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Co-Fermenting with Malo-Lactic Bacteria New Territory for Amateur Winemakers

2013 October 27

As most of us move into Seconday Fermentation. Whoa Chuckles! Did I just use the idiotic term secondary fermentation? Let’s start again. This year our dealing with Malo-lactic Fermentation is different than others. Most years our mission is to get through it and done with the least problems in a reasonable time frame. This year with the green light given to Co Fementation of ML bacteria with yeast brings us to observe, learn and above all try to document any differences or advantages to adopting this co fermentation protocol.

Here are the facts we are dealing with. We basically have early and late batches. The early Batches were inoculated at 18 Brix the Later Batches at 12 brix with the exception of Gamay which was inoculated at 6 Brix. The first batches were inoculated with VP41 the Later batches with Alpha. There is about 3 weeks difference between the first batches and the Last batches.

The Marty Yule famed Super Cultures were not used. All the ML bacteria was rehydrated at 80 degrees with Acti ML. for 15 minutes before pitching. One Note to Readers, to correct the advice given in that forum you DO NOT rehydrate ML bacteria with Opti-Malo.

So what are the results as of October 27 2013. In 37 days 3 wines are complete. Two from the first batches and one from the later batches. The Malbec and the Pinot Noir are done. And that was with all the extra racking off the lees dealing with the Malbec H2S problem. The Gamay , a later batch wine is done in approximately 21 days. Let’s assume the Gamay had very little Malic Acid Content as the Lake County Cab, Atlas Peak Merlot are still going strong showing good progress. The laggard an early batch wine seems to be the Sangiovese but it too shows a good deal of lactic and the most recent Accuvin test show a reduction more than half.

As I stated previously I usually think in terms of December 1 to December 15 for Mlf completion. In any case all of the wines which are still going have at least until November 15 to complete using the time frame of the 37 days of the first batches. At this point I think it is safe to say we impacted the MLF time frame in a big way but in 15 days that will be proved even more with results of the Merlot and Cab.

What I am looking for now is the see the progress with Accuvin in one week on the Merlot, Lake County Cab and the Sangiovese. Then in 2 weeks a Chromatography Test of these wines.
Will someone with Primitivo and Petite Sirah do a test. Please! Bunch of Cheapskates.

Dave tending to monitoring this years MLF progress

Dave tending to monitoring this years MLF progress

107 Responses leave one →
  1. Gaetano permalink
    October 27, 2013

    Gene and all,
    I have a question regarding co-fermentation, I like to make a second run, light rose type, early drinker for my wife and her friends from the pressed grapes.
    How would co-fermenting with MLB effect a second run? Would it be able to ferment again?
    Very curious,
    Thanks in advance!


  2. Zac Brown permalink
    October 27, 2013

    well you don’t do mlf on a rose , but if its just a light red then cofermenting is a good idea as cofermenting helps produce simple early to drink reds and colour is lighter when cofermenting.

  3. Gene Fiorot permalink
    October 27, 2013

    Once the ml bacteria is introduced it doesn’t go away as if you put wine in a barrel which had a MLF performed in it. Some winemakers don’t even use a new culture but let the barrel do the job. So if you take fermented grapes with ml bacteria and add sugar to ferment another wine I see no problem as most of the malic acid would have been converted already or at least some of it and you would at least be doing another co fermentation. That’s how I see it

  4. Gaetano permalink
    October 28, 2013

    Zac, it is a light red, thanks for the advice.
    Gene, exactly what I thought, I just wanted to make sure with those who have more experience than me.
    As always,
    Thanks again,


  5. crazy run ranch permalink
    October 28, 2013

    Good discussion to start Gene. You focus mainly on speed to finish MLF in your article. Other than logistics of heat, vacation, etc., do you feel there are advantages to the wine? I see the speed as somewhat of a negative. I feel there is some flavor development best done without the presence of SO2. A long, slow MLF can put off SO2 introduction and overall total SO2 added. Many home wine making books really over state the need to get your wine dosed up with SO2 in a rush. I see that as first time wine maker advice, you more advanced would notice any issues beginning in a non-SO2 wine.

  6. Dan Lodico permalink
    October 28, 2013

    CRR, lets say I’m monitoring my wine, no SO2, as it goes through a long slow MLF, and I notice a problem. Perhaps it is starting to taste oxidized, or some funny taste I don’t recognize, like pickles, or saurkraut, or rubber, or burnt matches. MLF is not done. How do I intervene?

  7. Bzac permalink
    October 29, 2013

    Lallemand has some good info on the timing of mlf .

    Dan , sounds like h2s , maybe even mercapans . If so its too late for reduless.

    Ascorbic acid and cuso4 , treat for h2 s now , worry about mlf later.

    You can always reinocculate

  8. Proud Puppy permalink
    October 29, 2013

    @Dan: I would think that oxidation would really not happen in the majority of reds in the first three to six months, unless you left the carboy open the entire time, or really splash racked daily for a week or two. I have excessively splash racked one batch, but didn’t get any oxidized taste until 2 years or even three in the bottle.

    As far as the off odors from early and significant H2S exposure, they should have been dealt with earlier on prior to adding the MLB, which is my reason for having that flexibility with adding it after settling after AF. I am with CRR on this one, and am not in any hurry to get MLF done. Usually in fact, I don’t add sulfite until February or March when I rack off the MLF sediment. I have not had any issues doing it that way. I do appreciate the logistics Gene has with needing rapidity with multiple recipients, distribution and all that.

