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2013 Grapes going to Press and beyond. Where will it lead?

2013 October 9

With almost all of our fruit going to press I thought it would be a good idea to start the conversation here. The Sourcing Grapes post has 125 comments and it gets a bit tedious to have to scroll down to read the latest comments. So we can continue our discussion of the 2013 season here. So let the conversation continue. I know Dan is having fits about PH and many of us are dealing with high ph wine this season.

155 Responses leave one →
  1. Dan Lodico permalink
    October 9, 2013

    my pH issues were exacerbated by what I believe to be a bad batch of brand new 4.01 buffer solution. Even wines I bottled a few years ago were showing a .5 increase.

    I have it straightened out now, so things appear to be more manageable.

    My Malbec is nasty. Gene advises patience, but I went ahead and racked, splashed, and did a dose of Reduluss. 72 hours later it’s still nasty. Only very slightly improved,and that may be just wishful thinking.

  2. carmine Frattaroli permalink
    October 9, 2013

    I been reading and keeping my mouth shut about the chilean Malbec I have 30 gallons of of it and it ‘s tasting real good but it’s a 2012 not 2013 I am about to bottle soon because my lake county cab is going in after mlf. I have been making chilean grapes since 2007 and had a problem only once with the malbec as it had an hi acid level Besides that we love are chilean grapes. ( no pun intended ). I did not make 2013 chilean so I cannot coment. I hope all is well and everybody had a happy 2013 crush

  3. Proud Puppy permalink
    October 9, 2013

    And the 09 Napa ended up fine with a starting pH of 3.2? Do you have the final pH you got? I am really in unfamiliar territory on this one, so any info you have is golden to me. I’m thinking of the Petite field blend also because I know the PS usually have a high skin K+ which is why they usually run a high pH, so its effect would be buffering of the H+ from the Merlot which will give a pH rise along with the higher pH of the PS addition.

  4. Proud Puppy permalink
    October 9, 2013

    I can’t really say I’ve had the MLF issue with Merlot either, but I certainly am not looking to make it a first time!

  5. Gene Fiorot permalink*
    October 9, 2013

    O9 Ph LOL you will force me to open a bottle. As far as the Chilean Malbec I will open the tank tomorrow and report back. Some blew through the Airlock today and it smelled pretty nice.

  6. Proud Puppy permalink
    October 9, 2013

    Nevermind the pH how was it?

  7. Gene Fiorot permalink*
    October 9, 2013

    It was great! You drank it at the last dinner LOL

    Need a laugh for today? You have to read the experts on talk about the great wine made from the Cry Baby Brand. Holy Cow!!!!

  8. Proud Puppy permalink
    October 9, 2013

    Yeah, that’s the problem …I drank a lot at the last dinner LOL! I guess the lower pH is not a big deal then. Fruit looks and tastes pretty good though.

  9. Gene Fiorot permalink*
    October 9, 2013

    Well I punched down this afternoon and the Lake County Cab is truly black as night. If we have been successful in locking in the color 2 years from now this will be a Cab with a color that beats Rutherford. While I say that it is different and I am not sure how. The fruit is different, the nose is very complex. The typical Cherry Bomb is more like Black berries. The Atlas Peak Merlot has a ruby color that will stain the hand. But as good as all this is the Lanza Gamay has color that almost keeps up with the Merlot. The color of the Lanza Pinot Noir is not in keeping with the Los Carneros Pinot Noir when judging just the color during fermentation. That said my plan for a blend of both ( Gamay and Pinot Noir ) has been my plan from the beginning of the season. Will it be Pinot Noir in the Bottle? I will leave this to the Pinot Noir Sycophants to decide. I will never tell.

  10. Aaronap permalink
    October 10, 2013

    I’m chuckling ruefully about your malbec experiences. Welcome to my world…just a few months later. Get on top of the H2S now before it turns into higher order sulfides or disulfides that are more difficult to correct. I found Reduless to be absolutely no help and had to resort to CuSO4 to fix the issue. It’s possible that the new vineyard source in the Colchagua Valley haven’t learned to watch the late sulfur sprays in the vineyard (as Curico learned with time) or there’s some vital nutrient that is missing in these grapes.

    All that being said…the color and aroma/flavor profile (after H2S correction) make me want to try these grapes again. Chile just got hit with a late frost that seems to have affected the entire grape-growing region from north to south. Early budding varieties may be hard to come by in 2014.

  11. Dan Lodico permalink
    October 10, 2013

    Aaronap, I’m afraid I’m in your boat. Racked, Splash rack, Reduless + 3 days, vacuum rack, and it still stinks.

    Did you use ascorbic acid with the CuSO4? Follow up with any Opti-Red, or Booster Rouge?

  12. Gene Fiorot permalink*
    October 10, 2013

    Ascorbic Acid should be the normal protocol as far as I am concerned when the plan is to use CuSo4.

  13. Dan Lodico permalink
    October 10, 2013

    So I’m reading old threads on WP about treating stinky wine and I come across this post from a guy named Marty Yule who used to post. It’s from May, 2008:

    so what is the minimum invasive fining product that will reduce copper?. I only ask because I have 30 gallons in a new American oak barrel of 07 Chilean Malbec with 40 drops per 5 gallons of cuso2 and I am not happy with the results. (Opti red included) Please someone if I ever have the urge to make this again pinch me please!!!!

  14. Gene Fiorot permalink*
    October 10, 2013

    Nobody freek’in pinched Marty.

  15. Dan Lodico permalink
    October 10, 2013

    Well, since no miracles occurred overnight, while I slept, I did a little bench test.

    1 control glass
    1 glass with a couple of drops of CuSo4
    1 glass with ascorbic acid, and after 5 minutes a couple drops of CuSO4

    after an hour, control glass still stinks, the other two glasses do not stink.

    According to this chart:

    No disulfides, but positive for H2S and Mercaptans.

    Any comments?

  16. Gene Fiorot permalink*
    October 10, 2013

    Ya Know a Commercial Winemaker said to me when I was lamenting about last year’s Primitivo and using Reduless and all the rest said, Why drive yourself nuts, reach for the blue bomb and get it over with. I might take that advice with this Malbec.

    I just have one question Dan. How do you do a bench test when you sleep? I like that ability a lot.

  17. Dan Lodico permalink
    October 10, 2013

    LOL, when I read my post I thought someone would ask me that.

    Now I have to find some ascorbic acid. I used a crushed up Vit C tab, but I’d like to use the pure stuff I can measure more accurately.

  18. Dan Lodico permalink
    October 10, 2013

    I had no problems with last year’s Primitivo, BTW. Unless I just missed it.

  19. Anatoli permalink
    October 10, 2013

    Thanks for sharing, I’ll experiment as well on a sample of my funny smelling Malbec.

    Interesting that both Malbec and Cab Franc are from the same Colchagua Valley, but only Malbec has this smell.

  20. Dave O'Brien permalink
    October 10, 2013

    Did we have a problem last year with the Primitivo and added Reduless? We had a Ph problem, I did not know about anything else.

    After reading Dan’s comments I popped the bungs on my Malbes this morning and had no off odors. Last week when I splash racked x2 the whole basement stunk. I will give it a good stir tonight and see if that comment changes.

  21. Gene Fiorot permalink*
    October 10, 2013

    Wasn’t it last’s years Primitivo that needed the Reduless or was it 2011? If it was 2011 it turned out really nice. Al Battista will know this for sure.

  22. Dave O'Brien permalink
    October 10, 2013

    Last year we had the Primitivo that came in with a Ph of 4.2 and now tastes like a Rhone!

  23. Dan Lodico permalink
    October 10, 2013

    Regarding this year’s Malbec, I should say something: due to the logistics of me being so far away, I did not take possession of my Malbec until 6 days after pressing, and did not rack off the gross lees until 7 days.

    In addition to that, there were a lot more gross lees than I usually get after a Westchester Club Triple filtered pressing. So I suspect strongly that if I had racked 24 hours or 48 hours after pressing, mine would not stink the way it does.
    Live and learn, and now I get to learn about the “Blue Bomb”.

  24. Gene Fiorot permalink*
    October 10, 2013

    Dave you are correct the H2S was a problem in 2011 not 12 and for Dan’s edification it was much worse than the Malbec by miles. Al reported today his smells fine after the same he had racking as Dave had the first time. I have not opened my tank. I am afraid. LOL!

