Sunday, January 13, 2008

Starting malolactic "fermentation"....

It's almost three weeks since Brehm 2007 grapes arrived and we began yeast fermentation. That's mostly all wrapped up now. Ready for malolactic "fermentation" - I put "fermentation" in quotes because this bacterial process isn't formally a fermentation, but more of a bacterial conversion process.

Controvery exists over the timing of malolactic fermentation - do you start it when you start yeast fermentation, or after yeast fermentationcompletes? Much debate exists. Some folks are even engineering yeasts to do both fermentations simultaneously.

My choice for the time being remains with a post-yeast fermentation start. That's mostly because there is some suggestion that bioamine production is likely to be higher if you begin malolactic fermentation earlier. That's not a good thing - for health reasons. And since I have no way of monitoring that, I'll play it a bit safer.

Ok, so we'll do malolactic after yeast fermentation - but before or after pressing? Most assumptions are that you would press right at dryness, then, after pressing, start malolactic. But I want to perform extended maceration. So, since my grapes remain warm now, I'd love an excuse to think I could start malolactic BEFORE pressing.

Well, howdy-doody! Here's an excerpt I just saw from a Stavin publication about micro-oxygenation: "Preferably, a winemaker will inoculate for malolactic fermentation toward the end of primary fermentation (before pressing), utilizing the warmer wine temperatures to help the bacteria get started."

Works for me!

I'll rehydrate EnoFerm Beta malolactic culture with filtered water, some Acti-ML nutrient and add it today.

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