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2013 Grapes going to Press and beyond. Where will it lead? Blog # 2

2013 October 22
by Gene Fiorot

For the sake of Convenience let’s continue the discussion here….

92 Responses leave one →
  1. MrWines permalink
    October 22, 2013

    I picked up the Silverado Six Cabernet from M&M on Friday afternoon and was disappointed to have some raisins in there. However, I decided that the raisins allowed me to water down more rather than saignee (which I have never done before) and would be easier this round. I hand destemmed the grapes Friday night. I didn’t take an initial brix reading, but after watering down ~5% before adding Scottzyme color pro enzymes, I had a brix of ~28 degrees … so I must have started closer to 30. I watered down further with acidulated water to roughly 25 degrees in each of three 5 gallon pails and inoculated with three different strains. The next morning (Sunday), fermentation was off to the races. Today, around 11:00 am, the fermentation was going well and smelled terrific. At 3:30, I went to punch it down again and smelled the dreaded H2S. I had already added Fermaid-K and DAP on Sunday and rechecked my work. It turns out, an invalid assumption in the interpretation of a spreadsheet I found online resulted in my putting in half the DAP I needed. Having made the adjustment quickly (it’s a nice slow whole-berry fermentation where the SG is still >1.09), I corrected it and punched it down enough to expel the existing H2S gas. At 7:30 pm, it smelled fine again. I am planning another addition of DAP at 1.06, but am monitoring closely.

    In the Spring, I had made the Cab Franc, Merlot, and Cab Sauv from Chile and that was the first time I ever had an H2S problem and was ill prepared for it. A rapid fermentation pushed me down below 1.05 before I could react. Only the Merlot and Cab Sauv suffered – the Cab Franc was fine the whole time. I have them going through MLF now after two rounds of Reduless and haven’t completely solved it, but it’s far better than what it was. As soon as MLF is done, I’m sulfiting it up and getting some air in there. I think some volatile shaking is in order. I would prefer to avoid Copper Sulfate. Anyway, that’s my experience.

  2. Proud Puppy permalink
    October 22, 2013

    Gene, all along I was waiting for the 85 degree spike to pitch the yeast! Go ferm, I mean go figger!

    Picked up the AtlasPeak Cab today. Beautiful fruit, flavor off the hook. Initial pH a little north of 3.6, quoted # around 3.5 or 3.6 and Quoted Brix 24.5 to 25. if I remember correctly. Will re check and have refractometer reading tomorrow.

    Looks amazing and clean. A few scattered clusters of semi raisining, more like shriveled, but not widespread. If the post cold soak Brix is showing above 26.5 I may add 3 or 4% volume(750 cc per bucket) of H2O and maybe acidulated to .3 % if pH is above 3.65 to 3.7 after cold soak. That should negate the raisining, and put the # how they should have been at picking. Minimal tweaks at most.

    The berries are so BLUE before crushing and really look and taste alot like the book stuffer the hopper! This really is a nice looking product. So there is life after book stuffer hops away after all!!

  3. Gaetano permalink
    October 22, 2013

    “all along I was waiting for the 85 degree spike to pitch the yeast! Go ferm, I mean go figger! -”
    At least he wasn’t told to add a couple pounds of raisins…everyone knows that you have to add raisins to your wine in order for it to ferment….LOL!
    Wait until the evil MLF questions start popping up, talk about so much misinformation and paranoia being tossed around…gheesh!

  4. Dan Lodico permalink
    October 22, 2013

    I’m pretty sure I read that home winemakers should just avoid MLF altogether, because it’s impossible to achieve in a basement. That’s my approach anyway.
    Puppy, I’ll be getting my AP in a few weeks. Captain Martini is working his magic. Keep us posted on the ferment.

    I’m up to .45ppm copper in the Malbec. Very nearly smelling OK…I could have just done the Gene method and tossed it in there and gone to Florida…

  5. Gene Fiorot permalink*
    October 22, 2013

    OK Question Dan, How many PPM is 40 drops of 1% solution in 5 gallons?

  6. Gene Fiorot permalink*
    October 22, 2013

    @ Jame. If you truly have 30 Brix then you need to consider your alcohol percentage using a variety of methods. Here is a chart that gives you averages based on different formulas. as you can see the average of all the formulas for 30 brix is 17.4. Also can someone dig out Dan Pambianchi’s formula and calculate for 30 brix? His formula is the most conservative I have ever encountered. I don’t have his book here to do it.

    @ Puppy glad to hear about the fruit. Our Atlas Peak Merlot was very nice indeed.

  7. Dan Lodico permalink
    October 22, 2013

    Well Gene, since you asked:
    In order to answer the question one needs to know the volume of each drop from the dropper. The way I determined this was to drop 200 drops into a graduated cylinder. I came up with 11cc, hence my volume per drop is .055 cc, or put another way, 18drops/cc.

