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Old 10-27-2013, 02:05 AM   #1
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So I've been making wine from grapes with the family for many years and this is the first year I've really gone out on my own. I don't believe we've ever done a malolactic fermentation to any of our wines. But in reading several newer books it seems like they strongly recommend adding the ML bacteria. So I wanted to get some opinions from fellow homebrewers as to if it's worth it and if there's any advice.

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Old 10-27-2013, 04:29 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by landwaster
So I've been making wine from grapes with the family for many years and this is the first year I've really gone out on my own. I don't believe we've ever done a malolactic fermentation to any of our wines. But in reading several newer books it seems like they strongly recommend adding the ML bacteria. So I wanted to get some opinions from fellow homebrewers as to if it's worth it and if there's any advice.
It's always a good idea to add ML culture in secondary fermentation so you don't get it spontaneously in the bottle.
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Old 10-27-2013, 08:41 PM   #3
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To add to Novalou's statement:

Malolactic Fermentation (MLF) put simply, is the conversion of L-malic acid into L-lactic acid, MLF is very important to the wine making process; especially to the final product, these conversions impart positive characteristics such as desirable aroma, flavor, and increased mouth feel, just to name a few.

When a wine has gone through a spontaneous MLF it does not mean that these bacteria will give us an MLF that we can predict, nor will it give us one that has the positive characteristics that we expect from MLF such as taste, mouth feel smoothness, aromas and sensory profiles that we want; It only means that lactic acid bacteria are present in the wine, and that the bacteria, not the winemakers, have the ultimate control over the quality of the finished product.

To make matters worse, if a spontaneous, but undesirable, strain of Malolactic bacteria becomes implanted in the winery, then all subsequent wine made in that winery, commercial or home winery, may be in danger of exhibiting the negative characteristics associated with that particular strain of bacteria.

It is crucial that we add known, reliable strains of the bacteria, and not rely on the strains that have become implanted in our wineries.

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Old 10-29-2013, 01:26 AM   #4
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Anyone ever done MLF with a mead??? Is MLF only done in red wines or can it be done in whites too?

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Old 10-29-2013, 02:28 AM   #5
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Anyone ever done MLF with a mead??? Is MLF only done in red wines or can it be done in whites too?
There are a few whites that undergo MLF, but mostly it's reds. I've had non-MLF pinot noir, and MLF'd pinot noir and prefer the non-MLF so I prevent it in my own pinot noir now. I do it on most other reds, but none of my whites.
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Old 10-29-2013, 03:15 PM   #6
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Thanks, that makes a lot of sense. Some of our past wines have been slightly effervescent after aging for 6 months in the carboy plus more in the bottle, and we've had a couple batches that seemed to go bad, not like vinegar but something else. So perhaps MLF has been the culprit...

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Old 10-30-2013, 11:48 PM   #7
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Thanks, that makes a lot of sense. Some of our past wines have been slightly effervescent after aging for 6 months in the carboy plus more in the bottle, and we've had a couple batches that seemed to go bad, not like vinegar but something else. So perhaps MLF has been the culprit...
Probably not, but if you're not sulfiting during the process or at bottling, it could be a low level infection of wild yeast or bacteria, or maybe the wine wasn't quite done when bottled or possibly MLF if you didn't take steps to prevent it. It's hard to guess without knowing more about your process.
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Old 11-06-2013, 07:05 AM   #8
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When is is to late to add MLF bacteria? I bought a vial and my wine has been in a secondary for like 2 weeks. Am I too late, just found out about this?

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Old 11-06-2013, 11:14 PM   #9
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When is is to late to add MLF bacteria? I bought a vial and my wine has been in a secondary for like 2 weeks. Am I too late, just found out about this?
Unless you've started your sulphite maintenance, you can start it any time. If you can move the wine to somewhere between 65-70 it will help the MLF process along.
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Old 11-06-2013, 11:22 PM   #10
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Anyone ever done MLF with a mead??? Is MLF only done in red wines or can it be done in whites too?
I put my Chardonnay and Viognier through MLF as well as all my reds.
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