    As far as the 2011 Old Vine Zinfandel I never thought I would drink it and like it even though we did address the problem at the time. It just was not right if you know what I mean. A funny thing happened the other day I grabbed a bottle for dinner with out thinking and I really enjoyed it. After dinner I went to the cellar to see what the heck did I take from an opened case. To my surprise it was the 2011 Zinfandel. Patience is the lesson I take from this as a winemaker.

    As far as Dave’s reference to the 2012 Primitivo reminding him of a Rhone I can possibly offer an explanation. We did add quite a bit of tartaric acid post Fermentation to try to lower the PH which was too high. Having made many wines from Central Valley where we added tremendous amounts of tartaric the result was a thinning of the body of the wine on the pallet. Many of those wines were thin in nature. Partially of course due to the lack of structure of the grapes and the addition of the tartaric. Not having at that time good Petite Sirah or Petite Verdot did not allow us a good fix. In a word we were quite accustomed to making Rhone Zins. However that is not the case now, not only do we get excellent Lanza Zin most years rain made 2012 not so good, we also have the ability to call on structured blenders to make up for what is lacking. I will admit doing so may take the Zin character out of the picture somewhat but the result could be a more pleasing wine to the taster who is looking for that BIG mouth body.

    I have to laugh about all of this because my yet to be barreled GSM a true traditional Langduedoc-Roussillon style predominate Grenache based wine is so elegant it has exceeded my expectations I would finally be able to create this type of wine. Frank Musto deserves the credit for working over 2 years to source for me the Grenache Noir. Having said this I am afraid Dave would say it is a bit thin. Elegance is sometimes better than a 500 pound gorilla.

  25. Al Battista permalink
    October 10, 2013

    Gene, It was the Old Vine Zin 2011 that we added the reduless too. right now it is drinking well. As far as the 2013 Malbec. , I racked it once and right now ,taking a good whiff from the carboy it seems to be fine also. Fingers crossed. I remember the 2010 Bio-Bio Malbec from Chile which to this day was one of my favorites ( Gold Metal Winner) I don’t know, if after this years Malbec becomes a first class wine we can convince Gene to make a Malbec again.( yeah right).

  26. Gaetano permalink
    October 11, 2013

    Ok, I have to ask…what is the blue bomb?…lol Sounds like something that should be in my war chest!
    I received the Lanza Sangiovese, the numbers are good, it one freakin sweet grape, the Brix 4 hrs after crush are 28, TA is 6.0 and the SO2 is a little low, and easy fix.
    I decided to let them cold soak out on my back porch, temps will be in the mid 40’s.

    I am a little disappointed with the order as a whole, I was and still am a bit surprised, as I haven’t had any problems in the past, unfortunately, I set up a group buy and a few guys received a mystery Pinot Noir that was not impressive to say the least, too many issues for a 2 pallet order.
    I am not going to trash anyone, I am a business owner and I wouldn’t want it done to me, and I will respect this blog and not become a ranting pain in the ass, however, being told “that’s just how it is going to be” when I was trying to get to the bottom of a few serious issues doesn’t seem right, unfortunately, I wasn’t connected to the man in charge, I’m sure that he wouldn’t have been pleased at all.

    Anyway, back to wine making, at least the Lanza Sangiovese were premium quality.


  27. Gene Fiorot permalink*
    October 11, 2013

    CuSo4 Copper Sulfate is used to eliminate HsS Hydrogen Sulfide from wine in a safe percentage solution. It is blue colored liquid. Hence the Blue Bomb.

    I think you meant to say your PH was a little low???? What was it? At 28 brix I think you will have to Saignee or simply water down.

  28. Dan Lodico permalink
    October 11, 2013

    “elegance” and “500 lb gorillas”…when we were tasting the wines in your back yard the other day, Al and I were talking about how we were tasting them out of plastic cups, with no food, and they were still pretty darn amazing (except for one 2010 Malbec we won’t get into).

    We were comparing that experience to the experience of tasting the same wine, in the evening, over a nice meal. Even better!

  29. Zac Brown permalink
    October 11, 2013

    Gene ,
    I’d love to make a gsm but have never been able to get good Grenache .

    Can you tell me a bit more about it?
    Did you get good Mourvèdre too?

    I can get fantastic Washington Syrah but can’t find the other two.


  30. Glenn permalink
    October 11, 2013


    two mountain has all 3, problem is they are harveted 3 weeks apart. you can get fresh grenache and syrah and use frozen mourvedre and cinsult.

    i did an old vine grenache and used lodi for the other 3 this year. seems nice but only time will tell.

  31. Gaetano permalink
    October 11, 2013

    The Ph is 3.59, and yes, I need to add water, 28 is a bit much. Thanks to the cool night, I had it outside on the porch, I’m making adjustments and hopefully adding yeast.

  32. Gene Fiorot permalink*
    October 12, 2013

    Zac Fraink Musto after a 2-3 year prodding obtained these grapes from Paso Robles. The percentage was 67 % Grenache 23 % Syrah 10% Mourvedre. I wanted the old wine Carignane dry farmed from Suisin but it dried out on the vine. I did Saignee 15% on the Grenache. Made a Rose which took awhile coming around has finally arrived. I have made the Paso Robles Petite verdot and have come to expect a consistent quality.

  33. Dave O'Brien permalink
    October 12, 2013

    WOW what a day. Pressed quite a bit of wine, followed by a home cooked meal made by Gene and a tasting that included some fabulous wines. A couple of 500lb gorillas and a few elegant, sophisticated varietals…

    And what did we eat you may ask…

    Sausage and peppers stuffed into a pepper and served on a crusty roll; stuffed veal and beef meetballs, and stuffed rigatoni with a light tomato sauce. Absolutely delicious.

    Thanks Gene, the highlight of a very fast season!!!

  34. Gene Fiorot permalink*
    October 12, 2013

    @ Gaetano. You said you made an group order and then you say other guys received grapes. I assume you did not ferment the entire order. Let me give you some advice. Don’t. We buy tons of grapes but it is only us who deal with them. I have learned there are too many cry babies who look for every excuse to cover there lack of ability making wine. Having said that there is no year that is perfect in every aspect. We are dealing with the product of farming. Actually Frank Musto has spoiled us because year after year we get perfect fruit then something is not perfect and we are jarred back to reality. This year has been as perfect as it gets. Perfect? Well where is my Lanza Petite Verdot? Guess what it ain’t happening. Why? It ain’t getting ripe not this year anyway. So now what? I need 1/2 ton. Oh there is Paso Robles Petite Verdot. Ah great but the price is significantly higher. What do I do? I suck it up. Anyway I kinda don’t mind because I have made the Paso PV many times before and it is good. I guess the point is be responsible for your own operation. I don’t think there is an upside to a group buy or a necessity for one unless you are all a great distances from M&M. I for one would not want to be responsible for other people getting grapes why would you. Imagine how Frank Musto sleeps at night during season.

  35. Glenn permalink
    October 12, 2013

    well gene sometimes you say things without knowing. i am one of the cry babies that were not provided what was paid for. i ordered lanza pinot, which i ordered last year, which turned out fantastic. this year i was told i wasnt getting it, that it wasnt ordered, yet it was written on the packing slip on the pallets that were delivered. i was supplied unlabeled boxes of pinot that i ws first told was Lodi, then told was potter valley when i complained about not getting, nor being informed of the change from lanza. the grapes were going moldy, ph was 4.05 before enzyme, so I could have done better with just about any other pinot even those from CV.

  36. Gaetano permalink
    October 13, 2013

    Yes, I was fortunate to get the Lanza Sangiovese which were great, as Glenn said, the Pinot was complete garbage.
    I’ll never set up a group buy again, I feel crappy that they got very poor grapes that were not marked in any way.
    I tried to set this up for the small Wine club that we all belong to, a way to get everyone together, this was supposed to be fun.
    The part that really got me pissed was being told “that’s just the way it is going to be” when I asked about the Pinot and when I asked why the shipping was almost twice what I was told.
    There is sooo much more to this, I’d be happy to tell you about it in person one day, I’m sure that you would be a little surprised, but even though I put out a bunch of cash to cover the change in pricing at the last moment, I am glad to be out from under this buy.


