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The Winemaker’s Think Tank: Vol 33 – “What are Malo lactic bacteria and when do I add them?”

What’s the Winemaker’s Think Tank?

Every Thursday we will post about a few frequently asked questions that our winemaker has answered. If you have a winemaking question you would like to have answered, please email us at support@juicegrape.com and we will try to get into next week’s post. Cheers! :)

 

Cropped shot of a sommelier pouring a glass of wine right out the barrel

What are Malo lactic bacteria and when do I add them?

              Malo lactic bacteria are a specific strain of bacteria from the Lactobacteriaceae family, typically Oenococcus. These bacteria perform a secondary fermentation, in which they consume malic acid and process it into lactic acid and carbon dioxide. This process is necessary for most reds and sometimes used in Chardonnay production, depending on the winemaker’s stylistic choice. This secondary fermentation processes the more astringent malic acid into the more favorable lactic acid which gives the wine a creamier mouthfeel and more of a mid-palette balance. For Chardonnay it reduces the predominant apple flavor and yields a richer, buttery flavor.

              Malo lactic bacteria have a few critical factors to lead to their healthy, successful fermentation. The bacteria favor an environment that has a pH greater than 3.2. They like a warmer temperature environment of above 60°F. They are able to withstand a bit of SO, but no more than 50ppm, less than that being ideal. They also have an alcohol tolerance of less than 16%. Each strain of malo-lactic bacteria has its own parameters within which it is most effective. It is important to evaluate these factors when selecting your strain of bacteria to ensure its ability to complete the fermentation.

              There are several modes of thought as to the timing of the inoculation of the malolactic bacteria. For the novice winemaker, the inoculation of bacteria after primary alcoholic fermentation is complete may be more advantageous as the will be only one fermentation going on at a time, causing fewer variables to monitor on behalf of the winemaker. Because the yeast has consumed many of the nutrients available to them during primary fermentation, there will be less nutrients available to the bacteria to assist them in conducting malolactic fermentation. A bacterial fermentation nutrient such as Opti-malo Plus should be used to give them the proper nutrition they need to finish their fermentation. Yeast also partially metabolize malic acid throughout their fermentation process; inoculating the bacteria after alcoholic fermentation is complete eliminates the competition for that nutrient for either fermenting agent (yeast or bacteria).

              After discussing the benefits of conducting MLF after primary fermentation, there are equally, if not more benefits to co-inoculating the bacteria with the yeast during primary fermentation. It is a popular mode of thinking to inoculate bacteria at 2/3 depletion of Brix levels; the yeast have already passed their exponential growth phase and are on the latter half of their work load. The yeast fermentation will be over the peak in activity which causes dramatic spikes in temperature yet will still be producing some heat to create a nice warm environment for the bacteria to live. With the primary still not yet complete, there will be more nutrients (amino acids, tannins, minerals) to assist the bacteria in their fermentation. This is not to say that the winemaker should not use a malolactic nutrient. The nutrients are still critical in ensuring a through malolactic fermentation. Another benefit of co-inoculation is the aspect of time. By adding the bacteria early on, the malolactic fermentation will complete earlier than if the winemaker were to wait and begin the bacterial fermentation after primary fermentation is complete. This is less time that the wine is without sulfites and at risk of oxidation.  As previously mentioned, the yeast also metabolize between 10-40% of the malic acid content within the grapes. By introducing the bacteria earlier, they will have potentially have access to more malic acid, which they will convert to lactic acid, resulting in a creamier, softer mouthfeel. Another benefit of earlier introduction is a lower concentration of alcohol by volume. Most bacteria function best below 16% ABV, so when fermenting a wine that will potentially be high in alcohol, early inoculation may be critical to give the bacteria a head start against the rising alcohol levels.  As with most things in life, there is a downside to having a high concentration of lactic acid: lactic acid bacteria. There are bacterial strains that feed on lactic acid and can generate sauerkraut or tart yogurt flavors, regarded as a wine fault.

              Another frequently asked question regarding MLF, is how does the winemaker know when it is complete? There are two ways to test for the completion of this fermentation at home. One way is to use a malic acid test to test for any residual malic acid left in the wine. These tests are relatively simple to conduct by the home winemaker, with simple malic acid test kits available for home use for under $50 (includes 10 individual tests). This test is slightly limiting as it will simply test for the presence of malic acid. If the winemaker wants to do a partial MLF on a Chardonnay, for example, this test may not be as useful.  Paper chromatography is the preferred method of testing to see if MLF is complete. The kit is more expensive, $90, but will potentially yield hundreds of test. The benefit of this test is the winemaker can then compare the amount of malic vs lactic acid in the wine and see the proportional transition. This will better assist the winemaker in deciding when to stop the fermentation if they wish to do a partial ferment on a Chardonnay. Lastly, for the incredibly detailed, expert home winemaker, they may send a sample to an outside laboratory for analysis. The lab can give them acid quantities present in the wine as well as confirmation of the completion of the fermentation process.