  9. Gene Fiorot permalink*
    October 29, 2013

    To to address some of CRR Steve’s comments. I have read the Lallemand papers as Zac suggests and it would seem as Steve and Puppy feel there is still an advantage to waiting to do MLF in a slower and separate time frame. I certainly can’t disagree but at the same time I am unable to specify any differences I have experienced since I am too new at this to know. It will take some comparisons with upcoming vintages and ferments with fruit we are familiar with. Some of the Lanza varietals will make perfect tests as we have a track record with them and we also have to ability to split batches of the same fruit and do MLF in different time frames. But coming to a conclusion will take a few years.

    As far as introduction of SO2 as early as possible, that concept seems to emanate from the Fear School of Winemaking. A young Marty Yule often spoke of the many semesters he attended this school in fact I believe he obtained a Masters Degree there while attending. But I also think it is safe to say most of us have spent at least a few semesters there if not at least taken a few courses. On the opposite side, I can remember Greg Perrucci speaking of going a far as aging in barrels for 2 years with little or no amount of So2. I also remember him saying every once in a while he having to dump a Sixty too. With no explanation as why the wine went bad. I think as in all things there is the safe road and a more risky path one can follow. In the case of myself driving a wagon train, I am drawn to the 3 lane highway rather than the narrow path while realizing I may miss some beautiful sights the narrow path provides. I appreciate all of it. And this year with some serious Co fermenting of ML bacteria something not to long ago was touted as very risky is providing me with some new experience and attempting a new approach. For now we will monitor the progress and report here our findings. That is if Cheapskates would do some testing. I can’t wait to get back to NY next week.

  10. Calamity Cellars permalink
    October 29, 2013

    I have participated several tastings put on by lallemand and I always liked the cofermented wines better than the sequential. I was afraid of coferments for a long time based on some anecdotal evidence provided by a very well respected washington winemaker. I have done my research and now coferment all my reds. I toss in the vp-41 just after the yeast lag phase.

    Also, I had a the one and only rosè I’ve made go through ml in the bottle at my tasting room even with a good dose of so2. Not good. We now sell it as a dry slightly sparkling wine.

    Yes I said sell. I know this is a home winemakers site but I thought I could add something to the discussion.

    Yes, I am also heavily involved in No need to go to great lengths to call me out.

  11. Gene Fiorot permalink*
    October 29, 2013

    So the jury can be out even on the idea that Co Fermented wines can be better. Now that only adds to the entire affair. Nice to have you back Alan please continue to post on the Blog your commercial experiences are appreciated here.

  12. Dan Lodico permalink
    October 29, 2013

    @ Zac, thanks. Actually my scenario was hypothetical. Evidently I am a product of the “fear school”..

    Gene, I finished a chromo on Pinot Noir, Malbec, and P. Sirah. Pinot and Malbec are done, and the P.Sirah is not. THe Malbec finished despite being in the regular basement temp, not my special warming hut, and despite being racked twice since I got it from you.

  13. Dan Lodico permalink
    October 29, 2013

    to further clarify my question, I was trying to envision what the steps would be if I were taking the long slow road to MLF, in a barrel, and I noticed a problem. Compared to the relative warm comfortable feeling of knowing my wine is SO2’d while it ages in my barrel.


  14. Dave O'Brien permalink
    October 29, 2013

    In a previous thread Zac spoke of two additions of Noblesse post CUSO4 addition. One about a week prior to racking and then another before long term aging. Is the protocol the same? I read where 1 gram per gallon is the recomended addition for our copper clean up needs.


  15. Al Battista permalink
    October 29, 2013

    OK so here’s the story on my wines..
    Malbec… Accuvin test. Done. Racked for winter.. 10 days ago I put 30 drops of 1% copper Sulfate in each carboy. Smells ok to me. Whatever is left I think the barrel will solve the problem.

    Pinot Noir. accuvin test.. not yet done.

    Atlas Peak Merlot…Still going

    Sangiovese..Still bubbling in air locks

    Petite Sirah…Still a little action going on.

  16. Anatoli permalink
    October 29, 2013

    I did some reading on the co-inoculation in the Scott labs Fermentation book -2013. It says that if you do co-inoculate, then pH of the must has to be 3.5 or below, otherwise in case AF is stuck or sluggish, higher pH favors MLB attacking sugars and produce VA(that answered my own question). Also co-inoculation affects the color of the finished wine. Research done at Oregon U suggest that delayed ML can improve color stability in Pinot Noir, they recommend to delay ML up to 100 days. I think this year I will do post AF ML on Pinot and co-MLF with all the rest. However my experience is not the best with sequential MLF, it takes ~2month to complete (based on bubbles). Hoping it be faster in a barrel. It’sgood that Gene shared his chromatography paper scan here, as I was under impression that malic acid area should be totally green after all malic has been converted, based on manuals and youtube videos. I always have it slightly yellow, making me to question my test reagents, procedure or wine.
    As for the direct ML addition or culture, I come across study and I think it’s a recommended procedure by Lallemand where ML culture is mixed 50/50 with fermenting or finished wine and left for 24hours to adjust to the environment prior to adding. That shortens the MLF time.

    It would be great to hear of your wine comparisons, I’m looking forward to….

  17. Gene Fiorot permalink*
    October 29, 2013

    Yes culturing for 48 hour has been my practice for years and inoculating at 2 brix has shortened MLF times compared to sprinkling Fairy Dust in carboys. The comparison for this year is comparing earlier inoculation to building the culture. OF course if you read some there sprinkle their yeast as well. Fairies at heart I guess.