  37. Gene Fiorot permalink*
    October 13, 2013

    Well Glenn when did you enter the conversation? First you have it wrong I only say what I know nothing more and nothing less. You seem to have another problem.

  38. Gene Fiorot permalink*
    October 13, 2013

    Thanks Dave! I am glad you enjoyed the lunch

  39. Gaetano permalink
    October 13, 2013

    I didn’t want this to cause any grief, this group order caused a good deal of stress.
    The guys that ordered Pinot got the short end of the stick and ultimately, I was the guy who was gung ho about getting a few guys together and placing a group order, it was my responsibility.
    This should have been fun, like I said in a previous post, I would be more than happy to tell you exactly what happened, I’m sure that you would be a bit surprised, but until I speak with frank and hear what he has to say about this, I’ll keep it off the forums.


  40. Glenn permalink
    October 13, 2013


    as gaetano mentioned, i’ll talk to you one day in person at one of the wine competitions

  41. Dave O'Brien permalink
    October 13, 2013

    Gene, Saignee to overcome high brix? I understood Saignee as something to pull off juice to help improve the skin to juice ratio and improve concentration and color. I also have read that others, especially commercial vineyards do this to actually make a rose and use a single varietal to make two different wines. Is the goal to remove juice and simply replace it with water? I guess in theory this would leave the skins etc in the must so as to help the concentration as opposed to simply adding water and diluting the juice. Am I getting warm?

    Thanks for helping to understand…

  42. Dan Lodico permalink
    October 14, 2013

    Back to my stinky Malbec:

    I’m at .15ppm, hopefully sneaking up on the endpoint. The bench trial indicated I should be getting close. I added the the Ascorbic on Thursday, and the first .1ppm on Friday. I gave it the weekend to work.
    Smell was reduced on Sunday Evening, but not gone by any means, so I added .05ppm last night. This morning it seems improved again, but my reading indicates I should give it a few days to continue to work before deciding for or against more additions.

    The only place I came across any suggestions to try to improve the “deadening” of the wine from the copper addition was on forums, primarily WP. Most of the threads were over 5 years old. Zac’s most recent Rx that I could find was to add Noblesse, let it sit for 6 months, and then rack it off the sediment.

    Is that still the current recommendation? It will be interesting to taste this wine in a few years next to yours, Gene, and see what all of this has done.

  43. Gene Fiorot permalink*
    October 14, 2013

    @ Dave there are 3 uses for Saignee. 1. To increase density in a desired wine by increasing skin ratio. 2. To reduce brix by drawing off juice and replacing it with water and not alter the skin ratio. 3. To make a rose wine as well as making a dark red wine from the same crush.

    @ Dan and All of Our Stinky Malbec. There are a lot of techniques to deal with H2S. Some can be quite creative. Once yours truly got a 50 foot coil of copper tubing and pumped the wine through the coil a few times. Seemed like a good idea. Except it didn’t work. Then you hear about guys stirring with a Copper Pipe. That never worked for me either.

    If you want to make a science project out of the entire affair that is fine but my experience tells me this. When it smells up a room there is a problem you need to deal with in not so gentle terms. The most important thing to do is do SOMETHING early. Earlier the Better. At this stage Ascorbic Acid probably is not necessary but it won’t hurt anything so I don’t see the downside other than spending valuable time. Me, I called in the Air Force yesterday and Blue Bombed the Tank. I also went to a level of CuSo4 that I am comfortable with. I won’t use more. So if it doesn’t work I will lab test the wine and see the copper level and decide if I can add more. I did not add half as I usually would do because anytime I have used it I always add the second half anyway. But if I was not going to be traveling I would have added half. If you are using PI Wine 1 % solution 40 drops per 5 gallons is the most I will use without a lab test. SO start at 20 drops is my advice.

    Ok so now we can talk about Reduless which I used 2 years ago with success. But that wine had no where near the problem this one has. As far as racking after the copper usage, I am going to let MLF finish if it can with all the rackings so far and then use either Noblesse, Opti Red or Live Yeast to fine the wine and absorb some copper.

    As far as tasting in a few years, the way I feel about this wine I have serious doubts it will ever get to a bottle. And that is a shame.

  44. Dan Lodico permalink
    October 14, 2013

    Wow, Gene, I was under the impression that your Malbec and everyone else’s was doing OK after the first racking. I was blaming my stinky on the fact that I didn’t rack it off the gross lees within 48 hours of pressing.
    I’m sneaking up on it a bit at a time, we’ll see where I wind up. I’m not going away so I can afford to sneak up on it.

    I am still hopeful that this will see a bottle some day.

  45. Zac Brown permalink
    October 14, 2013

    I’m not a fan of Sangee and replacing with water to reduce brix.
    I never know what to do with the very high brix rose drawn off . You just can’t make a nice crisp rose from it.

    If the grapes have any raisining or dehydration you already have a higher skins ratio .
    Even if you don’t , I still don’t Sangee .

    I add in my acidulated water and a 50% stronger than standard dose of enzymes to suck everything out of the skins .
    It might not be textbook but it works for me.

  46. Zac Brown permalink
    October 14, 2013

    Dan ,

    Post cuso4 , If there is no sign of h2s , I’d add the noblesse ( or booster rouge or optired) gently stir up the wine every couple of days for a week to circulate it .
    Let it settle for a week and rack it carefully and add a fresh dose of noblesse then age as normal (in barrel or inert container)


  47. Gene Fiorot permalink*
    October 14, 2013

    Well the textbook and actual practice can be at odds Zac but truth be told when I have had to reduce brix I just add water like you. I did a Saignee on my latest GSM we were talking about about 10 % I wanted to add to the structure not knowing if the Grenache was up to the task. It was anyway. But I made a Rose as well for fun.

    @ Dan Sometimes when faced with H2S the Winemaker finds it easier to turn of the olfactory receptors and proceed with wishful thinking then deal with the problem. There is always a rude awakening when this doesn’t work. AND I never thought your delay of racking for a few days made any difference than ours. It obviously didn’t.

  48. Dan Lodico permalink
    October 14, 2013

    Thanks, Gents! I shall proceed.

  49. Anatoli permalink
    October 14, 2013

    I did the same experiment, as Dan. seems like just an addition of CuSO4 helped with the stinky aroma. I did 0.3ppm addition to a 300ml sample and 2 days later the smell is still there, reduced though. I added another 0.2ppm, I’ll see what would happen in few days.
    I’m glad I come across this problem now. Adds to my experience.
    I want to ask if you detected this smell during fermentation at all, or it came up during MLF?

  50. Dave O'Brien permalink
    October 14, 2013


    Since we are in the process of establishing MLF do you wait for MLF to be completed or proceed now. I know racking can inhibit MLF. My thoughts are to add the CUSO4 now and leave it alone until after MLF is complete, than add the Optired or Noblesse prior to a normally scheduled racking. Thanks for your thoughts…

  51. Gene Fiorot permalink*
    October 14, 2013

    The fermentation was not pleasant. Not that it was bad or there signs of H2S, it just did not have that wonderful smell you get accustomed to. At one point I thought I smelled Pickles then maybe Sauerkraut but so slightly you couldn’t be sure. But I know better about those two smells and I began to get worried. Then towards the end it was better. I hit it with Fermaid O at 10 brix and it completed. We pressed and we again were not happy but we didn’t press to H2S either. As we pumped in the distribution tank we started to pick it up. Then after it was in a Carboy for 24 hours it was pretty pronounced. I told everyone to go home and rack in the next 48 hours. When some of the guys did this they reported the wine stinking up the cellar. And it remained like that after the first racking.

    @ Dave None of those products will interfere with MLF and to remind you the MLF is well on its way since the bacteria was added at 18 brix. For now you do what you want. If you rack and stop MLF the worst thing is buying a new culture. The downside is if the MLF is stopped the wine is not protected by the CO2. Are your carboys still showing MLF activity? It is hard for me to judge in a tank. I don’t see the benefit of racking again at this point as you have removed all the gross lees.

  52. Gene Fiorot permalink*
    October 14, 2013

    I ordered 240 grams of Noblesse today. Enough for the Club Problem. It will be on Kimball in a few days. Forward we march! And to make you feel a little better I opened the tank today and there was only a slight trace of H2S. Making this 5 o’clock Martini taste wonderful. But let the tinkerers tinker this is what they live for. Simplicity I say!!! Simplicity! No Al this does not mean I am making Chilean Grapes again, I am not THAT excited.