    1cc of 1% CuSO4 in a Liter of wine delivers 2.57 ppm Cu (from the MoreWine site),
    we want .5ppm, so divide .5 by 2.57 and you get .19 cc of 1% to raise 1 L to .5ppm

    .19 cc X 19 Liters =3.61 cc of 1% CuSO4 to raise a 5 gallon carboy to .5ppm

    3.61cc X 18 drops per cc = 65 drops to raise 5 gallons to .5ppm (using my eyedropper).

  8. Jame permalink
    October 22, 2013

    i didn’t cal. my hydrometer because i am not sure how to do it, but i thing that i will bring a run down of all the grapes i made that season and used the same hydrometer, and if someone has different results i will be able to decide if i am off.
    @ gene i taste the sangiovese yesterday and it’s sounds beautiful, even do it’s still has a slight sweetness i hope this will get dry ones it’s finished fermentation

    Lake County Cab. 24 @ crush, 2 days later 25.2
    Lanza Pinot Noir 26
    Sangiovese 30
    Washington Syrah 27.2 @ crush, 1 day later 28
    Lanza Zin. 25

  9. Gene Fiorot permalink*
    October 22, 2013

    @ Jame 25 g of sugar dissolved in 75 g of water gives you a 25 °Brix solution or order a bottle from Vinquiry.

    Welcome MrWines good to hear about the Silverado 6 is in nice shape but that is one heck of a lot of water. I think I will try 26.5 when I get back.

  10. MrWines permalink
    October 22, 2013

    I was not thrilled with adding that much water, but since there were raisins, I figured the skin to adjusted juice ratio was not as messed up as it would have been if it were not raisined at all. After a day, the color was a rich ruby red and it tastes great. After two days, it was becoming more of that purple color I would expect from the grape. I have three five gallon buckets going, each with a different yeast (D254, RC212, and RP15). They smell relatively similar, but the RP15 was giving off more red fruit. The D254 / RC212 fruit profile was darker with more emphasis on the black currants / blackberry / black cherry aromas.

    Ironically, I have a preference for old world style wines, but that wasn’t a factor in my decision to handle these grapes – I knew what I was getting into. I also wanted to ensure that the yeast had a more favorable environment to finishing with less risk of a stuck fermentation due to complexities with my process.

    On a side note, I had never picked up the raw grapes from M&M before and was very impressed at the quality. Aside from the raisins, which is due to the vineyard / harvest selection, they were very clean with just one tiny spider and a couple spider egg sacks.

    Dan – thanks for the consolidation of the Copper Sulfate info – I’m going to examine that myself, but I hope to not have to use it…

  11. Dave O'Brien permalink
    October 22, 2013

    Consumer eye droppers vary to much to rely on their accuracey if you want to use it as a measure. I used 1.5ml of 1% solution which should get you to 2PPM in a 5 gallon carboy. I did check to see how many drops that was and with two different droppers it ranged from 32 drops to 40 drops. I also tested it on my burette which makes a slightly smaller drop and it came out to 42 drops… In the hospital we have IV sets that drop 15gtts/ml and micro drip sets that drop 60gtts/ml. Ok I obviously have too much time on my hand…but I was curious over the weekend while figuring out how much to add.

  12. Gene Fiorot permalink*
    October 22, 2013

    When I return home I will immediately standardize my dropper. The old 40 drop rule may have to be amended after all these years of working perfectly for a new rule where every dropper has its own calculus. Advancements never cease. But one problem I see is sometimes you get a big drop followed by a smaller drop, which leads one to believe that not all drops are created equally in the same dropper. I am wondering if this anomaly has been considered as well in the tests thus far performed. Or should we just abandon the drop method as not reliable and risk guys adding 15ml instead of 1.5ml by mistake. These decisions require careful thought. Eliminating the dropper may have unintended consequences.

    By the way a very smart old winemaker created the Dropper Method.

  13. Rocco permalink
    October 22, 2013

    @Gene as far as determining alcohol in wine I use brix x .575=% in alcohol.So your on with that. 30x.575=17.25% Cant remember what book I read this in.

  14. Gaetano permalink
    October 22, 2013

    Thanks for listing the 25% brix solution,
    “25 g of sugar dissolved in 75 g of water gives you a 25 °Brix solution”you know I had to test my hydrometers after reading that!!
    If anyone is interested, 75 grams of water = 1/3 cup.

  15. Jame permalink
    October 22, 2013

    Thank You Gene & Gaetano for the info.
    And now i would like to know as i made Lake County Cab. 3 tons that is about 4 500L fermenting tubs, 2 of them went very good, but 2 of them got stuck, one @ 0.5 and the other @ 3.9 the crush date was Oct. 4, i used the D21, so my question is if i should press that wine and do a restart fermentation even that i will lose nutrients or is there any other solution before pressing

  16. Dan Lodico permalink
    October 22, 2013

    Gene, to be honest, I recommend the method of measuring out a .01% solution, and then using the appropriate amount. I think even doing what I described, as you suggest, you probably do not get a consistent volume per drop. But, to be even more honest, I don’t always do what I recommend.