  18. Gene Fiorot permalink*
    October 29, 2013

    @ Al what the freak is the Sangiovese doing???? Holy Cow. Are you reading this Musto?

  19. Gene Fiorot permalink*
    October 29, 2013

    To point out. You can see that Dave and Al are having somewhat different results. Same wine.

  20. Dan Lodico permalink
    October 30, 2013

    Gene, what’s wrong with using Opti-Malo to rehydrate MLB? It’s all I’ve ever used.
    I use a bit of it in my supercultures as well.

  21. Gaetano permalink
    October 30, 2013

    Acti-ML is used to rehydrate MLB (think of it as Go-ferm for MLB), Opti-Malo (Think of it as Fermaid for MLB) is the MLB nutrient added to the wine.


  22. Proud Puppy permalink
    October 30, 2013

    Exactly. Fairy dust 1 and fairy dust 2 ….may be similar or slightly different, but as far as we know they have different intended uses as per manufacturer. uses. You might have no problems interchanging, but for the few bucks, why mess with a $25 to $30 MLB culture. I think it better to stick with recommended uses …ie rehydration vs nutrient.

  23. Gene Fiorot permalink*
    October 30, 2013

    You know me I never question authority .

  24. Dan Lodico permalink
    October 30, 2013

    I never knew they had different purposes. IN fact, I ordered Opti-Malo from Morewine, and by mistake they sent Acti ML. They sent a lot. They said to keep it. So I did. Now I have both.

    I’ll use it next time. Thanks for making me smarter.

  25. Dan Lodico permalink
    October 31, 2013

    @Dave, regarding our CuSO4 fun….I can’t find anything on Lallemand site or Scottlab Manual discussing proper dosage of Noblesse for post-copper treatment. I thought I read Zacs recommendation somewhere, but I can’t find a dosage. It’s probably the standard Noblesse dosage, but I’m only guessing.

  26. Gene Fiorot permalink*
    October 31, 2013

    You are not the first one to make that mistake. A mistake probably with out much consequence.

    To settle out copper you can use pretty much any SIY at the high end of a post fermentation rate. You can also use live yeast. In the case of Al with his MLF complete, he racked his Malbec but it would have been better to add a SIY first then rack and then add it again and rack off that dose after the winter.

  27. Dan Lodico permalink
    October 31, 2013

    My plan is to add Noblesse today at 1g/gallon, stir every day for a week or so, and then let settle, and rack.
    After racking, add Noblesse again at the same rate, and leave it alone for 6 months.

    Any reason not to give it a dose of META now that MLF is complete?

  28. Jame permalink
    October 31, 2013

    I would like to know is MLF so important except of wine stability and high malic acid.

  29. MrWines permalink
    October 31, 2013

    MLF is performed on almost every red wine because it softens the acidic edge to give better balance between the tannins, alcohol, and flavor profile. The bacteria that cause the MLF conversion are basically everywhere (just as there are native yeasts everywhere) and the chances of it occurring in the bottle are very high and this would cause the wine to get bubbly, which is commonly viewed as a fault. To avoid this, MLF is forced before bottling. In whites, the flavor profile is more delicate and the sharp acid profile may be desirable for some varieties. Other products can be added to prevent MLF from occurring in the bottle. Your mouth reacts to acid by salivating, while tannins are drying. You want the appropriate balance for your wine. For whites, that tends to mean more salivating. I don’t particularly like harshly acidic wines, but prefer the smoother texture that MLF provides.

  30. Gaetano permalink
    October 31, 2013

    To add to what MrWines said, this comes direct from Lallemand:

    “If a spontaneous, but undesirable, strain of Malolactic bacteria becomes implanted in the winery, then all subsequent wine made in that winery, commercial or home winery, may be in danger of exhibiting the negative characteristics associated with that particular strain of bacteria.
    It is crucial that we add known, reliable strains of the bacteria, and not rely on the strains that have become implanted in our wineries. “

  31. Gaetano permalink
    October 31, 2013

    I have a quick question, it appears that my Cab Sauv has stalled at 3 brix, the temp is 80°, I just added another dose of Fermaid K and Yeast hulls, I’ve been punching down at least 4 times a day.
    I’ll wait until tomorrow and check with my trusty ole hydrometer, if it is still at 3 brix, should I try adding a packet of EC-1118 to encourage it to continue fermenting?
    I am open to suggestions, I really don’t wan’t 15 gallons of desert wine.
    Thanks in advance!


  32. MrWines permalink
    October 31, 2013

    I haven’t had a stuck fermentation yet, but I’m always fearful it will happen one day. I think it’s too late for Fermaid or Yeast hulls to do much since you’re so far along. However, if this were my problem, I would promptly follow the plan outlined in the ScottLabs Fermentation Handbook and get a small sample of it showing signs of fermenting and then slowly moving the rest of the 3 brix wine into it.

  33. Gaetano permalink
    October 31, 2013

    yeah, I’ve been reading that, I’m hoping that it’s just a case of BDX being slow to finish fermenting. I’ll know in a day.

  34. Glenn permalink
    November 1, 2013


    my cab is just finishing, cap barely rose today, looks like pressing tomorrow, thats 15 days I used RP15, never had a fermentation go this long

  35. Jame permalink
    November 1, 2013


    my cab also stopped last year @ 3 brix i restart it with uvaferm 43 that scott lab recommended me and its went down all the way, its now beautiful

  36. Gaetano permalink
    November 1, 2013

    That is a long time, but from what I’ve heard about BDX, I’m not jumping the gun just yet.
    Jame – this is good news, where did you purchase it?