  53. Gaetano permalink
    October 14, 2013

    Here is where I’m going to ask for your help, my Sangiovese was at 28 Brix as per the refractometer, how much water would you add to get it down to 25 brix, we are looking at a small 7 lug batch of wine.
    I saw that Zac referenced Acidulated Water, I am clueless at this point, please explain.
    Thanks in advanced.

  54. Dave O'Brien permalink
    October 14, 2013

    Yes…lots of micro bubbles rising up the neck of all Malbec carboys.

    Enjoy the martini – Cheers!!!

  55. Gene Fiorot permalink*
    October 14, 2013

    First use a hydrometer. I have more confidence in them after a crush for 24 hours. I wouldn’t water down to 25 from 28 I would be more likely to only go down to 26. You want to add water with tartaric added to is so when you water down you don’t lower the TA and raise the PH . So you add acid to the water. But we need to know your TA at this time . If we guess it is .60 which is a good place to start then 1.35 gallons of water and 33 grams of tartaric. Use half test and add the other half later.

  56. Al Battista permalink
    October 14, 2013

    M-m-m-m-m , how could I get gene excited enough to make Chilean Malbec next year…Oh no no way…
    Oh well no Chilean grapes next year. LOL

  57. Gene Fiorot permalink*
    October 14, 2013

    Let me check the math on that as I am leaving for dinner

  58. Dan Lodico permalink
    October 14, 2013

    Hey Al, what’s your Malbec smell like?

  59. Zac Brown permalink
    October 15, 2013

    Acidulated water is simply water with tartaric acid dissolved in in.
    I use 7 grams per Litre as a default

  60. Gene Fiorot permalink*
    October 15, 2013

    Let’s see 7 grams per litre times for equals a gallon 28 grams plus .35 gallons an additional 5 grams. Wow the math works. LOL 33 grams close enough. Maybe a little shy LOL better be shy.

  61. Gaetano permalink
    October 15, 2013

    Gene & Zac, Thanks!!
    I appreciate the advice.


  62. Al Battista permalink
    October 15, 2013

    Just took a whiff of the Malbec, Smells OK to me.

  63. Gaetano permalink
    October 15, 2013

    Gene and all,
    The issue that we had with our group order has been resolved, I am impressed with the concern and willingness to resolve any issue that we had.
    My hat is off to the man in charge!

  64. Zac Brown permalink
    October 16, 2013

    You gotta be flexable I guess.

    My Sangiovese and Pinot noir fell through , as did my drum of reisling .
    But my grape broker came through for use big time.

    She got us a half tonne of two mountains cab , half tonne of merlot and 500 lbs of cab franc .

    We pick it up Friday it was picked today .

    Then she calls me up. One of her client wineries couldn’t fit a tote of Muscat canelli on .
    So she said if I want it she will give me the deal of the year .

    I called my Folks ( we split all costs and production 50 50) and they said go for it.

    So looks like my cellar which has no white wine in it will have 20 cases of dry muscat in it next summer .

    I made muscat canelli once before , it’s similar to sauv blanc .

    So Friday Dad and I drive down to pick it up in Yakima
    Can’t wait!

  65. Zac Brown permalink
    October 16, 2013

    The tote is settled clarified and sulfited juice . 100 ish gallons .

  66. Anatoli permalink
    October 16, 2013

    I smelled the Malbec with 0.5ppm Copper treatment. It smelled OK. Perhaps the dose could be lowered, I did go from 0.3 to 0.5ppm in one step.

    Zac, could you share your plan with Muscat like you did with Merlot on FB. I am more interested in how you approach settling and arrangements for residual sugar, if you plan on having it off-dry. Thanks!!!

  67. Dan Lodico permalink
    October 16, 2013

    Anatoli, I am at .3ppm and it’s real close. Gave it the most recent .05ppm last night. It’s so close that at this point I think it’s worth giving it a couple of days before deciding on another .05ppm.

    The residual odor is more of earthy than sulfury.

    Noblesse is on the way from Morewine.

  68. Dan Lodico permalink
    October 16, 2013

    Has anyone reading this made any of M&M’s offerings from Washington? Looks like we have a high pH issue with Malbec, Pinot, Petit Sirah (that’s all I’m into this year, so far, still waiting on Napa Cab and Merlot),
    so I’m thinking about grabbing something with some acidity for blending. Looks like, from the website, that with the harvest hitting them so hard and heavy, and so quickly, they haven’t been able to keep the harvest information up-to-date.

    if i get a chance, I’ll call them today.

  69. Gene Fiorot permalink*
    October 16, 2013

    Good For you Zac ! Nice Score. Flexibility is the lesson for all.

    @ Gaetano, I am not in the least surprised. Good for you. They are the best in the business and it is for a reason.

  70. Gene Fiorot permalink*
    October 16, 2013

    @ Dan I have not made Washington Grapes as they are usually a late arrival. SO if there was to be an attempt to make them it would have to be an add on batch, not one I would be counting on as necessary for covering existing barrels.

  71. Anatoli permalink
    October 16, 2013

    I have to make a correction to my reporting. The sample I was dealing with was a topping wine and was stored in a fridge. That one was really stinky. I then opened 10L demi to do a trial on and to my surprise smell was just detectable and after few swirls in a glass I could not smell it.
    So I am a bit confused now about what to do – just leave it for another couple of month after racking or treat with a small copper before it becomes something else….

  72. Zac Brown permalink
    October 16, 2013

    I’ll make most of the muscat as a dry wine . But if I was making a sweet one I would use the sussreserve method . For each carboy of wine you take one or two Litres of unfermented juice and freeze it .
    When you 6 gallon carboy of white wine is clear and done , you thaw the juice , add sorbate to the juice and 1/2 tsp of kmeta . Pour the juice in an empty carboy and rack your wine into it .
    If after a couple months under airlock the wine is still cloudy , fine with bentonite , cold stabilize and rack.
    Keep your so2 right.

    I’m going to make ten cases of sparkling using the encapsulated yeast method and I’ll make a carboy of white port using the sugar feeding method .

    I’ll blend the white port with a carboy of red port and some grappa to make a South African style cape tawny port and barrel age it for a few years.

  73. Gene Fiorot permalink*
    October 16, 2013

    What ever it is, whether you smell it today or not, you know one thing. You have H2S. End of Message. If you wait to treat you will only have more problems, some not possibly fixable. I am amazed from all the report from those with this wine how the same wine goes from fine to stinky to fine to maybe a trace to it is terrible and back to being fine all in one week without any treatment. It truly must be a miracle or people need Afrin.

  74. Zac Brown permalink
    October 16, 2013

    I agree with Gene 100% if you smell h2s then it goes away without any intervention . It will come back worse .
    You need to treat it .

  75. Gene Fiorot permalink*
    October 16, 2013

    Zac, unlike most this is the Ghost of H2S Past. Is it here or not or is there a bit of wishful thinking going on? A strange one indeed for me who doesn’t usually have H2S problems. Detected off odor at crush, racked after 24 hours it was not really there. Racked out of carboys to a tank 4 days later and it stunk up the room. But I was not surprised since during the fermentation there were a variety of odors on the odor wheel coming off. Everyday was a new odor. LOL Is it possible to smell Celery?

  76. Proud Puppy permalink
    October 16, 2013

    @ Dan: I don’t know if all the fruit is representative of the same pH, but my Atlas Peak Merlot was a bit low on pH and still near perfect fruit otherwise. I know the APM gene said you guys used was 3.5 or 3.6, but mine was uniform at around 3.2 to 3.3 and steadied at 3.3 or so after soak. Blended with 10 % Petite Sirah, which is always a little high 3.7 to 3.8 and endednup at 3.45 to 3.5 for the APM and 10% APM and 90% Petite Sirah was 3.6. Both are superb blends so far. I usually put 5% after AF anyway in alot of my Merlots and sometimes even alittle in Cabs to give some fruit complexity, so this is not really out of line. I will have a similar profile to past blendings which I like. The Merlot will easily do the trick for you and does not have too different a profile

  77. Will H permalink
    October 16, 2013

    I was directed to your site over the weekend during our local crush. I noticed many names I remember from WinePress. Anyway, I bring in grapes from CA and from what I can tell some of the labels and varieties are purchased by your group. For the past few years I have purchased either Napa Cabernet Sauvignon from Delta Packing. This year I purchased the Atlas Peak and am hoping someone in your group may have done the same. My testing shows BRIX of 26.2, pH of 3.97 and TA of 3.675 g/L. The Brix are within what I have seen in the past. The pH and TA were well off from typical. I don’t know if was this year, the grapes I received, or what. Did anyone purchase any of these grapes and, if so, would they share their results? I’m used to adding acid. I’ll saignee and replace to lower the Brix. The tartaric needed is more than I’m comfortable adding now. However, I would like to get the pH down to at least 3.6.
    Just fishing for information on this grape and whether I’m in this boat. Interestingly I also got Atlas Peak merlot and the pH is 3.43 with a TA of 4.42.