    Except floss. I do that. Obsessively, and compulsively.

  17. Gene Fiorot permalink*
    October 22, 2013

    My attempt at writing humor pre martini has not been successful. So now I will go floss as well.

  18. Gene Fiorot permalink*
    October 22, 2013

    @ Jame I would not press! Please call Scott Labs for a strategy to get you back in the ball park. They have specialized yeast and a protocol for this situation. I wish I could help more but I have never been in your shoes other than to know who to call in that event. Work Quickly!!!!!!

  19. Al Battista permalink
    October 22, 2013

    Gene…. What should I do? you got me confused. Should I get a Martini or get a new eye dropper?

  20. Dave O'Brien permalink
    October 22, 2013


    Is that the dentist or the scientist talking?

    I guess I took the process to literally. We measure everything with such accuracy. We are adding water at 0.5 brix over our breaking point, tartaric acid at one point or the other, and I assumed something that might just kill us should be measured with equal accuracy. To Gene’s point, we are splitting hairs. However, at the point you are at I would want to know exactly how much I added for fear of overdosing the wine and causing health issues. But then again, we can always send it out to the lab and figure that out.

    Reading books and articles, as recommended, has two problems. You are either a little educated which is dangerous, or a little stupid, because you just don’t get it. I guess I am little of both…but having fun none the less.

  21. Dave O'Brien permalink
    October 22, 2013


    Get the martini…definitely the martini!

  22. Gene Fiorot permalink*
    October 22, 2013

    For now I would opt for the Martini. Then you can send your eye dropper to Dave for a O’brien Standardization Test. Heck he has so much time on his hands I nominate him as the Westchester Amateur Winemaker Official Eye Dropper Test Official. All Eye Droppers must be cleared by him before further use.

  23. Gaetano permalink
    October 22, 2013

    Is there an official address to send all droppers to the Westchester Amateur Winemaker Official Eye Dropper Test Official…?….LMAO
    I want to be compliant and all.

  24. Dan Lodico permalink
    October 23, 2013

    Dave, from what I have read, if there is a place in winemaking to be obsessive about measuring, it is probably while adding poison to your wine. How poisonous is it? I have no clue. They say you shouldn’t have over a certain ppm of Cu in your wine. Ok.

    So whatever that amount is, does that mean I can drink it once a week? Twice? Every day??

    Gene was pulling my leg, but I actually did standardize my dropper the way I described, because I know I am too lazy sometimes to measure out a .01% solution. But then, some of Gene’s behavior may be partially explained by Cu overdose. Who knows?

  25. Proud Puppy permalink
    October 23, 2013

    If the correct amount of copper is added based on bench trials, it will combine with the H2S and precipitate out as an insoluble copper sulfide. In theory this is left behind after racking, and ZERO or close to zero copper sulfate will remain in solution, as it will all have been used up, and precipitated out. if you are a little over the correct amount there will be a small copper concentration dissolved in solution and it will be within the tolerable and legally defined amounts. Not a real issue if there is a little copper, just don’t mis calculate by a power of ten or so. bench trials will give the ideal amount to react with the H2S.

    Vitamin supplements have doses of copper as well, and they can be taken daily. “It c an be harmful in high and prolonged doses There is an amount in vitamins that will be in the range of what should be remaining after a correct treatment. Safely done, you are not near the toxic level even if you are a moderate drinker.

  26. Gene Fiorot permalink*
    October 23, 2013

    Ah Puppy Thank God Realism returns to the blog.

  27. Dan Lodico permalink
    October 23, 2013

    Gene, I was just going to say that, and point out that there will be one less vitamin I need to take.

    There is still this very slight aroma left. Very slight. In fact, it smells a trace of “rubber bung”.

    I have read people on WP complaining that rubber bungs ruined their wine. Maybe what they are smelling is a hint of sulfur?

    I am giving mine a bit of a rest. I’m curious as to what your impression is when you return.

  28. Proud Puppy permalink
    October 23, 2013

    Dan I held back on saying …It is not a substitute for your Min Daily Adult Requirment of copper, so you beat me to the point. Good point on the bungs. I am sure it is responsible for the problem sometimes, but sometimes they really do stink anyhow. I have a couple I can’t use.

  29. Gene Fiorot permalink*
    October 23, 2013

    If you soak your extra bungs in Meta for 12 months they will never stink again. And better they won’t be so slippery in the necks.

  30. Jame permalink
    October 24, 2013

    those anybody knows how to make a semi-sweet wine?
    i heard about freezing part of the batch or putting in potassium sorbate,but what is the general way that commercial winemakers are using?