  37. Gene Fiorot permalink*
    November 1, 2013

    @Dan Yes I see no need not to add S02.
    @ All you guys with the slow Ferments What are the temps? I too had a slow Lake County Cab ferment with BDX. But I managed to get it down to 1 when I pressed. I sure would like to hear from the guys who have it that there was plenty of car boy action on that for a good deal of time. When I get back I will get out the hydromenter and give it a test.
    @ Gaetano read the Scott labs fermentation guide on restarting stuck ferments.

  38. Glenn permalink
    November 1, 2013


    basement temp is 68, ferment got higher for a few days in the first week, to many things going on to actually measure. grapes were small berries and many didnt crushed as the rollers are open more than stock. I was figuring a couple extra days on the whole berries. The only other difference was using powdered pectic enzyme as i was out of my normal color pro enzyme. everything looks and smells fantastic. the cab is ten brink from M&M.

  39. Proud Puppy permalink
    November 1, 2013

    For sure the thick skins and the whole berries and BDX together gives a long ferment. The first and second thirds are a little longer, but the final drop from 7 or 8 brix goes slowly. Even with enzymes, getting at the last sugars sequestered in the whole berries requires more punching and mixing to keep it going. That has happened to me every year, and this year skins a little thicker it seems. I’m in no hurry. Started the Atlas Peak a week ago, and it is around 8 or 9 brix now, dropped from 82 degree peak to 79 to 80 this AM. Aroma is excellent, needed nutrients at the start, but did fine.

  40. Gaetano permalink
    November 1, 2013

    Gene and all,

    First and foremost, thanks for the advice, it is really appreciated.

    The temps were low at the initial stall at 19 brix, if it was really stalled, I added fermaid K and Yeast hulls and more heat as per your recommendation and it picked up a little speed fermenting.
    The temp has been between 78°-82° since then, however it seem to pause at 3 brix for 2 days, I added another dose of Fermaid K and today it is down to 1 Brix.

    The Scott labs fermentation guide is a real interesting read, my biggest concern was the fact that it is Friday, and I wouldn’t be able to get any of the recommended yeasts to restart a stuck fermentation or lysozyme to help control any bacteria issues until Monday, even if I overnighted them.

    I need to stock my “tool box” much better, I hate to admit to it, but this is really a case of being apprehensive due to being unprepared for various situations.

    I should be pressing tomorrow.

    Thanks again,


  41. Proud Puppy permalink
    November 1, 2013

    Keep up with the punching down for O2 and to mix and keep moving, and it will probably be ok from the sound of it. Don’t add any more nutrients though, I doubt there is any need at this point.
    I also wouldn’t use Lysozyme as this would really hurt chances for MLF going well.

    Even if you press at 1.000 or 1.002 you will see it go dry within a couple of days. Measuring right after pressing will show a slight increase in sg as the release of sugars will cause the elevation. That all will ferment out as well. The O2 at press stimulates the final push alot of times.

  42. Gaetano permalink
    November 1, 2013

    Proud Puppy, agreed, I added very small amount of nutrient, i was apprehensive about using Lysozyme, but I was trying to formulate a game plan based upon the Scotts Fermenting handbook.
    Much appreciated for the advice!


  43. Dave O'Brien permalink
    November 2, 2013

    Yes Gene, there is still considerable action in the Cab carboys. Slowing down but still pretty active. The Merlot is the same.

  44. Rocco permalink
    November 2, 2013

    I must say co-fermenting our must this year with the season we had,all our reds are complete.Last year I think our reds weren’t finished till after the new year.My koch re-started in the late summer in the barrel.What an experience!!!It was not mlf but the wine going dry.Man you need patience for this thats for sure.@Gaetano Im with PP.Keep that Lysozyme far away from your red wines.

  45. Gene Fiorot permalink*
    November 2, 2013

    Thanks Dave , the more it rips the better I feel. So the question in my mind is this. First I didn’t really have much whole berry to speak of. The brix was high as we know so I would expect a longer ferment. Using BDX is slower than others but in no way should be considered a slow fermenter. In the past a division of 2 when reaching 6 brix is the usual reduction in 24 hours. All that being said we did not get that usual reduction. The temps were in the 80s so we can rule out that. Were the yeasts a bit tired from the higher alcohol or did the ML bacteria interfer? As far as Nutrients the last I added was fermaid O at 10 brix. I certainly would not want to add any DAP but extraordinary circumstances could call for extraordinary actions. So with all this in mind and a half ton of frozen Silverado Six with 28 brix along with a half ton of Paso Robles Petite Verdot also frozen and this is November the question is 1. Which Yeast to pick?
    2. Co fermentation of not?

    Your thoughts gentlemen. But before I leave you with these questions let me add that Yeast better be high alcohol tolerant, low producer of H2S and it better be a fast one too. What say you.

  46. Proud Puppy permalink
    November 2, 2013

    Water back and you should be OK with most of the usual yeasts, including BDX. Also monitor for H2S and have some Fermaid O on board early. Remember, that 28 Brix is showing now, but if still equilibrating the raisins and dried berries it could be higher. Aim for at least 25 Brix or even a little lower.

  47. Proud Puppy permalink
    November 2, 2013

    Also, as it is mostly water you may not want to acidulate, or only acidulate with say 25 to 30 percent of the usual .6 acidity. ie only 1.5 to 2 gms /liter Tartaric, so it does not get over acidified.
    Or only use water and then re check the pH and taste to see if it needs any acid.