    Love your site and Thanks.

  78. Proud Puppy permalink
    October 16, 2013

    @ Gene: it is possible to smell many vegetables, and to differ from day to day. H2S easily shifts back and forth to Mercaptans and you can smell less or more of any entity from day to day. Blow off a little H2S, it smells great, then equilibrium shift draws from mercaptan and then to H2S again, and smell increases. N eed to treat to eliminate it for sure

  79. Gene Fiorot permalink*
    October 16, 2013

    @ Will Our Atlas Peak Merlot was 26 brix and 3.61 PH at Crush. I did not do a TA. You certainly have lots of room to raise if your TA is .36

  80. Proud Puppy permalink
    October 16, 2013

    @ Will, I am picking up Atlas Peak Cab on Monday and will report back on my #s. The TA is tweakable, but I would let it equilibrate a day or two and see it could move up a little not likely to move down(pH) and reverse for TA.
    What ever your Calculations, start with 1/3 the amount of Tartaric and wait then test. Don’t bring TA much above .50 to .55 and go by a taste test after AF , to see if more needed.

    PH 3.67 is easily gonna come down to 3.6 or 3.55 with a small Tartaric addition, and that range is ideal. I would take fruit with those values in a second. No worries there!

    Adjusting a slight tweak after AF is not a big deal. Don’t go to .6 or .65 prior. I will let you know my #s asap

  81. Gene Fiorot permalink*
    October 16, 2013

    Puppy he said 3.97 ph his ta was .37 expressed as 3.67

  82. Proud Puppy permalink
    October 16, 2013

    At estimated 2 gm/L needed nor 8gm/Gal don’t add more than .7 gm/L or 2.75 gm/Gal of your must volume on the first addition. If close after waiting a few hrs and thorough mixing add half or less of that amount and after waiting again retest. Real easy to Calculate and then over Acidify..happens all the time.

  83. Proud Puppy permalink
    October 16, 2013

    Misread that. Yeah plenty of room but again, still try to stay below your goal … maybe go in at .60 to .65 TA and your pH may be at 3.65 to 3.7. A good strong Cab with a slightly higher SO2 maintenance level sholld not have a problem at all. Stay in a reasonable taste zone with a more manageable pH , not lemon juice with a textbook 3.55 or 3.6 pH.

  84. Gene Fiorot permalink*
    October 16, 2013

    “Stay in a reasonable taste zone with a more manageable pH , not lemon juice with a textbook 3.55 or 3.6 pH. – See more at:” My fear indeed, Lemon juice.

  85. Dan Lodico permalink
    October 16, 2013

    Actually, I have some Las Amigas Merlot from last year which is pretty acidic. I’m planning on using that to bring some of these pHs down.

    I am pretty sure the way it got that low was my tartaric addition, when I watered back from a high Brix. I did the calculation, added half, and got lemon juice.

    Also @ Puppy, I am getting a little bit of Atlas Peak in a few weeks. We had it crushed & frozen by M&M for logistical reasons. I’m curious to see what the numbers are for that.

  86. Proud Puppy permalink
    October 16, 2013

    @ Will re read again (a little slow this week! Why do you want to lower the Brix ? 26 is fine unless you like making 23 to 23.5 old world style wines. I would think doing a saignee is the last thing to do also as far as then replacing with acidulated water, as this would require even more Tartaric.
    It is ok if you want to get higher skin to juice ratio, and in that case not replacing volume. you would need less tartaric but only because of less volume.
    Not adding volume back, but having the higher ratio of skins with the potassium buffering might even give a higher pH.
    Don’t saignee j.ust add the Tartaric.

  87. Gene Fiorot permalink*
    October 16, 2013

    Puppy slow? Wow there is an admittance I would not expect. Puppy where have you been? 26 scares the shit out of people. How funny, as all our grapes this year, ALL OF THEM, with exception of the Lanza Gamay all came in between 25.5 and 26 at crush. AND there is not a distilled water shortage in Yonkers New York as a result. As Paul Gatti says BALLS TO THE WALL. WOO HOO! Tip from me. Reach 88 during fermentation and you blow off 2 percentage points of Alcohol. Check out the Brix Chart here.

  88. Proud Puppy permalink
    October 16, 2013

    24 worries me! 26 is in the same boat for my ideal but that has to come with good extraction thick skins and good acid and tannin structure. Might end up rocket fuel if using CV fruit though .
    Maybe they are used to that “style”. I’ll take all the 26 you got!

  89. Gene Fiorot permalink*
    October 16, 2013

    Your Damm right but when did you ever have CV fruit over 24. Not me. ( CV = Central Valley the Choice of NO CHOICE. In other words invest in Sugar Futures.

  90. Proud Puppy permalink
    October 16, 2013

    Even so Gene, I can see ameliorating at 26.2 if the brix scares you, but the man said saignee, which is what I am questioning in his post. I don’t see why he wants to saignee a Napa Cab which is likely going to give a good extraction and not have any weakness in the density or color saturation arena. It may just complicate the low acid problem. Amelioration is the best choice if you want to drop brix along with boost acid.

  91. Proud Puppy permalink
    October 16, 2013

    Gene, alot came in above 24, but only because it sat around so long and was dehydrated! Maybe it started out at 23 but not by the time I got em LOL!!

  92. Gaetano permalink
    October 16, 2013

    Which yeast would you suggest for a Washington Cab Sav? I’m leanin g toawards VRB or BDX, but I haven’t use either so I don’t know what to expect beyond what I’ve read on the Lallemand website.
    Any advice is appreciated.


  93. Gene Fiorot permalink*
    October 17, 2013

    Yes Puppy the Bump up Feature. LOL @ Gaetano Want a Steady Eddie use BDX in a hurry pick another. Who said? I am a poet hope I don’t blow it. Come on fellas who said that in a song?

  94. Gaetano permalink
    October 17, 2013

    Bob Dylan said “I’m a poet, and I know it, Hope I don’t blow it. ”
    Steady Eddie works for me, thanks again Gene,
    I hope I can return the advice one day.


  95. Gene Fiorot permalink*
    October 17, 2013

    Yes he did say that!!!!

  96. Rocco permalink
    October 17, 2013

    Let me ask you about last years Koch Puppy,Did you get the hose out for that?I sure did hitting almost 29 brixs.Also did a saignee with it and happy I did.It was a great hit over the summer.It took 26 days to get the 540lbs to 0 brixs.PITA thought it was stuck the whole time!!!@Gaetino best cab franc wine I ever made was Washington state.Great grapes to work with really good cab from two mountain.

  97. Gene Fiorot permalink*
    October 18, 2013

    @ Rocco To start Mine was not 29 brix but I can understand as I pressed the Lake County Cab with a very healthy Cap , It hurt the winemaker in me to do it, but their are compromises we make for all sorts of reasons. If I could have I would have wanted a few more days. So 26 day, do tell what yeast you were using and what was the brix drop when reaching plus 1 and on to day 26. I would be in a panic as well but a healthy thick cab would have been my Xanex. Now I hope you understand your report on Cab Franc from Washington State will have the resulting effect of the Club next year making Cab Franc. Especially if Joey Rockland reads this, which their is a good chance he will not, but his cousin Dave will probably let the Cat out of the Bag. Ya think? Hmmmm. Due to delivery times, if they happen at all, as an add on varietal it is time we tried a Washington State Grape anyway.

