877.812.1137

The Winemaker’s Think Tank: Vol 34 – “Fining Agents and Why They Help”

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! :)

Pouring red wine into the glass against wooden background

Fining Agents and Why They Help

Fining agents can help your wine in a variety of ways, both improving on appearance and flavor. A fining agent is added to the wine to remove an undesirable compound, typically by having the opposite electron charge.  There are a myriad of fining agents and each has its own specific ability to help remove an undesirable characteristic within wine.  Here are a list of some of the most popular fining agents:

Bentonite: A negatively charged clay that attached to positively charged proteins  and will eliminate protein haze in white wines.

PVPP: A synthetic polymer that helps get rid of reductive compounds,  often caused by oxidation.

Gelatin: Made of animal bones, it has a negative charge that will attach to proteins and surplus tannins, creating rounder mouthfeel and less astringent wine.

Reduless: A form of inactivated yeast fortified with minerals to help removes sulfur defects such as hydrogen disulfide and other phenolic defects.

SuperKleer: Tandem packets of Kieselsol and Chitosan that will work to eliminate haze in wine.

Noblesse: An inactivated yeast derivative nutrient that aids in reducing bitter flavors in wines as well as the burning effect from high alcohol wines.

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.

California Fires Update as of 10/14/17

Updated 10/14/17

The fires are still raging out West. They keep evacuating people to safety and the air quality is the worst in the country. Please donate if you can. Even $5.00 helps….

Update as of 10/13/17-

  • 5,700 homes destroyed
  • 340 square miles burned
  • 9,000 fire fighters fighting 16 remaining blazes
  • 90,000 evacuated

Napa Valley Community Disaster Relief Fund: https://donatenow.networkforgood.org/napafirerelief  

Sonoma County Resilience Fund: http://www.sonomacf.org/sonoma-county-resilience-fund/

Red Cross Northern California: http://www.redcross.org/local/california/northern-california-coastal/chapters/california-northwest

Buy Wine: Lamborn Family Vineyards  will be donating 100% of their profits of their 2013 Zinfandel with 100% of profits being donated to the Napa Valley/Sonoma County relief effort. https://www.lamborn.com/Order-Wine

 

————————————————————————————————————————

Updated 10/12/17 – More ways to help –> http://www.winemag.com/2017/10/10/firerelief/

————————————————————————————————————————

As many of you have heard devastating fires are ripping through Northern California. Napa, Sonoma, Santa Rosa, and Solano County (Suisun Valley) have all been affected. Currently our growers and friends are evacuating to safety. In this time of sadness and chaos it is difficult being so far away from our friends and west coast family. It limits us to what we can do to help.  Musto Wine Grape will be making donations to the Bay Area Red Cross, the California Fire Foundation and CVNL.  If you are inclined to help we suggest you donate to these relief organizations as the funds will go directly to those affected by these terrible fires.

Bay Area Red Cross: http://www.redcross.org/local/california/northern-california-coastal/chapters/bay-area

California Fire Foundation: http://www.cafirefoundation.org/

CVNL: https://cvnl.org/why-cvnl/donate-sponsors/

The fires are still raging out West. They have evacuated much of Suisun Valley, Green Valley, and Gordon Valley. Please keep our California family in your thoughts and prayers.

Read more about the fires here –> via CNN

171010094857-08-ca-wildfire-1010-exlarge-169 171010173232-tease-01-cnnphotos-deadly-wildfires-restricted-exlarge-169

Showcase Your Wines!

Wine Competition_2017 Teaser

Don’t forget about the Musto Wine Grape – Amateur & Commercial 2017 Wine Competition! All wines are tasted and judged in Riedel glassware by the Top Wine Tasting & Winemaking Judges on the East Coast! Lots of feedback, tasting notes, and prizes. Sign up today! Your wine could win Best in Show!

Click HERE to download your Competition Documents.

In stock as of 10/7/17 at 7:06AM

JUICES:

California Juices: California Select, Cry Baby, and Colina del Sol

California Lodi Gold Juices: Zinfandel, Chardonnay, Thompson Seedless, Cabernet, Pinot Grigio, Merlot, Mixed Black

Italian Juices: ALL Varieties in Stock

Fresco Juices: Will start arriving Wednesday 10/11

GRAPES:

Barbera

  • Cal Special
  • Lanza Musto
  • Valley Beauty

Petite Verdot

  • Caterina
  • Lanza

Merlot

  • Caterina
  • Old Vine Merlot – Lugano
  • Washington State
  • Paso Robles
  • Smiling Baby

Pinot Grigio

  • Costamagna

Muscat

  • Italian Muscat – Lodi Gold #36
  • Caterina #36
  • Lanza Musto Muscat Cannelli
  • Silver King #42
  • Cry Baby #42
  • Muscat King #36

Carignane

  • Caterina – Old Vine
  • Cry Baby

Cabernet Sauvignon

  • Caterina
  • Lanza Clone 8, 169 – PRE ORDER ONLY, MUST CALL BEFORE PICK UP
  • Paso Robles
  • Cry Baby Clone 337 Cab

Zinfandel

  • Caterina – Old Vine
  • Lanza-Musto Primitivo
  • Paso Robles
  • Valley Beauty

Petite Sirah

  • Lodi Gold
  • Cry Baby
  • Caterina

Viognier

  • Costamagna

Alicante

  • Caterina #36
  • Ancient Vine Gurreriero #42
  • Lodi Gold #36
  • Lodi Gold #42

Albarino

  • King River Cry Baby

Ruby Cabernet

  • Lodi Gold

Malbec

  • Caterina
  • Cry Baby

Mixed Black

  • Cry Baby

Riesling

  • Lanza-Musto

Cabernet Franc

  • Caterina
  • Paso Robles (sml amount)

Syrah

  • Paso Robles

Thompson Seedless

  • Miss Seedless #42

Symphony

  • Cry Baby

Old Vine Black Muscat

  • Cry Baby

Sangiovese

  • Caterina

In Stock as of 10/6/17 at 7:44AM

In Stock as of 10/6/17 at 7:44AM

Wine Juices:

  • All California Varieties
  • Labels: California Select, Colina del Sol, Cry Baby, and Lodi Gold
  • Italian Juices – STILL WAITING ON THE TRUCK, Please Call Ahead – 877.812.1137

Wine Grapes:

Central Valley:

  • Malbec
  • Merlot
  • Cabernet Sauvignon
  • Muscat (42lb & 36lb)
  • Zinfandel
  • Albarino
  • Petite Verdot
  • Old Vine Barbera
  • Sangiovese
  • Alicante 42lb
  • Mixed Black

Lodi:

  • Petite Sirah
  • Malbec
  • Pinot Grigio
  • Merlot
  • Old Vine Carignane
  • Cabernet Sauvignon
  • Viognier
  • Zinfandel
  • Old Vine Zinfandel
  • Ruby Cabernet
  • Cabernet Franc
  • Petite Verdot

Suisun Valley:

  • Barbera
  • Primitivo
  • Muscat Cannelli
  • Pre-Order Only Pick Up for Cabernet Clones – PLEASE CALL AHEAD – 877.812.1137

Washington State:

  • Merlot

Paso Robles:

  • Syrah
  • Zinfandel
  • Merlot
  • Cabernet Sauvignon
  • Pinot Noir

 

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