              In summary, while there are a myriad of opinions on the timing of the introduction of malo-lactic bacteria, there is no wrong one. The novice winemaker may want to post pone the introduction of the bacteria until primary fermentation is complete to reduce the amount of variables to monitor. The inoculation of the bacteria during the primary fermentation may be more beneficial for the bacteria and the resulting wine, however requires more careful monitoring. As long as the bacteria have proper temperatures and nutrition needs are met, they will conduct a successful secondary fermentation.

We hope this information helps with your winemaking. If you have any follow up questions or winemaking questions in general, please email us at support@juicegrape.com.

Grapes & Juices in Stock as of 10/4/17 at 8:08AM

merlot on barrel

Wine Juices:

  • All California Varieties
  • Labels: California Select, Colina del Sol, Cry Baby, and Lodi Gold

Wine Grapes:

  • Central Valley:
    • Cabernet Franc
    • Old Vine Barbera
    • Mixed Black
    • Sangiovese
    • Muscat 42lb
    • Clone 337 Cabernet
    • Symphony
    • Merlot
    • Old Vine Black Muscat
    • Petite Verdot
    • Barbera
    • Alicante 36lb
  • Lodi:
    • Tannat
    • Merlot
    • Muscat 42lbs
    • Petite Sirah
    • Old Vine Barbera
    • Old Vine Zinfandel
    • Cabernet Franc
    • Zinfandel
  • Suisun Valley:
    • Barbera
    • Chardonnay
    • Sangiovese
    • Primitivo
    • Muscat Cannelli
  • Washington State
    • Merlot
    • Pinot Noir
  • Paso Robles
    • Cabernet Franc
    • Syrah
    • Zinfandel
    • Merlot
    • Cabernet

 

Full List of Grapes & Juices In Stock as of 9/29/17 at 7:25AM

Grapes in Stock: Paso Robles Zinfandel, Paso Robles Cabernet Franc, Paso Robles Pinot Noir, Caterina Cabernet Franc, Caterina Petite Sirah, King’s River Cabernet Franc, Caterina Muscats, Muscat King, Lucerene Alicante, King’s River Albarino, Lodi Gold Petite Sirah, Cry Baby Muscats, Lanza Petite Sirah, Lanza Cabernet, Lanza Primitivo, Lanza Sangiovese, Lanza Barbera, Lanza Muscat Cannelli, Cry Baby Merlot, Cry Baby Barbera, Lugano Old Vine Zinfandel, Caterina Old Vine Zinfandel, Cry Baby Cabernet Clone 337, Lodi Gold Black Muscat, Valley Beauty Zinfandel, and Malvasia Bianca. More grapes arrivng hourly.

Juices in Stock: ALL Varieties!!

The Winemaker’s Think Tank: Vol 32 – “What do I do if I have a stuck fermentation?”

What’s the Winemaker’s Think Tank?

Every Thursday we will post about a few frequently asked questions that our winemaker has answered. If you have a winemaking question you would like to have answered, please email us at support@juicegrape.com and we will try to get into next week’s post. Cheers! :)

Closeup of early 30's man having some wine in the middle of the day and thinking about his relationship problem. Somewhere at the bottom of the glass there is a meaning of everything that bothers him right now.

What do I do if I have a stuck fermentation?

                  Sometimes, even though we take great care as winemakers to avoid it, we can get caught with a stuck fermentation. Yeast are incredible creatures, capable of very rapid reproduction, but they do have their limiting factors. It is very important to know the limitations of the certain yeast strain that you are using for your wine. Evaluate your must’s pH to ensure that it is above 3.2, the lower pH environmental threshold for most yeast strains. Take into consideration the alcohol tolerance of the yeast that you selected. If you take the initial Brix level and multiply it by .55, you will have a pretty close estimate of your ending alcohol by volume. Make sure that you haven’t put in a yeast that is unable to handle the rising alcohol levels of the must. Another important factor to consider is the temperature of the must. All yeast strains have a preferred temperature window in which they like to work and reproduce. Because fermentation is an exothermic reaction, check your temperatures (if making reds always take a measurement under the cap) and be sure they haven’t gotten so warm that the yeast may be dying off. The opposite is also true, ensuring that your juice or must have warmed up enough to allow the yeast to begin their processing. Lastly, another important factor to  consider in the health of your fermentation is the nutrition of your yeast. Aside from the sugar that they consume, yeast also need proteins, vitamins, and minerals to complete a healthy fermentation. Using a nutrient, such as Fermaid, will give the yeast the other elements needed to properly process the juice.