  48. Gene Fiorot permalink*
    November 2, 2013

    Yes the Acid is another thing to consider with watering back but I have serious reservations dropping 4 Brix with water. Jeeez that’s a lot! What was it about “extraordinary circumstances”?…… One thing is to look for is the push up of Brix after a day in the vat but remember this is frozen fruit with berries exploded. So I think the sugar is well mixed and dissolved. Heck we may start at 30 like Frankie Juice reported. I hope not.

  49. Gene Fiorot permalink*
    November 2, 2013

    One thing is for sure we could use a very hot ferment to blow off some alcohol. GRE???? maybe? Maybe we should sacrifice the “Bordeaux Notes” of BDX for some DEEP HEAT.

  50. Gene Fiorot permalink*
    November 2, 2013

    I take it back no GRE. How about V1116 I am liking this. You?

  51. Rocco permalink
    November 2, 2013

    Water back to 26 to 26.5.Bdx is great for the cab also rp15.I would go with syrah yeast with the P.verdot.

  52. Proud Puppy permalink
    November 2, 2013

    Gene, the GRE for the last 3 seasons was no hotter than average, not near D254, and the Merlot 3 years running did have a lot of Bordeaux quality to it. I really like using it. Yeah a little faster than BDX for sure!

  53. Proud Puppy permalink
    November 2, 2013

    Actually if anythig like the other Cabs, it will need alot of nutrients. Fermaid O up front, but after LAG a few grams of DAP will be needed and that should help the temp get up into mid to upper 80s

  54. Gene Fiorot permalink*
    November 2, 2013

    Well V1116 1. Alcohol Tolerance 18% 2. Temps to 95 3. Low nutrient needs 4. Low h2s Production 5. Low H2S even with low Nitrogen availability. 6. Good for aging reds. 7. Considered a fast fermenter. I am trying to see a downside here but having major difficulty.

  55. Proud Puppy permalink
    November 2, 2013

    Neutral varietal aroma influence? Not a downside but..Meh!

  56. Proud Puppy permalink
    November 2, 2013

    I think there is a more than subtle difference in watering back 3 or 4 points from a high brix grape..(old time CV fruit) and replacement of H2O from dehydration. One is an alteration of grape balance and that is more likely to be a little less harmonious, than restoring the original fruit qualities before dehydration.
    True some dehydration was while on the vine, but alot is from after it was picked. Most often a high brix grape is derived from acidity conversion and late hang, giving a low TA and high pH.
    The A.P. Cab was well balanced apart from the mild dehydration. I used almost no Tartaric.

  57. Gene Fiorot permalink*
    November 2, 2013

    Ron this is a bit of new territory. And the point besides being well taken needs some serious discussion. Dehydration serves one master while the Old CV Fruit with high brix was a sad event knowing what you were about to do to the constituency of the wine when you added water. Clearly I am operating from a CV perspective while I can see the dehydration principles you raise. I suppose it makes sense to assume dehydration has taken place but I am not sure other than the TA PH results how to be sure. For one thing I have learned not to trust the TA at crush. But only because I have seen a large increase of TA at the end of fermentation. I have written on this phenomena before. So if we have high pH and low TA the temptation is to add some acid. And the assumption to add acid in line with the water addition is understandable with CV fruit but the case you are making is the acid is there and you probably don’t need to add too much if any at the beginning of fermentation. Your advice to add only 25% to the water used is well taken.

    I wish I had a better grasp on dehydration identification other than counting raisins. Or better I could pick them all off and add them post fermentation as the GURU of suggests. LOL!!!

  58. Proud Puppy permalink
    November 2, 2013

    LOL! I think we see more of this this season, as we were readied to have an early harvest from the heat. The managing of that was to not have any more water to shut the vines down, rather than end up with CV results. I think shutting the vines down caused slower transition from acid to sugar, but also allowed some to move toward raisoning but the weather cooled a bit at the end so they needed to hang a little longer than intended. Only the high end growers used this strategy it seems.

  59. Proud Puppy permalink
    November 2, 2013

    I also meant to add the reason for this was to allow the phenolic maturity to catch up without raising the sugar too high or diluting by waterin down, which alters the concentration expected from the Napa grapes. Trading off a little too much concentration (and raisining) to bring the phenols in line.

  60. Glenn permalink
    November 3, 2013


    with the old CV fruit I used to remove the dehydrated grapes/ raisins from the clusters before crush so they would not impact the numbers. this allowed a stable brix/ph/ta profile at about the 26/3.8/5.0 which was easily adjusted and produced adequate wine. (lol) 🙂

  61. Glenn permalink
    November 3, 2013


    need a edit capability on the blog….

  62. Gene Fiorot permalink*
    November 3, 2013

    I will point that edit request to Anthony who manages the blog

  63. Gaetano permalink
    November 3, 2013

    If you can use Google Chrome as a browser, it underlines any misspellings in red so you can make corrections, usually by right clicking the misspelled word ans selecting the correct spelling from its auto generated list….can you tell that I use it a lot?…..LMAO!!!

  64. MrWines permalink
    November 3, 2013

    I just pressed my Silverado six that I had watered back considerably because I had a number of raisins in the blend. I fermented with D254, RC212, and RP15. All three finished at exactly the same time (they hit 1.00 about day 7) and dropped modestly the next few days. They each smelled a bit different at the end and made a nice blended complex set of aromas coming off the press. Despite the heavy watering back, the wine tastes terrific. I did need a heavy dose of dap though because if the low YAN because of some minor H2S that popped up on day 1.

