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The Winemaker’s Think Tank: Vol 6 – Do I Add Yeast to My Wine?

Wine expert testing wine silhouette image

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! :)

Do I Add Yeast to My Wine?

Some winemakers prefer what is called a “natural method” of fermentation, by allowing the yeast that live on the grape skins to ferment the must into wine. While these yeast can start the process of fermentation, they generally have too low of a population and alcohol tolerance to successfully finish the fermentation process. The most successful fermentations are conducted with lab cultured yeast cells. This is not to say that this method isn’t natural as well. Scientists travel to famous wine growing regions to obtain samples of the natural yeast flora that exist in those environments. They take these samples back to the lab and culture them, breeding select and healthy populations that can be packed and sold to winemakers all over the world. These selected yeast strains have a higher alcohol tolerance and have had the benefit of many trials and research conducted on their behalf to see exactly how they affect a wine. By using these strains you will not only have a more successful fermentation, but also more predictable results rather than the unpredictable results of the wild flora “natural yeast” that live on the skins. Through their research, scientists have found that certain yeasts promote certain attributes of the wine such as color security, fruit characters, spice flavors, and acid reduction. A vintner may select one of these commercially bred strains to get the desired effect they would like in their end product.

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. 

The Winemaker’s Think Tank: Vol 2 – What do I need to get started making wine with fresh juice?

Wine expert testing wine silhouette image

 

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! :)

What do I need to get started making wine with fresh juice?

When elevating your winemaking to the next level, often sourcing the best ingredients is the most direct path to better results. After getting great base experience using wine kits, the next logical step to wine making greatness is fresh juice. When making this change from wine kits to fresh juice, other ingredients may be needed to ensure the juice will reach its greatest potential as wine. First, evaluate your juice for acid (pH) and sugar (Brix). What are the levels present in your juice? If the Brix level is below 20, you may consider adding sugar to increase the Brix levels to 24-26. What is the pH of the wine? Juice should have a pH greater than 3.1 to ensure a successful fermentation. If the pH is higher than 3.8, consider adding tartaric acid. This will ensure a better tasting wine after fermentation as well as a more stable wine.

The next area to consider is yeast. Certain strains of yeast will amplify certain traits within the finished product of wine such as fruit character, spice notes, or floral notes. The yeast has certain parameters that it will ferment best within, so consult a winemaking expert at Musto Wine Grape to help you select the best yeast strain for your wine. The yeast is the important catalyst that will process the grape juice into wine. The yeast will need certain nutrients to best assist it with its fermentation such as a rehydration nutrient like Go Ferm, and subsequent nutrients to finish out the fermentation process such as Fermaid O and Fermaid K. Musto Wine Grape stocks yeast along with all of the aforementioned nutrients in small packages, designed for the individual buckets of juice. This will give you perfectly measured amounts of products to add to your wine, making proper fermentation simple and with no wasted/unused product.

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. 

Take An Adventure to Lodi Wine Country

Instagram Post _Take an Adventure to Lodi Wine Country

We are bringing Lodi Wine Country to you this fall. An exciting time for the region, Lodi was recently named “Wine Region of the Year” by Wine Enthusiast Magazine. The grapes are grown in a Mediterranean style climate producing wines of great character and strength. Keep an eye out for our newer Italian Wine Grape Program from this region. These grapes will be producing some fantastic and age worthy wines.

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Yeast Starter Instructions Up on Youtube!

Hello Winemakers!

We are excited to release our newest video – “Yeast Starter Instructions.” In the video Winemaker Frank Renaldi teaches us how to correctly create a Yeast Starter for your fermentation.  Please feel free to visit our YouTube Page for more videos HERE.

Cheers! :)

Yeast Pairings for Chilean Wine Grapes

Yeast Pairings for Chilean Wine Grapes

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Cabernet Sauvignon: BM45, BM4X4, D80, RC212, D254

Cabernet Franc: BM45, RP15, D254, D80, BDX

Carmenere: BDX, D254, RP15

Malbec: BDX, D254, RP15

Merlot: BDX, D80, RP15, D254

Petite Verdot: BM4X4, D80, D254

Pinot Noir: RC212, BM45

Syrah: BDX, D80, D254

Chardonnay: QA23, VIN13, D47, COTE DES BLANCS

Pinot Grigio: 71B, VIN13, QA23, R2

Sauvignon Blanc: VIN13, QA23, R2, D47, V1116

Viognier: VIN13, R2, D47

 

Which yeast will you use? :)

Also, don’t forget to watch our Youtube Video on “Yeast & Stuck Fermentation”

Cheers! And Happy Winemaking!

Bring on the Bordeaux! – A Home Wine Making Experience (3)

It’s all in the yeast

We waited for our must to come up to a temperature of about 60 degrees and added our yeast starter, opti red, and tannin ft rouge. Below are our reasons for these additions.

Yeast occurs naturally on the skins of all wine grapes. If they are left alone, these yeasts will ferment the juice into wine. Some winemakers let the “wild” yeast ferment the juice. We however, use cultured yeasts. This is because we received grapes from multiple vineyards and the different strains of wild yeast will fight for the sugar or their “food”. This can cause the wine to not fully ferment and result in a stuck fermentation because of all the competition between yeasts.

The yeast we chose was FX10. We chose FX10 because it is a vigorous fermenter. It enhances the mouth feel to be big mid-palate with major fruit concentration. The wine will have notes of intense fruits while maintaing a soft, silky mouth feel.

To kick off pitching our cultured yeast we heated up a bowl of distilled water to 110 degrees. Dissolved a tablespoon of sugar in the water (the sugar helps the yeast go from a “freeze dried state” to a “living, wet state”). Added 72 grams of GoFerm. We let the GoFerm sit alone until the temperature was 104 degrees. Then we added the FX10 yeast. The whole process takes about 15 minutes. The bubbles in the photo below are proof that the yeast is awake and working.

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Before we mixed our yeast starter in with our must, we added our opti red and tannin ft rouge (pictured below). The opti red helps extract more color from the skins. The tannin helps create a better mouth feel and more complexity in the wine. All you need to do to add this is dilute them in distilled water and mix into the must.

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Below is a photo of us adding the yeast starter to the must. We took juice from the must and mixed into the yeast starter first. We did not just dump it in.  In our opinion, it is better to try to make it all “one organism” instead of dumping into the must right away. It makes for a smoother start to fermentation. Once the additives and yeast were added we punched down the cap.

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Now we monitor the must’s temperature, brix level, and smell. If there are any off odors we want to make sure to deal with them right away.

Thanks again for stopping by. Next time we will get into DAP and when to add oak additives.

Cheers ~ CM & FJ