                  After the careful evaluation of these factors, you may need to add a small amount of water, nutrients, or heat or cool the must/juice. A winemaker at Musto Wine Grape is happy to help you with the amounts and timing of these additions. If all of these factors have been evaluated and adjusted for, prior to fermentation, and you still have a stuck fermentation, you will need to restart the fermentation. Please contact support@juicegrape.com and a trained winemaker can help you with a restart procedure.

We hope this information helps with your winemaking. If you have any follow up questions or winemaking questions in general, please email us at support@juicegrape.com.

Grapes & Juices in Stock as of 9/26/17 at 7:33AM

PLEASE CALL AHEAD BEFORE YOU PICK UP.

Our inventory moves very quickly and we want to make sure we have everything you want in stock. Sincerely, The Musto Crush Crew

California Juices:  California Select, Cry Baby, and Colina del Sol – All Varieties in Stock

Lodi Gold Juices (California): Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Muscat, Thompson Seedless, Merlot, Mixed Black, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Zinfandel

California Wine Grapes:

  • California Special Barbera
  • Lugano Barbera
  • Pia Cabernet Sauvignon
  • Caterina Petite Sirah
  • Cry Baby Grenache
  • Caterina Cabernet Sauvignon
  • Uva di California Ruby Cabernet
  • Zinderella Zinfandel
  • Muscat King #36
  • Valley Beauty Zinfandel
  • Cry Baby Cabernet Sauvignon Clone 337
  • Pia Sangiovese
  • Teaser Zinfandel (small quantities – call ahead)
  • Teaser Grenache (small quantities – call ahead)
  • Pia Malbec
  • Caterina Old Vine Zinfandel
  • Caterina Sangiovese
  • Caterina Old Vine Carignane
  • Caterina Merlot
  • Cry Baby Sangiovese
  • Costamagna Merlot
  • Cry Baby Sangiovese
  • Costamagna Cabernet Sauvignon
  • Cry Baby Syrah
  • Cry Baby Muscat #36
  • Costamagna Viognier
  • Caterina Thompson Seedless #42
  • Caterina Pinot Noir
  • Smiling Baby Merlot
  • King’s River Albarino
  • Lodi Gold Albarino
  • Pia Cabernet Franc
  • Cry Baby Mixed Black
  • Lanza Petite Verdot
  • Lanza Chardonnay
  • Lanza Petite Sirah
  • Lanza Primitivo
  • Lanza Cabernet Clone 8 (Valley) – CALL to Confirm
  • Lanza Sangiovese
  • Lanza Barbera
  • Lanza Malbec
  • Lanza Muscat Cannelli
  • King’s River Cabernet Franc
  • Paso Robles Cabernet Franc
  • Cry Baby Malbec
  • Lodi Gold Tannat
  • Paso Robles Pinot Noir
  • Paso Robles Merlot
  • Lodi Gold Pinot Noir
  • King’s River Tempranillo
  • Cry Baby Old Vine Black Muscat
  • Caterina Zinfandel
  • Lodi Gold Black Muscat

 

Wine Competition Entries are Due Soon!

wine-competition-teaser

 

You could win Best in Show!!

Get excited because our Winemaking Competition is back! We have Certified Sommeliers, Certified American Wine Society Wine Judges, and Professional Winemakers who will be giving you in depth notes about your wines. Our judges are excited to taste your wines and give some awesome tasting notes! We are currently accepting entries and hope to see you soon. If you have any questions about the wine competition please contact Christina at cmusto@juicegrape.com.

The Details: All entries must be delivered to Musto by October 14, 201. The Wine Competition will be held October 21st, 2017.

Download all documents by clicking HERE.

 

Photos from the last years Awards Ceremony & Dinner….