  31. Jame permalink
    October 24, 2013

    the Lake County Cab. that the brix was 0.5 for a few days was pressed Tuesday and very interesting the next day Wednesday it was -0.7, i would like to know since the hydrometer shows the density maybe because the wine was so long with skin the density goes up and ones i pressed and the solids went to the bottom the brix get down?

  32. Gene Fiorot permalink*
    October 24, 2013

    Zac here can give you a real good heads up on making sweet wines. The reserve method you mention is the most artisanal and results in preserving fruit flavors. Stopping Fermentation Method at a certain level leaving residual sugar is difficult to manage and control. Adding Sugar to Dry Wine is the easiest for Amateurs and used commercially as well.

    As far as your brix readings. Purchase a short range hydrometer that reads plus 5 to minus 5 over the entire range of the hydrometer with 0 brix being in the middle. Think of it as a magnifying glass which expands the readings making small changes observable near completion of fermentation. sells these. When I reach 5 brix I retire the 0-30 hydrometer and use this one.

  33. Proud Puppy permalink
    October 24, 2013

    Jane: I have had musts that have alot of sludge at the end of AF and this makes it hard for the hydrometer to move up or down. (I usually sample directly from fermentor and do not strainthe sample) After spinning the hydrometer float,, it just stays at the level that it was released. I don’t trust very thick samples until after straining and getting clean ‘top’ juice or wine.

  34. Proud Puppy permalink
    October 24, 2013

    An update on the Atlas Peak Cab: Still soaking, and starting to break down nicely. Reference Brix 24.5 came in at 27 on refractometer, so I suspect a little dehydration of the entire batch, and they seem that way on look. Not quite as rigid overall and slightly softer than hydrated berries. A 3% starting volume of .3% Tartaric Acid should bring hydrometer to reference values to be checked right before pitching BDX. Another 1% or 2%Volume of H2O if needed at that time. This is beautiful fruit otherwise in all respects. Much more impressive than A.P. Merlot, at this stage anyway

  35. Gaetano permalink
    October 24, 2013

    Jame, as Gene stated, the easiest way to sweeten wine is by back sweetening, the process is usually fermenting to dry, stabilizing with meta and Potassium sorbate and sweetening with sugar, or a simple syrup to your desired level of sweetness.
    Potassium Sorbate will suppress any further fermentations.
    I would like to hear more about the reserve method.


  36. Gene Fiorot permalink*
    October 24, 2013

    Are we Stirring Dudes? Yes are we stirring every 5 days? Are we dedicated enough to do this? I bet Al Bat is… the rest of you, I’m not so sure.. Me I am in Florida a pox on my house.

  37. Gaetano permalink
    October 24, 2013

    I hope that you are warm down there, I’m freezing my arse off!!!!!


  38. Dan Lodico permalink
    October 25, 2013

    Gene, I have been stirring, and in fact, did a chromo on my Sangio, which I inoculated at 15Brix.

    I’m not seeing much in the carboy happening, and the chromo shows MLF not completed. I realize it’s early, but the wine has been kept warm, and it was over a month ago that I inoculated.

    I’m rethinking the co-inoculation idea, and questioning whether the few days it gives us of warm fermentation temps is worth what we may be losing when we rack off the lees.

    I still have enough MLB to re-inoculate if needed, when I inoculate my AP, and FiddleSticks.

  39. Gene Fiorot permalink*
    October 25, 2013

    Let’s start here on this co fermenting issue. Why are we doing this? My answer is to save time in the end for a So2 racking and establish an MLF in a low alcohol highly desirable temperature environment. Is this going to work? The Jury is out on this as of now. What can I tell you. I have always made a Super Culture for MLF usually 2-3 days before inoculation at 2 brix. Up until last year we did not rack after pressing. We never has a MLF failure. Last year things changed for me but not the others. Last year I introduced my tank system into my procedure and as a result all of my wines were racked 24-48 hours later by virtue of pumping the wine into other tanks from the pressing area to the warm boiler room. All of my wines finished around December 1. Which means there was no appreciable change in time frame compared to when I was in carboys and didn’t rack at all. And furthermore there was no difference reported by any of the other guys either.This year the same procedure was followed with one exception. I did not make Super Cultures. I inoculated some at 18 brix and others at 6 Brix. The same racking transfer took place but in a shorter time frame. Sometimes as little as 3 hours where much gross lees was eliminated even after 3 hours. So now we get to this year. You did a Chromo but I think other than to tell you MLF is underway it is not quantitative. I would be more interested in Accuvin Testing to see if you can track any progress. However, as I see it I have 5 weeks to get to Dec 1 and either prove or disprove any advantage of co-inoculation or ANY difference other than not having the PITA job of making MLF Super Cultures. This in a nut shell , a other than a shortened time frame, was my reasoning for attempting co-inoculation in the first place.

