Monday, January 28, 2008

Inoculated for Malolactic

At the punch this morning the WinePod was reading an unlikely -5° Brix. I will go through the full sensor calibration before the next ferment. Anyway, I felt confident enough that the sugar was gone to go ahead and inoculate the must for malolactic as planned.

After I pulled a wine sample for lab analysis I rehydrated a 2.5 gram pack of Enoferm Alpha bacteria according to directions (resuspend in pure water at 75° F for 15 minutes) and punched it in. Note that this is the smallest pack of one-step malolactic culture avaialble. Even so it is sized to adequately inoculate 66 gallons of wine. I don't expect to have a problem with a slow or incomplete ferment.

Just a few moments ago I received the lab analysis of the wine sample I took in this morning:

Alcohol13.87% v/v
Volatile Acidity0.25g/L
Glucose + Fructose0.02g/L

The alcohol level is consistent with a starting Brix of 24° and the approximately 2-2.5 liters of water I added when making nutrient and acid corrections. The pH is a bit low and confirms that the buffer capacity of the juice was minimal. Again, I'm glad I only added 0.5 g/L before the ferment.

The volatile acidity is very low – this is a good thing, and in my experience is another of the side-benefits to using Uvaferm 43 to conduct the fermentation. Finally, the residual sugar is very, very low – I consider anything under 0.20 g/L to be "dry".

I also asked the lab for a starting malic acid level, but the analysis is still pending. Once I have that number I will have a better expectation of what the final pH on the wine after malolactic will be. Based on average malic levels in 2007, I would expect that the pH might increase to as high as 3.65 in the finished wine.

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