12117--0 12117--2 12117--16 12117--31 12117--32 12117--34 12117--35 12117--36 12117--37 12117--38 12117--40 12117--41 12117--42 12117--43 12117--44 12117--45 12117--46 12117--48 12117--52 12117--53 12117--54 12117--55 12117--56 12117--58 12117--59 12117--60 12117--61 12117--62 12117--65 12117--66 12117--67 12117--68 12117--69 12117--70 12117--71 12117--72 12117--73 12117--74 12117--75 12117--76 12117--77 12117--78 12117--79 12117--80 12117--81 12117--82 12117--83 12117--84 12117--85 12117--86 12117--87 12117--88 12117--89 12117--90 12117--91 12117--92 12117--93 12117--94 12117--95 12117--96 12117--97 12117--98 12117--99 12117--101 12117--102 12117--103 12117--105 12117--106 12117--107

Dinner Date: TBD – but will be in January in 2018

Grapes & Juices in Stock as of 9/21/17 at 9:27AM

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JUICES: All varieties in stock – Cry Baby & California Select labels

Grapes in Stock as of 9/21/17

          Caterina Petite Sirah

          Lodi Gold Pinot Grigio

          Lodi Gold Albarino

          Zinderella

          Valley Beauty Zin CPC

          Uva di Cal Cairgnane

          Teaser Grenache

          Caterina Old Vine Carignane

          Pia Malbec

          Cry Baby Grenache

          Cry Baby French Colombard

          Pia Zinfandel

          Caterina Cabernet

          Caterina Petite Sirah

          Cry Baby Tempranillo King River

          Caterina Old Vine Zinfandel

          Uva di Cal Ruby Cabernet

          Pia Cabernet Sauvignon

          Caterina Merlot

          Cry Baby Muscat #42

          Pia Cabernet Franc

          O’Caprio Alicante #42

          Pia Ruby Cabernet

          Pia Sangiovese

          Smiling Baby Barbera

          Smiling Baby Sangiovese

          Lodi Gold Cabernet Sauvignon

          Lodi Gold Chardonnay

          Costamagna Pinotage

          Cry Baby King River Syrah

          Costamagna Viognier

          Cry Baby Grenache

          Cry Baby King River Cabernet Franc

          Lucerne Alicante #42

          Smiling Baby Thompson Seedless #42

          Caterina Thompson Seedless #42

          Lanza Chardonnay

          Lanza Sangiovese

          Lanza Primitivo

          Lanza Barbera

          Lanza Malbec

          Lanza Muscat Cannelli

          Uva di Cal Paso Robles Cabernet Franc

          Costamagna Syrah

          Smiling Baby  Merlot

          Paso Robles Pinot Noir

          Cry Baby King River Cabernet Franc

          Costamagna Merlot

          Cry King River Zinfandel

          Cry Baby Sangiovese

          Pia Sauvignon Blanc

          Pia Sangiovese

          Old Vine Black Muscat Cry Baby

          Valley Beauty Zinfandel

          Cabernet Malbec

          Pia Zinfandel

          Smiling Baby Malvasia Bianca

          Uva di Calfornia Mixed Black

          Cry Baby Muscat #36

The Winemaker’s Think Tank: Vol 31 – How do I bring down my Brix?

What’s the Winemaker’s Think Tank?

Every Thursday we will post about a few frequently asked questions that our winemaker has answered. If you have a winemaking question you would like to have answered, please email us at support@juicegrape.com and we will try to get into next week’s post. Cheers! :)

crybaby_cab337g_22b_0828173

How do I bring down my Brix?

                  Sometimes the beautiful California weather can ripen our wine grapes a little too much, sending sugar levels very high. Any grapes with an initial Brix reading over 28 degrees, should be considered high and a winemaker must use caution when fermenting them. The sugars are fermented into alcohol, so many home winemakers think “I will just have a nice strong wine”. While this is correct, the high alcohol levels can lead to a stuck fermentation as the accumulating alcohol levels will begin to kill the yeast. It is very important when selecting your yeast strain, to make sure that is has an alcohol tolerance high enough to handle the sugar in the grapes. You can figure out the end alcohol by volume by multiplying the initial Brix level by .55. Make sure the yeast can handle this end ABV. Another factor to consider is the balance of the wine. Having a very high alcohol content (>14%) can lead to a burning sensation upon ingestion and some off flavors in the wine.

                  Now that we have covered why you may want to bring down your Brix levels, now how does one go about it? You can add water, but because water has a neutral pH, you must add acidulated water as to not bring down the pH of the juice. If your grape must has a pH of 3.6, you must add 3.4g/L of tartaric acid to the water to lower its pH to make it the same strength as the wine must. Then how much water to add? Use the Pearson’s Square formula of the desired amount being equal to the volume of juice in liters multiplied by the desired brix minus the actual brix then divided by the brix of water (zero) minus the desired Brix.