  40. Anatoli permalink
    October 25, 2013

    there’s interesting presentation on co-inoculation with explanation for the reason, page 9-10. It’s pointed out that pH of the must has to be 3.5 or below. Any reason why?

  41. Dave O'Brien permalink
    October 25, 2013

    Of our 7 varietals all except the Gamay are making a nice steady stream of micro-bubbles in the carboys. The Gamay is not showing any signs of life yet. It will be 2 weeks since pressing on Sunday. Should we be concerned?

    Also, with the exception of the Malbec which was racked after 48 hours, nothing has been racked. This seemed to work for me last year so I was going to follow the same trend and wait until MLF is complete.

  42. carmine Frattaroli permalink
    October 25, 2013

    We usually add mlf culture at 10 to 11 brix this year we added around 15 to 16 brix they all seem to be sizzling away down in the basement where the temp is 72 degrees. I spoke to another winemaker the other dayand he does his mlf after fermentation as he feels that he does not want the fermentation of the must to intefere with mlf . So i feel that it really doesn’t matter when you mlf your reds just make sure you do at some point . I have done mlf all three ways during fermentaion at 10 brix 15 brix and after fermentation they all work fine. But I like the 15 brix so far only that it gets thru mlf sooner hopefully, so they can go into my barrels quicker.Remember to to keep your storage room at least 70 to 72 degrees you can even throw blankets around your containers to keep them warm by the the way i do not stir my reds i just let them go.Jame did you restart your lake county that got stuck thats alot desert wine to be drinking. We did 1 ton of the lake county cab .plus other varietles

  43. m_g permalink
    October 26, 2013

    Hey Guys,

    Just a quick question regarding H2S during fermentation. At the point where you no longer have the nutrient option (below 10 brix) and noblesse (or an other SIY) is used, how long does one need to wait to see results?

  44. Dan Lodico permalink
    October 26, 2013

    m_g, what’s going on? Do you have a smelly ferment going on? What have you done so far to alleviate it? During fermentation, oxygen is your friend. Are you punching down a lot? What Brix are you at right now?

  45. m_g permalink
    October 26, 2013

    Yup..did the normal go-ferm/fermaid O/K protocol as usual. H2S started just before the 1/3 addition so I hoped that would make a difference. 12 hours later smell was still there but it had passed the 50% surgar mark so I opted for noblesse and vigorous puchdowns every 2 hours. Brix is currently at 4 so I’ll probably do a full rack and return to see if it makes a difference.

  46. Gene Fiorot permalink*
    October 26, 2013

    @ Dave check with Accuvin. Where is the Gamay at?
    @ M_G at 10 brix you still can add Fermaid O without worry and you can use SIY Yeast hulls or other product at any brix level.

  47. David O'Brien permalink
    October 26, 2013

    Interesting…according to Accuvin the Gamay is done. But it never got started to the naked eye. Is that possible? I set up a chromotagraphy to confirm. Tha Accuvin strips were last years if that is going to matter much.

  48. Gene Fiorot permalink*
    October 26, 2013

    Well Well Well Woo Hoo! The first results of one of this year’s co-inoculated vats completed in 3 weeks? Can it be? Last year’s Accuvin Test strips are fine. Only a Chromo will now tell for sure. Now this is what I’m try’n to say. Anyone else out there have Gamay they can test?

    This in a nut shell , a other than a shortened time frame, was my reasoning for attempting co-inoculation in the first place. – See more at:

  49. Dan Lodico permalink
    October 26, 2013

    I didn’t make the Gamay, but after tasting last year’s (was it Dave’s) I’m wishing I had. What were the numbers on it this year? Just curious about what kind of MLF environment it had compared to my Sangio, PN, PV. I figure the Malbec is completely screwed up after all of my racking.

    Getting back to an older subject, I had folks over for my famous home-made pizza last night, and the Sangiovese de Le Marche was the hit of the night. Light color and all. Gene, I made everyone cover their eyes though before they drank it, light color and all…..

  50. Gene Fiorot permalink*
    October 26, 2013

    Another note about the Gamay. It was ready to press days before we actually did. The Cap was submerged by 2 days before pressing. It was only 23 brix and finished quickly. Is it possible you can’t see MLF yes it is possible. Could it have finished in the vat or few days after pressing? Yes I have read this can occur with co inoculation. But this was not inoculated at 18 brix it was closer to 12 Brix. Also you have to keep in mind not all grapes have the same level of Malic Acid to start with. So you have to be careful making comparisons. For example I did inoculate the Sangiovese at 18 brix and at pressing the wine was clearly in the 500 range with Accuvin. I would not say there was any MLF action. But a Chromo at that point might have indicated a MLF in progress. I would be curious as to the level now of the Sangiovese as this was one of the first grapes we processed this year and one that was inoculated at the highest level of brix.

  51. Gene Fiorot permalink*
    October 26, 2013

    BTW can anyone search for the correct ratio of raisins to add to a stuck MLF Thanks.