  98. Al Battista permalink
    October 18, 2013

    OK per Gene’s advise I bought some 1% Copper sulfate solution for my Malbec.. The odor comes and goes BUT, I LISTEN TO MY MENTOR…. I guess When I started making wine I was lucky.. Crushed, Pressed, Barreled & Bottled . No So2 problems etc. Gene says I had it easy then this is how it was in the old days, Oh well, Downstairs to stir my wine.

  99. Dan Lodico permalink
    October 18, 2013

    Al, why the copper sulfate? I thought your Malbec smelled “nice”.

  100. Dave O'Brien permalink
    October 18, 2013

    Management needs to decide how many varietals we are making…remember boss! That said, I hear Washington is a beautiful state this time of year…I am sure their grapes are fabulous. My blue bomb was delivered today. Will wait until Saturday when I can think straight to make sure I only add the prescribed number of drops. I hear Jameson makes one not hear so good nor follow directions.

    Anthony. Where is the martini glass icon. We need to keep track of how serious we should take these posts after a certain number of icons.

    On a serious note, with the exception of the Gamay everything seems to be moving along with a lot of activity in the carboys at 75 degrees. The Gamay pressed completely dry so perhaps we are just taking our time getting the MLF bugs going! That’s what I hear anyway…

  101. Dave O'Brien permalink
    October 18, 2013


    Per the previous posts I think the odor is coming and going. When I open my carboys they smell pretty harmless. Stir a little, pretty much the same. Take some out into a glass and give it a swirl and it has a pretty good odor. In with the Copper!

  102. Rocco permalink
    October 18, 2013

    @Gene bdx was the yeast I used.Brought it down to 26brixs to start.Of course added 26 grams of tartaric to each gallon of water I added.3days from 1 to 0 brix.Thats right thick cap let me know it was still fermenting slow,pressed at 0.I thought it could of stayed a few more days.Just thank full it went this far so I pressed it at 0.As far as your h2s on the malbec.I had the worst experience of h2s on my 2010Petite Sirah.Stunk up the garage during fermenting.After pressing stuck up the whole house.I think it was my fault for the high heat it was fermenting at.So I added reduless after racking of the gross less.Waited 72 hours racked the wine.The stink was unbearable.Racked the wine again after 2 days.Added the minimal amount of reduless agian.Still stuck after 72 hours.My mind was playing tricks on me.Does it stink or not?What the fuck,everyone that came in 5 feet of this wine was freeking out.I was not going to use the blue bomb…I racked this wine for the next 2-3 weeks.Pissed off thinking I was going to dump it.It took months before I realized the smell was gone and I let it age a year in my oak barrel.It has won double gold and the best wine I have ever drank next to my brothers Malbec, sirah from chilian grapes.CHEERS!!!

  103. Rocco permalink
    October 18, 2013

    On another note this is why I do not like to pitch the mlc into the must untill after pressing.You never know how much racking you need to do.Mlf is hard to get through with all that racking and tinkering!!!

  104. Gaetano permalink
    October 18, 2013

    Gene & Rocco,
    Thanks! I just got done cleaning up the last of the mess from destemming by hand..BLAH…., and crushing the Yakima Valley Cab Sav. I took a quick brix reading, she is coming in at 26 brix, I’, exhausted, I’ll take PH, TA and SO2 readings tomorrow.
    Did I mention that destemming by hand sucks?!
    A day or so away from pressing the Lanza Sangiovese.
    ok….who called in the freakin fruit flies?


  105. Proud Puppy permalink
    October 18, 2013

    Yeah, Rocco, you and I were in the same boat with the Koch last yr. I had over 29 to start and ameliorated it (only had 3 lugs) didn’t go far enough and thought I was at 27 to 26, which I have never had a problem with before. It struggled with BDX and after 14 or 16 days was at 1.005 or 1.004. It looked like it needed pressing, and I thought it would reach finish line with a little help. Tastes like residual, but sugar test strips are showing no residual. maybe they are geared for glucose, not sucrose. Anyhow I think that is the first batch I admit to being complacent and screwing up. I tried a few measures and have pretty much given up on it and I’m glad it wasn’t all that big a loss. Not that it is bad, but not what I would feel ‘proud’ of having made, so into Sangria it goes! Will do fine for that next summer.

    I had the same problem as you with 2010 Petite as well! Really stunk up the entire floor of storage facility! I was sure I’d get nailed (no food storage allowed LOL). I felt like a pogo stick I punched down so much. None remained after done fermenting and adding a little extra nutrients. It ended up OK but not like 2011 or 2012 PS, and this years, OMG stupendous aromas coming off . This years has to be the best yet that I remember. Dropped the pH with a little Atlas Merlot blending in the Brute and is at 3.55 , and will probably end up at 3.6 to 3.65 after MLF. Violets, cloves and blackberries and blueberries wafting out of the brute. Really clean and pure aromas this year.

  106. Proud Puppy permalink
    October 18, 2013

    Gaetano, destemming by hand is not that bad, I do it every year. I like to not crush the berries, and do whole berry ferments. I have more control that way and things go a bit slower. Punching and a little more or less crushing while punching down mo0derates the speed a little.

    Gene can tell you my secret to not getting fruit flies, as I destem in a secret location. I think I was even caught off guard and photographed once! LOL Everything comes in to my fermenting area clean inside and out and no sticky lids or utensils or any grape matter is exposed. Not a single fly this year so far!

  107. Gaetano permalink
    October 18, 2013

    Proud Puppy, that is pretty impressive! I commend you on the cleanliness, I am a clean freak as well when it comes to wine making, unfortunately, something is attractive these PITA fruit flies…LOL!
    I like the idea of whole berry ferments, I was considering it but chickened out…lol, next season for sure.
    I started out destemming by hand thinking..”well, this isn’t so bad, beautiful day, nice breeze….I can blaze through these few lugs….by lug # 3, I cornered my son and my 74 yr old mother that is staying with us…LOL!… Needless to say, I don’t think that I’m her favorite child anymore…LMFAO!!!!
    I should have taken Glenn’s offer to follow him to his place and use his crusher/destemmer!


  108. Anatoli permalink
    October 18, 2013

    I wonder how much alcohol is evaporated during fermentation. Anyone got lab analysis done for ABV and compared to estimated based on sugar measurement?

  109. Proud Puppy permalink
    October 18, 2013

    Both water and alcohol evaporate, like it does in a barrel, only a bit faster as it is warmer, and not as closed off. Tthe wider the vessel is as compared to height and overall volume, the faster evaporation will happen.

    I would think you could lose in the area of up to 5% volume over a week or so give or take a percent or 2, and depending on how often punches are done, amnbient humidity and how open the vessel is. Typical losses if covered well are likely 2 percent or so. A simple cloth cover loses alot more than a semi tight lid.

    Alcohol is more volatile than water, so humidity will vary the ratio. It is like 60% alcohol and 40 % water in a 50% humidity environment I believe

  110. Gene Fiorot permalink*
    October 18, 2013

    AL Battista has been doing some home work and he surfaced this article by,

    “Dr. Murli R Dharmadhikari is an Extension Enologist, and Director of the Midwest Grape and Wine Industry Institute at Iowa State University. He has 30 years of work experience in Midwest grape and wine industry. He is a graduate of Ohio State University and worked as a commercial winemaker for 10 years at a 25,000 gallons winery in Indiana…..”,d.eWU

    He wrote the following…..

    Copper Sulfate Trial By Murli Dharmadhikari

    Hydrogen sulfide and other “sulfide-like” off aromas are commonly observed
    problems during fermentation. Sometimes these off odors are not very conspicuous
    and tend to mask the fresh and fruity aromas that one expects to find at the end
    of a sound fermentation.

    If lack of fruitiness or the presence of a slight dirty aroma in a young wine is
    a problem; then it is important to determine if such a problem is due to
    sulfides in the wine.

    One approach is to conduct a copper addition trial to determine if the off odor
    can be removed. Copper treatment of the wine is often helpful in removing
    unpleasant odors due to H2S and mercaptans. In case the copper treatment fails
    to remove the off odor, the problem may be some other factor and not the

    The procedure for conducting a copper addition trial is given below.