  65. Dan Lodico permalink
    November 3, 2013

    Wow, lots of good information here.
    Gene, we have heard that the Silverado may have 28-30 Brix, have you heard any numbers on pH and TA? don’t suppose we have a YAN , do we?

    Interesting point about getting fooled on the addition of acidulated water based on TA at crush. This must be what happened to my Las Amigas Merlot last year?

    Regarding the yeast: My plan was a split of 254 and 80 (same with my AP Merlot)…Sounds like you will be making your decisions on watering and acid before I start mine. I will be watching the blog very carefully.

    I have my O, my K, and my DAP ready.

    I was even thinking of asking Frankie J if he has any frozen Cab Franc with low Brix to blend with the Silver, but an squeamish about adding anything to the Silver pre-ferment.

    Your thoughts on that? Puppy? Anyone?

  66. Proud Puppy permalink
    November 3, 2013

    I would stick with the plan to water back a little, check pH and if you want TA, and decide on 25% of calculated acidity for the amount of H2O if pH above 3.55 to 3.6. Otherwise add even less or none. Ferment it alone, you can blend later when you know the result. Taste will let you know if any further acid tweaks needed. stay on the low side for sure.

    Without knowing the YAN, your best bet is to assume you need O, and maybe K and DAP for sure, because of other’s experience with it. Even watered back the ferment was stressed with different yeasts. My AP Cab did exactly that and I was prepared as it had a YAN of 125 or so( 70 ammonia and 53 of N-OPA ) which means very high risk, and it behaved that way as soon as lag was over. Could have been nightmare, but I used alot of DAP spread over the first 1/2 most by 1/3 in and was clean as a whistle after first 48 hrs until finishing this afternoon. Will press in 24 hrs.

  67. Dan Lodico permalink
    November 4, 2013

    Thanks . picking it all up this weekend.

  68. Zac Brown permalink
    November 5, 2013

    We had a good discussion on inoculation timing in this thread that followed my post about my 2010s

  69. Gene Fiorot permalink*
    November 6, 2013

    Great Story Zac! AND I have received a box from Canada and guess what is in it? Zac’s Wine.
    SO Fellas we need to have a dinner very soon so we can report back to Zac our impressions. I can’t wait!!!!

    I am back in New York and will be reporting on the last of the season coming this Saturday.

  70. Dan Lodico permalink
    November 6, 2013

    If I come to the December party, will there be some of Zac’s wine?

  71. Gene Fiorot permalink*
    November 6, 2013

    OK twist my arm. We will wait until December just for you.

  72. Dan Lodico permalink
    November 6, 2013

    Just did chromo on the Sangio and the Petite Sirah… MLF not completed. anyone else?

  73. Dave O'Brien permalink
    November 7, 2013

    There is still a good amount of activity in the Merlot, Cab, Sangio, and Petit Sirah…don’t see any reason to waste another test just yet.

    Did I hear dinner in December??? Do we have a date? As always I get all excited about seeing you guys. (especially when you all bring your wine to a dinner)

  74. Gene Fiorot permalink*
    November 7, 2013

    relax dude. You can keep your wine Saturday Wine date period! You can keep your doctor! Shit you can keep your ass if it is not attached to you. If not? Well then you fall under the regime of Marty Yule. So if that is the case then, just be there on Saturday Morning. There will be no liars in attendance. Marty I will keep under control. Promise. Well………not so sure

  75. Proud Puppy permalink
    November 7, 2013

    I only hope you are talking about a certain Master chef P— C—– in the 10707 zip to appease a bunch of hungry and intoxicated wine enthusiasts who require serious chow to pair with the ridiculous quality quaff that is in tow, or do we need to summon Master Marty to make proper arrangements ?

  76. Gene Fiorot permalink*
    November 7, 2013

    Clarification is needed regarding my last post above. Today I can assure you I have only a faint idea of what it actually was supposed to mean. I can also tell you, in spite of my inability to provide a reasonable explanation of the meaning today, it made perfect sense last night when I wrote it. It looks to me as if it was a transformational moment.

    Yes Puppy we are going to plan a dinner at that zip code.

  77. Proud Puppy permalink
    November 7, 2013

    Strange thing was, Martini Master, I did and still do understand the post!

  78. Gene Fiorot permalink*
    November 7, 2013

    That’s great Puppy if anyone could understand it would be you. Could you do me a favor and explain it to Dave. He called me this morning and asked if I was ok.

  79. Proud Puppy permalink
    November 7, 2013

    Dave, when they were trying to pull the wool er ah rather ‘sell’ Oh-bomb-uh care to the gullable, they started with ‘you can keep your doctor’……. well you can sort of but you lose your insurance and pay way more for less when you re register for a new policy !!!! Then when we all start with martinis from the frustration…. and that brings us to Marty- ini, and you can follow from there.

  80. Dan Lodico permalink
    November 7, 2013

    I was pretty sure it was a “Martini Moment”, but wasn’t feeling secure enough with my status in the locker room to say anything out loud. Besides, I was drinking Manhattans, and I wasn’t positive it was the Martinis talking, and not the Manhattans listening.

  81. Gene Fiorot permalink*
    November 7, 2013

    During a recent deliberation with Marty, it has been decided Dan has from now on has locker room status. Feel secure Dan. Now to address the Ying of Martinis and the Yang of Manhattans I offer no advice. There is a beauty in all of that…. I think?

    On another note Our Siverado Six and Paso Petite Verdot was removed from the freezer today for delivery on Saturday.