  52. Dan Lodico permalink
    October 26, 2013

    m_g, what kind of grapes are you fermenting? What doses of nutrients did you use?

  53. David O'Brien permalink
    October 26, 2013

    The Sangio is still very active in the carboys. At least in Pearl River.

    Dan, I opened a bottle of the ’12 Gamay last night and I continue to be impressed. Having never had it before Gene talked me into making it last year and I am happy I did. A nice light, fruit forward wine with a nice touch of the new French oak. Makes for a perfect drinking wine with or without food. It went perfectly last night with pizza.

  54. Gene Fiorot permalink*
    October 26, 2013

    @ Dan yes Blinders and that is a great Italian Wine. I have had Barolo that light and they were great too. Not for the 500 pound gorilla crowd though.

    @ Jame and others regarding stuck fermentation. I always keep EC 1118 in the fridge but to be sure Scott Labs has some products that may in fact be better. Their Fermentation Handbook has quite an extensive protocols for re starting fermentations at various Brix levels.

  55. Gene Fiorot permalink*
    October 26, 2013

    @ Dave Break out a test strip for the Sangiovese, now you have my curiosity peaked.

  56. David O'Brien permalink
    October 26, 2013

    Sangio still has a ways to go. Testing somewhere in the 160 +/- range.

  57. Dan Lodico permalink
    October 26, 2013

    Dave, keep us posted on the Sangio, because I’m too cheap to buy Accuvin Strips, myself.
    (6 containers of Sangio, 2 Malbec, 2 P. Noir, 1 P. Sirah)

  58. Gene Fiorot permalink*
    October 26, 2013

    Dave that is very nice progress indeed. Since we started at a purple off the color chart.

  59. Gaetano permalink
    October 27, 2013

    When you guys told me that BDX was a slow fermenting yeast, you weren’t joking!
    My Yakima Valley Cab Sauv started at 26 brix, cold soaked 5 days, (the berries were literally only as big as blueberries) pitched the yeast on the 22nd, today it was down to 19 brix, not that I’m in a rush, but if I hadn’t read it here first, I might have had my doubts.
    The color of this Cab Sauv is unreal, a dark, inky color.


  60. m_g permalink
    October 27, 2013

    @Dan Doing tempranillo. First addition was Fermaid O at 0.625g/gal (half of 1.25g/gal) and the 1/3 sugar addition was Fermaid K at 0.5g/gal (half of 1g/gal). I’m think next time I’ll do the full amount of the Fermaid O as I think this may be the root cause.

  61. Gene Fiorot permalink*
    October 27, 2013

    Gaetano what is the temp at 19 brix. For me it is time for a nice dose of Fermaid K and a little DAP if you think it is lagging to get to 17 brix.

  62. Dan Lodico permalink
    October 27, 2013

    @m_g, do you have YAN numbers, or previous experience with this particular source that prompted you to cut the first O dose in 1/2? Also, you probably know this, but because “O” doesn’t have any inorganic N, you don’t have to wait for fermentation to start to use it. YOu can actually put it in before you pitch.

    Curious as to the opinions of the more experienced. Gene?

  63. David O'Brien permalink
    October 27, 2013

    So the Chromatography results are in…
    Malbec looks done
    Gamay looks done
    Pinot Noir looks done
    Cab almost but not done
    Merlot not done
    Sangiovese not done

    So based on the results of the Accuvin tests yesterday I am going to assume this is all accurate. Seems like it all happened too fast for the wines that are done…Thoughts???

  64. Dan Lodico permalink
    October 27, 2013

    The sangio had high alcohol, and lower pH than the others, so that may explain why it’s the slowest.
    I tested the Sangio because it was the first one I had done. I’ll test the PN Malbec and PSirah this week. I’d love to get some SO2 on those high pH wines. In fact when they are done, I’ll blend a bit of low pH Las Amigas Merlot from ’12 in there.

    thanks for the info, Dave

  65. Gene Fiorot permalink*
    October 27, 2013

    Me thinks Co inoculation has worked very nicely. And it is no surprise the Merlot lingers, doesn’t Merlot always linger?

    @ Dan Yes I pitch Fermaid O at Crush. Scott Labs recommends this. But sometimes I think this is counter productive as I am feeding indigenous yeast as well before the cultured one has a chance to grow. I have been thinking maybe I should add Fermaid O when I pitch instead. I am not sure of the advantage of doing it a crush. One thing to consider our grapes at crushing have been refrigerated and are not warm like in a California Winery. So we have a (however you wish to define it) a short cold soak or a long lag phase. So Scott Labs advice may not have taking into consideration our grape temperatures. It seems more prudent to wait when you pitch. Thanks for asking It has been bothering me for a few years. Unless I am missing something??????