    The first step in copper treatment is to experimentally determine the amount of
    copper needed for wine treatment. This can be achieved by the following

    1. Prepare a 1% copper sulfate solution. To make this solution, weigh 1 gram of
    copper sulfate (CuSO4 ·5H2O), dissolve in a small amount of distilled water in a
    100 ml volumetric flask and bring to volume. Label this as 1% copper sulfate

    2. Prepare a 0.004% copper sulfate solution for the trial by pipeting 1.0 ml of
    1% copper sulfate solution into a 250 ml volumetric flask and bring the volume
    up to 250 ml with distilled water. Label this copper sulfate solution as “stock
    solution, 0.004% copper sulfate.” Be careful not to confuse the two copper
    sulfate solutions.

    3. Label five 100 ml volumetric flasks with numbers 1 through 5.

    4. Leave flask number one aside and pipet 0.5 ml, 1.0 ml, 1.5 ml, and 2.0 ml of
    0.004% copper sulfate solution into flasks numbered 2, 3, 4, and 5,

    5. Add wine to all the flasks to bring the volume to 100 ml. Mix the contents
    well. Close the flasks and leave for several hours. Not that 1 ml of 0.004%
    copper sulfate solution in 100 ml of wine equals 0.1 ppm of copper. The
    concentration of copper in various flasks will be as follows.

    6. After allowing some time (several hours or preferably overnight) for the
    copper to react with H2S, the samples should be ready for evaluation.

    7. To evaluate the improvement in aroma, the wine from flask #1 should be
    compared by sniffing, with wines from flask #2 through #5. The amount of copper
    to treat a wine can be determined by selecting the sample showing maximum aroma
    improvement (disappearance of H2S odor) with the least amount of copper added.

    If the copper addition of 0.05 to 0.2 ppm does not remove the objectionable
    odor, higher levels of copper up to 0.5 ppm can be tried. Most of the added
    copper will react with H2S and be lost in racking after the treatment. However,
    a small portion of it could remain in the wine. The vintner must make sure that
    the residual copper level in finished wine does not exceed 0.2 ppm.
    of the dirty and unpleasant H2S-like odor.

    I find this all interesting especially …Most of the added
    copper will react with H2S and be lost in racking after the treatment. However,
    a small portion of it could remain in the wine. The vintner must make sure that
    the residual copper level in finished wine does not exceed 0.2 ppm.

  111. Gene Fiorot permalink*
    October 18, 2013

    Those making the Rutherford Silver Sticks you may as well start to consider yourself Cameron Hughes. First there is no Silver Sticks Vineyard the name really is Silverado 6. And we certainly will not and cannot provide who is responsible for managing this vineyard for fear of it becoming Chop Sticks. I was thinking about calling it Golden Branches now I have to think of another name. Any ideas please share your thoughts. What I can tell you is the Sugar is 28 from the Lab Test in Napa. Wanna bet it is 30 at the crush. OH Boy what do we do with this? I can hear ZAC screaming already about high brix Napa Grapes. But heck we return to Rutherford yet again. The Grape Gods shine on us mere mortals.

  112. Glenn permalink
    October 19, 2013


    my bride would say it will make a great dessert wine. my white malvasia was 28 this year and she cant wait.

  113. Dan Lodico permalink
    October 19, 2013

    I’ve never made wine from 28, let alone 30. I’ll be reading these pages to see how you guys handle it.

  114. Al Battista permalink
    October 19, 2013

    SUGAR 30? Hey Gene get your Ass back to New York……HELP!!

  115. Glenn permalink
    October 19, 2013

    The malvasia cleared faster than any other white i’ve done. it is clearer than my chilean sauvigion blanc from spring. it’s going to be a great one, i also got 22 gallons from 7 lugs.

  116. Gene Fiorot permalink*
    October 19, 2013

    30 would be a first for me too. I will need some counsel if it is 30 I can assure you of that. A call to Rick Lanza is in order. He could have a few strategies for this. I hope. I would certainly rather not deal with it but it is the cards you a dealt. With all the talk of Saignee I wonder if this is the case for it. Zac said and I agree that adding water usually is all you need to do. But I wonder if it really ends up at 30 and there are no raisins we should consider doing it.
    To be sure it would be a serious decision especially at this level of per ton pricing.

    @ Glenn trust me the last thing we want is dessert wine.

  117. Jim Wallace permalink
    October 19, 2013

    Dan and Gene .. Re: the Malbec problem.
    As I mentioned earlier this year, I had done a half barrel of the ’13 Malbec and had noted a moderate developing H2S the last couple of days of the ferment. I pressed and racked off the gross lees within 24 hrs but the H2S was still there but reduced by the end of MaloL. I sent it to Barrel late June/early July and still found the H2S in the background a few weeks later. I was topping up this week and checked for the HS and it was no where to be found so 3-4 months in the barrel seemed to do it. Even checked one of my topup bottles for it and none to be found. Maybe time to rack and clean the barrel so it doesn’t pop up again.

  118. Dan Lodico permalink
    October 19, 2013

    Jim, your experience is very interesting. Everything I read says to jump on it early because later may be too late. I can tell you I am up to .4ppm copper sulfate and I still smell “something”….

  119. Anatoli permalink
    October 19, 2013

    In my 10L Malbec batch I found no stinky smell after 0.3ppm. I racked at the time as well. I will give it another sniff in a week. Meantime I decided to treat my barreled wine with 0.2ppm to start with, as the off aroma is there, not as pronounced though(2 months in a barrel).

    Has anybody got the brix numbers for “Russian river” pinot noir and Koch Cab? Hope it’s not as high as I read here. I expect a shipment of frozen grapes in 2 weeks.

  120. Proud Puppy permalink
    October 19, 2013

    Koch Ca was 26 to 26.5 and initial pH 355 drifted to 3.6 very dense, added like 1.5 to 2 liters to 3 lugs and it was good. Used acidulated H2O as these grapes seemed a little flat, and must by taste needed a little more acidity. No TA done , but have used this little tweak on these when needed. beautiful fruit …Really. This is one of the nicest years I recall.

  121. Gaetano permalink
    October 19, 2013

    My wife and Mother have a sweet tooth as well, they prefer wines on the sweeter end of the spectrum, I make sure to keep plenty of sweeter whites like Moscato, Riesling and Catawba in my rotation; if this is what it takes to keep my wife happy and tolerate my insanities, it’s a small price to pay…LOL

  122. Glenn permalink
    October 19, 2013


    the malvaisia tastes sweet, but is fermented dry. the first year i made it, the women love it, i didn’t.

    found a bottle in my wine fridge this spring from 2010, we had it with dinner. needless to say it was gone before dinner was, thats why i made it again this year. not a big white fan, but loved this grape.

  123. rst permalink
    October 21, 2013

    I posted numbers a while back that I got for the potter valley “russian river” pinot noir. They were; 24 brix, 3.39 pH, 5.2 TA.
    I was quite happy with the grapes and I am looking forward to how it develops. It was a lot more successful than my first go which was a chilean carmenere…. that one sure doesn’t lack any of the characteristic carmenere green flavor.

  124. Anatoli permalink
    October 21, 2013

    thank you RST, must have been lost in 100+ posts 🙂
    Did TA increase after fermentation was over?

  125. Gene Fiorot permalink*
    October 21, 2013

    Once a topic that got Marty Yule banned from was the observed event called. ” TA Rising Post Fermentation” If you search here you can actually read Marty documenting this phenomenon in 2008 when first making North Coast Fruit.

    Bottom line do not trust TA when making this fruit much less add tartaric at crush based on TA results.

  126. Jame permalink
    October 21, 2013

    I Bought Syrah from Yakima Valley WA the brix is 28, it’s have a beautiful color, i have no plan to reduce the brix not to reduce the body of the wine, i think if i will get 15% alcohol will it not be so bad, plus i plan to put it in an oak barrel

  127. Gene Fiorot permalink*
    October 21, 2013

    Welcome Jame to the Blog Please sign on with the same name and email address. This way you will not need further moderation of your comments.

    Well my comment is Jame is you must have some serious testosterone yeast, share your pick, Please.

  128. Jame permalink
    October 21, 2013

    i used Uvaferm 43, by the way i crushed 2 weeks ago Lanza Sangiovese the brix was about 30 i used the same yeast and yesterday i pressed it with -0.5 brix

    @Gene i tried to sign on yesterday with that name and email but no respond

  129. Gene Fiorot permalink*
    October 21, 2013

    Jame as you can see you needed no approval. I did not see your attempt to post until today.

