

  31. Dave O'Brien permalink
    August 11, 2013

    I can tell people what to do…I just don’t know what to tell them! LOL!!!

  32. Dan Lodico permalink
    August 12, 2013

    I’m just a lieutenant. Out in the boonies.
    But if we have questions, there is always

  33. FLossy permalink
    August 12, 2013

    I found your post as I was looking into creative solutions to an accident regarding sulfur… I mistakenly sterilized a significant portion of my must and am loath to throw it away. I have never been to this site before.

    Seeing the title of the site, I was excited to read about experiences from fellow Westchester winemakers.

    All I see here is grumbling and complaining. Any public forum has the pestering little people you talk about who never seem to do any research or figure anything out for themselves, despite an abundance of free information online. And there are also those haughty know-it-alls who seize any bit of superior knowledge they are able to muster and use it as justification to belittle others less fortunate.

    If you title your piece, “Please Grow the Freak Up”, then I’ll title my comment, “Your Blather Is Wasting My Time!”. Your site is coming up in my search and wasting my time as I try to find a solution to my problem. So rather than helping solve your issue, you’re exacerbating it by filling up the internet with garbage content that is in the way of people finding their own answers.


  34. Gene Fiorot permalink*
    August 12, 2013

    FLossy I don’t know if that is your name or not but you will find here that people have the balls to use their real name. This practice tends to validate the Blog in general and gets away from anonymity of forums where people can hide behind their pseudonyms. With regard to your ‘Mistake” all of us here would be more than happy to provide you strategies to find remediation for your dilemma. Unfortunately your myopic view and of this blog clouded your decision to advance your cause and your knowledge. Your need for instant gratification clouded your mission. Your frustration built up to a fever pitch and you decided to become a critic. This personality defect is something you will have to deal with but certainly was not going to serve your purpose and your original intention. That is to solve a problem. I am glad you did spend sometime here on the blog and I think that if you devote yourself to spending additional time you will discover an abundance of information that at this time appears you lack. In any hobby their are people who practice the hobby on others backs. Doing little on their own and depending on the expertise of others. Admittedly this does anger those with expertise from time to time. But I cannot think of a occurrence where that frustration with pestering little people did not get the answer they were looking for. In your case this would have been the same here, had you asked. I will admit I was rather surprised by you criticizing so vehemently our Blog and at the same time you consider yourself less fortunate. It is sad to see your sense of victimization in your life extends even to your hobbies. I would suggest you try to find an activity where you can become a leader not a poor follower. I think you will find it to be much more rewarding than coming here and attacking because you encounter some difficulties with search engines. Try to look at us as friends with attitudes here to help you nevertheless.

    Depending on your over addition of SO2 beside splash racking you could employ this method….

    I certainly hope this didn’t waste your time.

    Oh and thanks for validating our efforts to advance Amateur Winemaking are been recognized on all the Search Engines. It gives us all a great sense of accomplishment.

  35. Anatoli permalink
    August 13, 2013

    great post, Gene.
    any plans to re-write/update your fermentation procedures? I find many interesting ideas in the discussions, it’s just a shame these are not collected in the same post.

  36. Proud Puppy permalink
    August 14, 2013

    SO2 addition errors are generally due to a multiplication or division decimal error, (factor of 10 at least,) and that is significant. Above 10X you will likely have obvious sensory defects with the wine.. taste aroma and even worse if it ever does ferment. Below that overdosage it is salvageable if it can be fermented, which is usually not a big problem even if it is 5-10 fold overdose. SO2 is volatile and is dissipated rapidly and becomes bound also rapidly, lowering the ppm to a workable value in a reasonable scenario. The majority of commercial yeasts can plow through 5X overdosage without a problem. Primary will further reduce the load by volatilizing the unbound or free SO2. The MLF is then the only significant issue. The total of the Bound portion which is never reduced and this is the ‘memory ‘ portion of the total used and has upper limits beyond which sensory detection is noticed. Treatment with H2O2 may have an effect on reducing this, but then you are into drastic measures which will likely reduce the quality in the long run.

    As any experienced winemaker will tell you measure twice (at least) cut once!

    BTW, Just read this thread.. Thanks Dan I am truly humbled!

    CRR has a pov that is difficult to disagree with. However the product on the east coast even though waaaaay better now with M&M than prior to the improvement, can be a tad different than the same day vine to fermenter fruit that you are accustomed to sourcing. Not a lot but the little xtras tend to become a part of the picture as they do add a bit of a tweak usually. And I do say this from comparisons, although not extensively compared. For sure if and when dealing with perfect fruit I prefer being less intervening for the most part. (Was reluctant to add most of the nutrient to a ferment that was clean and pure on Beckstoffer 2011 Missouri Hopper… only added about a third or so!)

  37. Zac Brown permalink
    August 15, 2013

    I might suggest splitting your fermenters up.
    You probably already do this to use different yeasts .
    Why not use tannins and enzymes on some fermenters and not on others?

    You could then blend together a heavy extracted Parkered portion with a softer less extracted less tannic portion.
    Might give your wine more layers.

    It’s something I plan on playing with with some of my wine this year.

  38. Dan Lodico permalink
    August 17, 2013

    Zac, I like it. I was planning on doing some splits with different yeasts. I’ll be giving that post some serious thought.

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