  82. Dan Lodico permalink
    November 8, 2013

    Thanks, coach. I’m picking mine up tomorrow. Next week is a fermenting week and I’m very eager to get to it.

  83. Proud Puppy permalink
    November 8, 2013

    Having pressed out the AP Cab I think the best way to go on the Silverado is adding back the dehydrated volume, and minimal acid, if any. After addition of only water, there is almost no shift in pH and the acid is not necessary by taste or pH. From the sound of it you are a little more dehydrated than AP Cab. On three lugs I added 3.5 to 4 liters (including along with powder additions,nutrients etc.) and only 9 gms Tartaric. Plenty of acid backbone, pH around 3.6 last measure, and it is equal or better that the snobstoffer misserable hop-away at this Never had an aroma like this. The AP Merlot I could pass on but I think it differed in some ways than your load. quite good but not like THIS!
    I strongly suggest you go that route. Even the yield was normal for the volume post rehydration. Not more. And still very very concentrated. Could have used a little more water.

  84. MrWines permalink
    November 8, 2013

    Are you 100% sure on your pH of 3.60? My Silverado fresh grapes were 3.85 after diluting with adding acidulated water at 6 g/l. I would have loved to have started at 3.6. I was also very impressed with how concentrated the flavors, aromas, and colors were despite my dilution … but I know that one particular lug of grapes had a lot more raisined grapes than the other three lugs.

  85. Proud Puppy permalink
    November 8, 2013

    Yeah, I started at 3.68 and stayed in that range during cold soak. The little acid was pretty well mixed when tested, and really only shifted slightly. I expected a rise after H2O, but the buffering kept constant. Still has not changed, and I will re check again, once all the CO2 is out, but I expect 3.65 tops, and after MLF maybe 3.7 but I am happy with the #s. Atlas peak might be a bit different than Silverado, but my point is the H2O doesn’t bump up much from where it usually changes after crush.

  86. Gene Fiorot permalink*
    November 8, 2013

    Don’t kill me I am not the Chemistry Major. But. If you take a sample of Must or Wine for a PH test and get a reading you then add distilled water for a TA test. If you test the ph of the sample with the water it is almost exactly the same as the 100% Must. SO. If you add distilled water to a vat with grapes what makes you think you are going to alter the PH of the Must that much. You certainly have altered the TA or grams of acid per liter. Just Sayin.. I am just throwing this out here for perspective keeping this in mind.

  87. MrWines permalink
    November 8, 2013

    I suppose there’s a rational explanation why pH doesn’t actually move (ratio of hydrogen ions staying constant, ratio being the key word here, which is what pH is measuring). You will, however, dilute your TA by a simple linear relationship. I’m just surprised that my grapes had a pH of 3.85 and yours were 3.65, even after I bumped up the TA modestly. M&M only received a couple palettes of the grapes, so I wouldn’t think the harvest conditions would be that different one batch to the next.

    Why are you using distilled water to dilute? Why not use non-chlorinated bottled water like Poland Spring (I called once and inquired – they provide a complete mineral breakdown of their water online as well) if your concern is cork taint. Yeasts like the minerals in regular water that are stripped out during the distillation process (which is why it’s not healthy to drink).

  88. Gene Fiorot permalink*
    November 8, 2013

    I have always used distilled water for all winemaking purposes. I have heard the Mineral Thing many times and I am not convinced yeast is going to know the difference when exposed to the Must. I also think distilled water is going to have the least bacterial load of other choices. All this may be for naught and it could wind up just another myth put into practice for many years in Fear Winemaking School . As far as Spring Water is concerned I wouldn’t trust that as far as I can throw it. My dogs can attest to that. Ugh! Then there is Purified Water I am not sure what the deal is with that.

  89. Proud Puppy permalink
    November 8, 2013

    Exactly the same reasoning in the TA test dilution. Diluting acid per volume gives flavor less acidic to wine wine (diluted w respect to volume) but TA test covers whole sample (based on starting sample volume) regardless of dilution. The pH does not show change with dilution until NaOH added.

  90. Proud Puppy permalink
    November 8, 2013

    3.85 and 3.6 are different but they are from different vineyards,Silverado and Stagecoach Atlas Peak are several miles apart. That isn’t surprising. My Atlas Peak Merlot was below 3.3 and I was surprised that Gene’s were 3.6 and they ARE from the same vineyard. Lots of variation happens.

  91. Gene Fiorot permalink*
    November 8, 2013

    Silverado Six is from Rutherford much different than Atlas Peak.

  92. Proud Puppy permalink
    November 8, 2013

    They are actually less than 2 mi apart but to drive between them it is over 10 mi because a small ‘mountain’ range is between them.
    Mountain fruit are usually more acidic, due to the temp fluctuations and cooler nights, Rutherford is more valley temp… not like Central valley though! LOL

  93. MrWines permalink
    November 8, 2013

    My apologies puppy – I misread and thought that your 3.6 reference was referring to the Silverado grapes. Totally agree you’ll see wide differences given the sharp change in microclimates from mountain fruit vs. Napa bench.

    The way I look at the water issue is simply that we’re adding Fermaid or GoFerm to ensure the yeast have proper nutrients to thrive well. Plus, if I’m consuming it, I would rather it not be distilled. 🙂

  94. Gaetano permalink
    November 8, 2013

    Very interesting posts.


  95. Gaetano permalink
    November 9, 2013

    Sorry to vent but………….