    Uva Ferm 43 I am not familiar with this one. But your Lanza Sangiovese was really 30? Ours was 26. So let’s say for the purpose of learning. Is your Hydrometer accurate at the top?
    How about a 25 brix solution to test it.

  130. Jame permalink
    October 21, 2013

    i will tell you the truth i didn’t test it but i have used it for the Lake county Cab and it’s have show’n the same results as you post here so it’s sounds to me to be accurate, also i test it with a refractometer that was cal. and i have the same results

  131. Anatoli permalink
    October 22, 2013
    It is suggested that higher alcohol wine offsets sugar measurement.
    Does it taste dry?

  132. Jame permalink
    October 22, 2013

    i didn’t taste it yet but i will taste it tonight and i will let you know,
    but by the way it’s still fermenting so i hope it’s will get down even more

  133. Dan Lodico permalink
    October 22, 2013

    Jame, if I were you I’d take the time to calibrate your hydrometer. It is possible your Lanza-Musto Sangio is 30 Brix, but I think it’s more probable that your hydrometer, or refractometer is off.

    As I mentioned in an earlier post, I was pulling my hair over discrepancies in pH, and it turned out that my brand new buffer solution was faulty.

    If you test your hydrometer, let us know how you make out. Either way it would be interesting and informative, either to the point of how important it is to calibrate your equipment, or how you make out with 30 Brix Sangiovese.

  134. rst permalink
    October 22, 2013

    Anatoli, I did not test it post fermentation. I went straight to MLF which is currently cranking away. I will probably leave it as is until I decide to test the malic after MLF slows.

  135. Gene Fiorot permalink*
    October 22, 2013

    I think we need a new post so we don’t have to scroll down so much.

  136. Dave permalink
    May 8, 2015


    In reference to Dan’s comment here, what is this WCW triple filtered pressing I’ve read about?

    How doe you perform it and how much of the gross lees does it eliminate? I want to keep as much gross lees out of this Chilean stuff as possible and am hoping this will be a way to do that.


  137. Gene Fiorot permalink*
    May 8, 2015

    We have been using this method for quite a while. When we were using the Ratchet Basket Press we would load the press with grapes and then pour the free run over the grapes in the basket. Consider this the first part of filtration as the grapes act as a perfect coarse filter. As the press run emerges at the bottom we used a few stages of filtering using kitchen strainers. Consider that the 2 stage of filtering. Then the wine is in pouring buckets and another strainer is in the funnel going in the Carboy.

    We do the same now but with the Bladder Press we load the same way and allow the wine to be filtered in stages but then we send it to a SS tank. SO by the time we are done pressing and breaking down the Must and reloading the press, the wine in the tank has some settling time. Then a hose is run and the carboys are filled with the funnel and strainer. By that time there is little or no sediment in that strainer. Of course after a few days there will be lees but much less than what you are used to seeing. A typical carboy will have less 3/4 inch of lees after a week. Nothing like the 3 inches you see in pictures on forums. There is a picture of this somewhere here. I am looking

  138. Gene Fiorot permalink*
    May 8, 2015

    Ok here is the picture. As you can see the wine goes through the strainer into a bucket which over flows into another bucket where there are multiple strainers. This is so the strainer guy can take a clogged one out and bang it clean as the wine continues to flow and he replaces it. That second bucket has no bottom so the strained wine just goes into the small vat . Then a pump is used to send the wine to the stainless steel tank for more settling before it is sent to the carboys for the guys to take their wine home with them.

  139. Dave permalink
    May 8, 2015


    Thanks for the description and the photo. Seems easy enough to put together. How quickly do the strainers/screens clog up? I’m definitely using this for the upcoming press.


  140. Bzac permalink
    May 9, 2015

    Fwiw , I’ve never used a strainer , don’t see the need to.

  141. Bzac permalink
    May 9, 2015

    I do use the mesh liner in my bladder press though . But triple strainers , why?

  142. Gene Fiorot permalink*
    May 9, 2015

    Zac you don’t see the need because you probably are going to rack in 24 hours anyway. Many of the guys go like that until MLF is over. So the lees are already minimized for them. We tried that green liner once at the beginning and decided it clogged to quickly as we were not getting the free run out of the press as shown in the picture. If you are taking out the free run and not putting it in the press then I suppose the liner is fine. We do have to put the plastic bag over the entire press when we are in the process of pressing as things really get to squirting.

    As for the screens clogging it depends on the varietal. Some skins really disintegrate others stay more intact. So clogging depends on those which produce more muck.

  143. Bzac permalink
    May 10, 2015

    Every thing goes through my bladder press, I do use the liner and the Speidel press cover but the bulk of the lees comes out with the free run , and yes I let it settle over night then rack off the gross lees .

    To do mlf on the gross lees is just asking for h2s .

    I’d rather add the step of settling over night and racking than fucking around with strainers on press day .

  144. Gene Fiorot permalink*
    May 10, 2015

    I don’t know what the spidel liner looks like but I can tell you the Green Zambelli Liner made quite a mess. They hated it after a first few tries and decided they did not want to use it. If there are any reasons to worry about H2S as is the case with Chilean Fruit then racking 24 hours later is a must no matter how you handle your press operations. Even doing that in 2013 didn’t help. I tell everyone to rack after 24 hours strainers and all for maximum safety. But hey they do what they want. And for the record H2S has not been a problem. When it has, it has affected all and some like myself have racked off the tank 24 hours later as well.

    And you have to keep in mind that the extra step racking a tank is a lot easier than racking ten carboys when they get home.

  145. Bzac permalink
    May 10, 2015

    I hear you , I used dozens of carboys until last fall , previously I pressed into carboys , racking 30 of them wasn’t too bad , but cleaning them sucked.

  146. Gene Fiorot permalink*
    May 10, 2015

    When I think back to just a few years ago I cannot believe I had all those carboys to rack after pressing, after MLF, after Winter. 3 times. Holy Cow! At the moment I have 6 filled carboys in my cellar. Woo Hoo! Hey read about you real estate adventure. Share on the BC thread.

  147. Bzac permalink
    May 10, 2015

    I don’t rack that much , once off the gross lees , then I rack after mlf as the wine goes into barrels . That’s it , I bottle from the barrel.

  148. Gene Fiorot permalink*
    May 10, 2015

    Mostly MLF is done in December and for most guys they rack and let it stay till Spring when it gets racked in a barrel. It really is only one additional racking. Also many leave wine in garage due to cellar temperature issues and space. So much does go through some degree of CS whether it is desired or not. In my case this Winter my Barrel and Tank room dropped to 38 one day and was in the low 40s for weeks. So all that wine experienced some CS. When we racked last week to barrels we had tartrates in the tanks that is unusual for that room.

  149. Bzac permalink
    May 11, 2015

    Sounds like a pretty good system.

  150. Gene Fiorot permalink*
    May 11, 2015

    Well going back to Dave’s question here about the triple filtering I can tell you this for sure. All the triple filtering aside, when making Chilean Grapes you better rack after 24-48 hours regardless of whether you employ strainers or not.

  151. Gene Fiorot permalink*
    May 11, 2015

    Oh and Pray too.

  152. Linc permalink
    May 11, 2015

    Chilean cab franc grapes coming in to M&M this week…I have already started praying…

  153. Dave permalink
    May 12, 2015


    I used the triple filter method on the Merlot press Sunday. The lees settled to about an inch and I racked off them yesterday. Since then I’ve said a novena and a couple extra Hail Mary’s to make sure H2S doesn’t develop. Here’s hoping that I’m still good.

    I’m going to press the Malbec tonight and will try to use the triple filter method again. It does add a considerable amount of time, but for me, I feel that it’s worth it. Also, I’m not pressing tons of grapes as you guys are. I’ve already started saying my prayers for the Malbec too.

    Thanks again for the tip,

  154. crazy run ranch permalink
    May 13, 2015

    I can see this at small volume but it would never work for me. Even putting free run through my press would be a giant PITA. I usually settle for 48 hours to get better compaction. If you have seen H2S develop after pressing, I would say you are pressing too early. Yeast that run out of food, die a happy drunken death (or so I imagine, at least H2S free) Yeast fart H2S when they are sick and still have sugar to consume. That is why over clarification of the wine is bad if its not dry, you are removing the balanced diet and leaving only sugar. But if this is about something inherently wrong with the way the fruit is packaged, I have no experience with it or South American fruit.

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