  66. Gaetano permalink
    October 27, 2013

    Gene, the temp was (and still is) 67°, on the low side of the temperature tolerance, I didn’t even consider this, maybe it is time to raise the temp.
    Is there any negative impact on the wine if left to ferment at this temp, compared to bringing the temp up to 70° – 75°?
    I added a dose of fermaid K yesterday, when I thought it was lagging.


  67. Proud Puppy permalink
    October 27, 2013

    @Gaetano: No negative impact besides being slower, and it will be a more fruit forward result usually. Possibly less extraction, but it is plenty extracted from your report, and you did a cold soak.
    @Dan: No need to worry about the high pH on the Malbec and especially the Petite Sirah, as they have plenty of tannins and anthocyanins and are young. They are pretty resistant to oxidation, and bugs shouldn’t be an issue, unless you are a real slob with technique, LOL.

  68. Gene Fiorot permalink
    October 27, 2013

    Well I have to disagree with Puppy. I think you need to spike at 85 not for extraction but for color stability. So if it were me I would turn on the blast furnace and get to 85 by the time you reach 12 brix.

  69. Proud Puppy permalink
    October 27, 2013

    Very valid point Gene. I have to agree on that for sure, it is most probably a plus for color stability.

  70. Dan Lodico permalink
    October 27, 2013

    @ Gene, regarding Ferm O before pitch. I hit the must with 50ppm SO2 at crush, so I’m not concerned about indigenous bugs or yeast.

    But getting back to m_g’s issue, would a full dose of FermaidO, before pitching, be more likely to reduce the stinkies, as opposed to 1/2 dose after lag phase?

    Or breaking that question up into 2 parts, how much difference does the timing make, vs. the total dose?

  71. Gene Fiorot permalink*
    October 27, 2013

    Between Crush and Lag Phase I doubt that would make any difference in stinkies once a cap was formed. The reason for timing I think is giving you a chance to adjust and fine tune. It also provides additional fermentation as the colony has grown and multiplied many times giving those cells a shot at some food. As far as difference in the past we added balls to the wall for the last 5 years we stage. It has has changed in fermenting times somewhat but not making a difference with off odors. We didn’t have much of off odors then when we added entire doses anyway. There certainly is better temperature management with staging as adding some control to Brix reduction.

    As far as adding So2 and Adding Fermaid O at crush. If you think about it, what is the Fermaid O doing if not feeding indigenous yeast because of the stall So2 provides but in no way eliminates them? Does Fermaid O do something when it sits in the Must waiting? I think I will call Scott Labs and have a discussion. I think they never considered the temperature of the Must. We shall see.

  72. Proud Puppy permalink
    October 27, 2013

    It just might help. I find that the DAP is a double edged sword. It immediately helps reduce the stinkies of H2S, but after it ramps up the speed and heat of the ferment, that causes stress in itself, and often it then comes back again until the ferment peters out. So if I use DAP or nutrient containing DAP, I split it into several mini doses with heavy punch downs in between.

  73. Gaetano permalink
    October 27, 2013

    Thanks for the advice Proud Puppy and Gene, Although I wouldn’t mind a nice fruit forward Cab Sauv, I’ll put my heater on it, I use a 4ft x 2ft seedling heating mat attached to the fermenter, it works like a charm.
    Thanks again,


  74. Al Battista permalink
    October 27, 2013

    Dave, my Malbec is done.
    Pinot Noir still cooking.
    Atlas Peak Merlot Still going.
    Sangiovese Still going
    Petite Sirah still going.
    Very slight action , but there.

  75. Dan Lodico permalink
    October 28, 2013

    Al, is that by chromo, accuvin, or just looking at bubbles?

  76. Gene Fiorot permalink*
    October 28, 2013

    Bubbles I’d guess. Right AL? Come on Al brake out the Accuvin already.

  77. Jame permalink
    October 28, 2013

    @ Zac, Gene recommend me that you could give me some good head ups for making semi-sweet wine so i am expecting to get some advice
    Thank You

  78. Don permalink
    October 30, 2013

    Lurking – I’ve been lurking in background and getting confirmation/answers along the way with this years batches. Thanks for making your experience/expertise public. I am approaching the point where we will be racking and sulfiting. In the absence of a $500+ instrument to accurately measure free SO2 what are my options. Do you fellas have a lab you send to for analysis ever? With a somewhat high pH on both batches I want to get this right/don’t want to guestimate. What are my options? Is it simply 1) guess 2) buck up or 3) send to lab ?

  79. Gene Fiorot permalink*
    October 30, 2013

    Welcome to the Blog Don. To begin you have to have a good ph meter. With that you can use your results and the addition formula based on the PH and add K meta appropriately. The problem arises in barrels when you experience losses. Then you need to use a vinmetrica or send to a lab to determine the current levels and the amount you need to add to achieve the correct levels. We use Let me know if you need the formula for So2 additions. Please use the same name and email address in the future so you don’t need moderation to post comments.

