Completing malo on a low pH, high total SO2 wine

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Tim Corliss
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Completing malo on a low pH, high total SO2 wine

#1 Post by Tim Corliss » November 27th, 2017, 2:22 pm

So, I made a calculation error on my SO2 additions on a lot of chardonnay.

Basic chemistry is

ph = 3.23
alcohol = 13.57%
free SO2 = 5 ppm
total SO2 = 59 ppm
Malic 2,390 mg/L
Lactic 67 mg/L
TA 7.7 g/L

I've tried several ML strains and have been keeping the temp at 65 degrees. Can't seem to get the ML to start/finish. I am thinking its the higher total SO2 that is killing the bacteria.

From a style standpoint, I'd love to have it complete ML. But if it won't happen, will de-acidifying get it a little closer to my style goal?
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Ed Kurtzman
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Completing malo on a low pH, high total SO2 wine

#2 Post by Ed Kurtzman » November 28th, 2017, 8:03 am

Tim,

By deacidifying, you'll probably get the malolactic kick started. I don't think the ML bacteria care about total SO2, and your free SO2 is virtually nothing. I bet it's the low pH that's preventing the bacteria from doing their thing. The alcohol is in check, so that's not a problem. If you lowered your acidity by half a gram, it may be enough to get the bacteria started.

Gary Schulte
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Completing malo on a low pH, high total SO2 wine

#3 Post by Gary Schulte » November 28th, 2017, 8:40 am

Tim - Which ML cultures have you tried? I'm at a lower pH than you with low free SO2 and am trying MBR31. It's having a hard time getting going but my intention is to be patient for a couple of months. MBR31 is known to be a slow starter but pretty good with marginal conditions.

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Ian Brand
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Completing malo on a low pH, high total SO2 wine

#4 Post by Ian Brand » November 28th, 2017, 2:54 pm

Let go of your style goal. Let the wine be itself, man.

Sometimes high acid whites wait for the spring to go through malo. Don't freak out about it.
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Wes Barton
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Completing malo on a low pH, high total SO2 wine

#5 Post by Wes Barton » November 28th, 2017, 8:00 pm

Ian Brand wrote:Let go of your style goal. Let the wine be itself, man.
Dude! Like, it's a California wine, man. Allowing it to appear European is cultural appropriation! #noracistwines
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Steve Edmunds
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Completing malo on a low pH, high total SO2 wine

#6 Post by Steve Edmunds » November 28th, 2017, 9:50 pm

I approve of the previous two messages! Let it all hang out!

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Kim Z
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Completing malo on a low pH, high total SO2 wine

#7 Post by Kim Z » November 29th, 2017, 8:12 am

Why did you add SO2 at all if you were planning MLF?

VP41 is a strong ML bug. Worked for me this year with two high ABV reds. Maybe use a culture protocol:

http://www.scottlab.com/product-146.aspx
K*I*M Zussm@n

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Ian Brand
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Completing malo on a low pH, high total SO2 wine

#8 Post by Ian Brand » November 29th, 2017, 11:53 am

And... with Steve Edmunds approval, I have finished my work for the week. I'm going home.
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Tim Corliss
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Completing malo on a low pH, high total SO2 wine

#9 Post by Tim Corliss » November 29th, 2017, 4:40 pm

Ed Kurtzman wrote:Tim,

By deacidifying, you'll probably get the malolactic kick started. I don't think the ML bacteria care about total SO2, and your free SO2 is virtually nothing. I bet it's the low pH that's preventing the bacteria from doing their thing. The alcohol is in check, so that's not a problem. If you lowered your acidity by half a gram, it may be enough to get the bacteria started.
I'll try that Ed, thanks! It was 3.1 before I used some potassium bicarbonate to increase the pH to 3.23

I should have mentioned...this is a vintage 2016 wine [oops.gif]

I've tried Vinflora CH35, Vinflora Oenos, Enoferm Beta and one other Vinflora, name is escaping me.

I'll raise the pH a little more, try the MBR31 and if that doesn't work, I'll let it be, man!

thank you Ed, Ian, Steve, Wes, Gary and Kim!
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Gary Schulte
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Completing malo on a low pH, high total SO2 wine

#10 Post by Gary Schulte » November 30th, 2017, 6:24 am

Sounds like you have a party going on in that chardonnay.

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Christopher Barnes
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Completing malo on a low pH, high total SO2 wine

#11 Post by Christopher Barnes » January 17th, 2018, 9:01 am

In my opinion the Free S02 number is low enough to not inhibit MLF. Moreover, your pH is high enough such that MLF should go and your alcohol is low enough. So there is something else going on.

Note that the only part of S02 that is providing any anti-microbial action is your molecular S02. Molecular S02 is calculated based on your pH and free S02. Increasing your pH will reduce your molecular S02. I understand that MLF bacteria can tolerate up to around .3 molecular S02. I don't have the charts in front of me right now but based on your Free S02 and pH I doubt you're at .3 molecular.

There are protocols to start "stuck" MLFs that involve large doses of innoculum and making a "mother" batch 50% water, 50% wine. Then you dilute this batch repeatedly with another 50% mother batch and 50% wine for 2-3 more cycles as your bacteria get acclimated to the environment. I have done this with a Pinot Noir that had MLF stuck for about 6-8 months and it went through eventually. This particular lot was 15% alcohol and around 3.3 pH.

Chris

Edit: I now see that this post is several months old. How did it go? :)
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MikeMiller
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Completing malo on a low pH, high total SO2 wine

#12 Post by MikeMiller » January 27th, 2018, 7:55 pm

Hi, I agree. The pH is low now but shouldn't stop MLF. Also, the Free SO2 is O.K. But I'm a little surprised that the total is so much higher on a white wine. It's usually reds that have such high binding. Also, what is the temp. If it's not at least 68 deg F, or better at 70 deg F to get started, that could also be a problem

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