Experience with fermentation at low YAN levels without additives

Update: Friend decided to go the safe route and did a DAP add. Thanks to everyone for the feedback.

What is your reluctance to adding nutrients?

He should be worried. I’m all about minimal intervention, but that means not doing less than the minimum necessary, such as depriving them of something they need to do their job.

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The problem is that he probably isn’t going to see it as a problem until its too late. I would be worried about sluggish and stuck fermentations, especially with such low ammonia.

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So here’s the thing - winemakers can either be dogmatic or pragmatic. In this case, dogma dictates your friend do nothing; pragmatism says to add nutrients to ensure you get from point A to point B with a bit more certainty.


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It seems like a good lot to take a chance on. Lower brix, moderate acidity, and early in the season so it won’t get cold too fast. If your friend is against adding nutrients, why not go for it?

We started out in the dogma camp in 2015 and have never looked back. That said all of our fruit comes from our farmed vineyard from which we have a pretty good track record over 7 years and just starting our 8th year as we are in mid-harvest. We farm auxerrois, chardonnay, chenin blanc, cabernet sauvignon, cabernet franc, and barbera. In all white cases we transfer over the clear and light colored suspension following cold settling and leave the heaviest sediment behind. In addition we choose yeast to enhance the wine properties we desire and they are also known to have low nutrient requirements. If I were to purchase grapes I might have to rethink the dogma and pragmatic decision.