    I don’t know why I still read posts on WinePress, this guy Gregorio is a self righteous, pompous ass!
    The amount of times that this guy has told some “its game over” for their wine, when it could have and has been corrected, in one instance, I’ve actually helped the distraught winemaker out when he was going to dump a batch of wine because it was “game over”…grrrrr…
    But the absolute best post to fully appreciate his character is to read this thread:,
    It isn’t long, but you really have to read it, by the time I read his post, I just couldn’t believe the arrogance….this guy loves himself so much, I’m sure that he wants to die in his own arms!


  96. Dan Lodico permalink
    November 9, 2013

    Gene et. al. regarding the Silverado: let’s recap…
    I have mine defrosting at the moment. Gene, did you get yours today? I’m still in Putnam Valley so I haven’t done any tests..I’ll try to test tomorrow.
    I have the AP Merlot, and the Silverado Cab….

    My plan is to split both batches and do 1/2 of each with D80, and 254, and blending them.

    From what I read on the Llalemand site they are both “moderate’ speed fermenters, tolerate up to 16% alcohol, and have “medium” N requirements… any concerns here?

    Regarding the Silver, I’m getting conflicting ideas regarding acidulating or not acidulating the watering back. I’m thinking I’ll water it back and then monitor TA as it progresses.. I don’t want to turn it into lemonade like I did my Las Amigas Merlot last year. got fooled big time.

    Gene, what were your pre-and post ferment numbers with the AP Merlot?

  97. Gene Fiorot permalink*
    November 9, 2013

    And vent you did. First I have to say to Gaetano you are entitled to your opinion and you are entitled to say it here. If Greg Perrucci wants to respond he certainly can, he knows the Blog. I want to remind everyone when I created this Blog it was not going to censor the remarks of contributors. There is no doubt there are friends of Greg who post here and may take offense at Gaetano’s remarks. Any and all of you are free to respond or not. We are all Big Boys. I hope all of you consider this and not let anyone’s remarks affect your contributions in the future here.

  98. Gene Fiorot permalink*
    November 9, 2013

    NOW I am going to have a Martini.

  99. Gaetano permalink
    November 9, 2013

    Sorry, I didn’t mean to ruffle any feathers…you can feel free to delete the post at your convenience, I realize that there are members of Winepress that post on this blog.
    If I was out of line, I apologize, I’ll keep my personal views to myself, I enjoy reading the posts here, I’ve learned a good amount here, and wouldn’t want anyone to stop posting due to my indiscretions.


  100. Dan Lodico permalink
    November 10, 2013

    Gaetano, from my newly established position securing my status in the locker room, I can tell you not to worry about it. This is no place for thin skins. Unless you are a Pinot Noir grape.

  101. Gaetano permalink
    November 10, 2013

    Dan, thanks I appreciate it.


  102. bzac permalink
    November 10, 2013

    Greg’s got thick skin he can handle it.

    in his defense there are only two people online that I would turn to for advice if I didn’t know what to do. One is daniel pambianachi , the other is greg .

    otherwise i tend to keep my own council.

  103. Gaetano permalink
    November 10, 2013

    Zac, there are few people that I tend to take their word as “gold” when it comes to wine, you are one of them.
    I let a bad morning effect the way I posted, unfortunately, I cannot take back what I posted.


  104. Proud Puppy permalink
    November 10, 2013

    In his defense I do agree with Zac, but ya gotta give the man kudos. It must be like a kindergarten teacher in a room full of screaming kids, moderating the majority of posts like that, especially alot of the same stupid questions over and over. I would be able to handle that for about a week, but for the fact I am no where near as qualified. He does know his stuff for sure, and he is practical.

  105. Proud Puppy permalink
    November 10, 2013

    And good choice on the Silverado. It may well require some acid but it will probably be less than you think. AP Cab ended up at 3.64 and had a LITTLE acidulation, but minimal. Silverado TA is a little low but if it stays low a conservative start of 0.25 to 0.5 gm /Liter total volume would would help the pH and not be near overaddition. Any way you won’t need a big tweak even if you wait till after AF.

  106. crazy run ranch permalink
    November 22, 2013

    Hey guys, just catching up after the last push to finish harvest then go catch up on the day job. I missed Dan’s question to me about 50 posts up:
    “I was trying to envision what the steps would be if I were taking the long slow road to MLF, in a barrel, and I noticed a problem. Compared to the relative warm comfortable feeling of knowing my wine is SO2′d while it ages in my barrel”
    I think its a very good question. I’ve never had any problems during a long, slow, MLF. In fact, taking it to the extreme, I had a barrel of Grenache just finish MLF and SO2’d it today. Small detail is that this was a 2012 wine! Now to explain, I worked really hard to get that wine through MLF. I hindsight, it would have been a great candidate for co-ferment. Yet despite a year in the barrel with no SO2, the wine is great. Apparently, the wine isn’t very hospitable to bacteria of any sort! Any back to the question and topic. If you are nervous about a wines stability for any reason, I would get it through MLF as quick as possible. If you want to go co-innoculation or just warm and fast after primary is a matter of what feels better to you. But if you have great fruit, especially Pinot or Syrah, and good pH, a long MLF with the corresponding late addition of SO2 might allow the wine to develop differently than the hurry up and nuke it with SO2 method. I’m far from certain, just giving it a try.

  107. Dan Lodico permalink
    November 22, 2013

    Crazy Run, thanks for your thoughtful response. I suppose one logical approach would be to assume that if the cultured ML bacteria find it so inhospitable, so will the spoilage organisms.

    My personality tends towards “obsessive control freak”….and that’s from people who love me.

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