  80. Gene Fiorot permalink*
    October 30, 2013


  81. Dan Lodico permalink
    October 31, 2013

    update on the Malbec. I eventually got it up to .5ppm Cu (Gene, don’t ask me how many drops that is)…
    it actually smells pretty good. More like wine and less like rotten egg farts.

    I’ve added 1gm/Gal of Noblesse, will stir daily or so for a week or so, and then rack and forget about it for a while.

  82. Don permalink
    October 31, 2013

    Gene/all – I got a bit ahead of myself (but if I need to make a purchase I wanted the lead time). We are in MLF so I wanted to nail this process down before post-MLF-racking (…I understand that could still be quite some time, but visually MLF seems to be tailing off…). I am comfortable with determining how much SO2 I need to be at (call it 45.5ppm given my 3.55pH), but don’t I still need to know the amount of free SO2 that exists pre-addition of kmeta? Or is it assumed that post AF, one round of racking to fresh carboys and then MLF that the SO2 would be at generally known level?

  83. Jame permalink
    October 31, 2013

    OK my sangio is now -1.5 brix it sounds excellent,
    but my Lake County Cabs i don’t understand whats going on, i pressed yesterday one tub and the pressed wine was -1.0 brix i was very happy that its went down, but then i measure the free run and it was 1.0 brix so i get very confused.
    my washington syrah was also pressed yesterday @ -2.0 brix the color and the aroma is beautiful.
    @ Gene i am using that precision hydrometer a few years already
    but thank you for all your advise that club is the best i find the last 3 years, KEEP ON

  84. Proud Puppy permalink
    October 31, 2013

    Since likely no addition of Kmeta has been made since crush(so as not to interfere in MLF the free SO2 level should be essentially zero, as the small addition at crush(if any) will have been blown off or become bound completely. The bound SO2 at this point will be low, but non zero and will not be a value to consider yet as it is very low. The trick is knowing how much to add to get you to the desired value of 45.5 ppm, as approximately 1/3 to 1/2 of the addition will be bound, reducing the amount of free SO2 that results from the calculated addition.

    If unable to directly measure the resulting SO2 after addition, assume 30 to 35 % is bound on an early addition (now) and less bound (25%) on subsequent additions(barrel or ageing). more additions are needed if ageing in a barrel vs glass or stainless steel.

  85. Proud Puppy permalink
    October 31, 2013

    To clarify further, what you calculate as needed to get 45.5 ppm, multiply that by 1.35 or even 1.4 and that would be the addition needed for the first addition post mlf. Of course more small additions are needed in the barrel to make up for losses, and those are not known really unless measured.

  86. Don permalink
    October 31, 2013

    Excellent. Many thanks – had not absorbed in all my reading the point about some becoming bound. THANK YOU makes perfect sense. So I am taking the answer to be measuring free SO2 requires the $$$ instrumentation or sending to Cornell or other for lab analysis.

    We have 2 co-fermented batches total 60gallons now MLF’ing in glass carboys. 35gal Cab/Mer/Carignon and 25gal Grenache/Syrah.

  87. Proud Puppy permalink
    November 1, 2013

    Some of the newer SO2 measuring devices are not all that expensive or complicated, and will pay for themselves after a few tests, compared to lab costs. I don’t own one, but alot of people were talking about the Vinmetrica unit. The 100a unit is around $250 but is accurate, although I have seen some mixed reviews. The SO2 and Tartaric measuring unit is around $370, but I don’t see the use for that, …pH meter… and NaOH Hello?

  88. Dan Lodico permalink
    November 1, 2013

    I used the technique for measuring SO2 with the test tubes, and the bubbler and it took 20 minutes for each test and I got different results every time, and it was a PITA, so I seldom did it. then I got the Vinmetrica.

    It’s accurate, and easy, and I’m much more on top of it now. pH meters aren’t very expensive, and much more accurate than they used to be (IMHO), if you get the refillable probe.

    I wouldn’t be without those two things.

  89. Don permalink
    November 1, 2013

    Vinmetrica SC100a it is – thanks fellas

  90. Dan Lodico permalink
    November 2, 2013

    Let’s talk about the Lanza Pinot Noir. MLF is done, pH over 4.00

    I did three blends with some ’12 Las Amigas Merlot, one 10%, 15%, and 20% Merlot.

    tasted and measured the pH: 4.01 (10%), 3.96 (15%) and 3.91 (20%)

    I liked the taste of the 10%, and 15% the best.

    So, how high can I keep the pH and be able to barrel it and not worry? THe SO2 levels would be over 100ppm..
    Does this worry anyone?

  91. Gene Fiorot permalink*
    November 2, 2013

    If you like it go with keep the levels at 80 ppm and expect to drink it within 3-4 years. This would not be the first time we made a wine with that ph and it lasted that long. Maybe even longer.

  92. Dan Lodico permalink
    November 2, 2013

    good to know. no concern as far as barreling?

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