Michael’s winemaking notes part 1

What’s Been Going On In Michael’s Winery? (January update)

At the end of January I was doing some cleaning and rearranging in the winery to make the area more open when I found out that two of my primary fermenters had an odor. Over time one small spot of wine juice can spoil and lead to problems the next fall. Some dust and dirt will wash out easily but not moldy spots. So I cleaned all of my primaries with Oxyclean and StarSan again and made sure to check under the lip and all corners.

I inoculated my red wines with a malolactic bacteria back in October and have been testing the progress with a chromatography test kit from More Wine. The wine in the steel tanks is done with the malolactic fermentation (MLF) but the wine in the glass carboys is not. The wine that is finished with MLF was sulfited to 50 ppm and I added argon gas to stabilize the wine and will rack soon.

So why wasn’t the wine in the glass carboys done? Well, I had last year’s wine that needed to be bottled up on the countertop and the new wine on the floor. With the big cold snap the wine got cold due to the fact that I had not finished insulating the winery. The cold from the cement floor and the fact that cold air sinks were the difference. The wine was too cold to complete the MLF process like the tanks could. I now have two heaters in the winery and I finished insulating the walls.

Last year’s wine is now bottled and the new wine is up on the countertop where it is much warmer. Hopefully the new conditions will get the carboys to finish with MLF so I can start racking and sulfiting the wines and can get to other projects in the winery/shop this winter.  I just retested the specific gravity (now that more solids have dropped out), pH, TA, to see if things have changed after MLF or for any other reason.

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