                  In example, if you have a 5 gallon batch of juice at 28 degrees Brix and would like to add water to bring it to 24 degrees Brix, first convert the gallons to liters by multiplying by 3.78 L/gal. This gives you 18.9 liters. Minus the desired Brix of 24 from the actual Brix of 28, to give -4. Multiply the volume by the -4 to give -75.6. Then take the Brix of the additive (water which is zero) and subtract from that the desired Brix of 24. This will give you -24. Then the volume needed is simply -75.6/-24, which gives you 3.15. You would need to add 3.15 liters of water to reduce your Brix from 28 to 24.

We hope this information helps with your winemaking. If you have any follow up questions or winemaking questions in general, please email us at support@juicegrape.com.

Wine Class Schedule

We have a bunch of classes coming up! Make sure to RSVP via Facebook or Sign Up via the website!

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Saturday September 23rd: Common Winemaking Mistakes (FREE) at 10:00AM – RSVP by clicking HERE

Saturday September 30th: Winemaking 201 – Winemaker Lab Skills ($75.00) at 10:00AM – sign up by clicking HERE

Saturday October 7th: Winemaker Bootcamp ($150.00) at 9:00AM – sign up by clicking HERE

In Stock as of 9/16/17 at 6:20AM

In Stock as of 9/16/17 at 6:20AM

•  Valley Beauty Zinfandel
•  Costamagna Cabernet
•  Smiling Baby Barbera
•  Cry Baby Syrah
•  Lodi Gold Petite Sirah
•  Cry Baby Baby Muscat
•  Uva di Cal Ruby Cabernet
•  O’Caprio Alicante #42
•  Lugano Old Vine Zinfandel
•  Lugano Old Vine Merlot
•  Cry Baby Cabernet Sauvignon
•  Cry Baby Barbera
•  Lugano Barbera
•  Cry Baby Grenache
•  Muscat King #42
•  Lucerene Thompson Seedless #42
•  Smiling Baby Thompson Seedless #42
•  Helena Sangiovese
•  Helena Black Muscat
•  Cry Baby French Colombard
•  Lodi Gold Grenache
•  Lodi Gold Chardonnay
•  Lodi Gold Pinot Grigio
•  Costamagna Viognier
•  Cry Baby King’s River Petite Sirah
•  Cry Baby Merlot
•  Cry Baby Malvasaia Bianca
•  Cry Baby Alicante #42
•  Costamagna Syrah
•  Cry Baby Petite Verdot
•  Paso Robles Musto Pinot Noir
•  Cry Baby King’s River Tempranillo
•  Valley Beauty Barbera
•  Lanza Merlot
•  Lanza Musto Malbec
•  Lanza Musto Barbera
•  Lanza Musto Malbec
•  Lanza Musto Primitivo (PLEASE CALL AHEAD, SELLING OUT QUICKLY)
•  Lanza Musto Muscat Cannelli
•  Tenbrink Pinot Noir
•  Cal Special Alicante #42 (PLEASE CALL AHEAD, SELLING OUT QUICKLY)
•  Cal Special Thompson Seedless #42 (PLEASE CALL AHEAD, SELLING OUT QUICKLY)
•  Teaser Zinfandel (PLEASE CALL AHEAD, SELLING OUT QUICKLY)
•  Cal Special Merlot (PLEASE CALL AHEAD, SELLING OUT QUICKLY)
•  Teaser Grenache (PLEASE CALL AHEAD, SELLING OUT QUICKLY)
•  Cal Special Cabernet (PLEASE CALL AHEAD, SELLING OUT QUICKLY)
•  Cal Special Barbera  (PLEASE CALL AHEAD, SELLING OUT QUICKLY)
•  Caterina Cabernet (PLEASE CALL AHEAD, SELLING OUT QUICKLY)
•  Caterina Old Vine Carignane (PLEASE CALL AHEAD, SELLING OUT QUICKLY)
•  Caterina Chardonnay (PLEASE CALL AHEAD, SELLING OUT QUICKLY)
•  Caterina Grenache (PLEASE CALL AHEAD, SELLING OUT QUICKLY)
•  Caterina Merlot (PLEASE CALL AHEAD, SELLING OUT QUICKLY)
•  Caterina Petite Sirah (PLEASE CALL AHEAD, SELLING OUT QUICKLY)
•  Caterina Pinot Noir (PLEASE CALL AHEAD, SELLING OUT QUICKLY)
•  Caterina Old Vine Zinfandel (PLEASE CALL AHEAD, SELLING OUT QUICKLY)
•  Caterina Sangiovese (PLEASE CALL AHEAD, SELLING OUT QUICKLY)