Hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving! We had a great turkey meal, accented by a couple of glasses of my home brewed Cabernet that I was able to pull during the last racking! I may be bias, but I thought it is pretty good!
After Thursday, we had a nice "stay at home", long weekend. And just when I thought everything was on automatic pilot in the wine making department, and just like my primary fermentation process, my malolactic fermentation seems to be stuck.
It turns out that you have to "Stir the Lees", the fine lees that settle to the bottom of the container, along with the maloactic bacteria in dormant lump. Also, my cellar (aka: my crawl space) is too cool, from 55-65 degrees, when we should be around 72 degrees Fahrenheit (that's 13-20 degrees versus 22 degrees Celsius for all you metric folk).
So, after ineffectually trying to shake my 5 gallon jug of wine, I bought a food-grade, long handled, narrow plastic spoon used in beer making, as recommended by the folks at MoreFlavor! (formerly Fermentation Frenzy), four bucks ($4 US). So now I can reach the bottom of my 5 gallon carboy and stir up the fine lees (clumps of malolactic bacteria cells, tiny bits of grape skins & other solids).
In the old days they used a long wooden stick ("baton"), but wood can carry unwanted bacteria, which can reek havoc with wines. I have read some winemakers stir weekly, some monthly and the commercial guys automate stirring by storing their oak barrels on roller racks, which can be rotated automatically. Let's try it twice a month and see how that goes!
It was pretty warm a few weeks ago, the last hurrah of Indian Summer, but now it is turning pretty cold. Did you see the snow on the hills this morning! So I am trying to get things a bit warmer down in the cellar, to hopefully finish the malolactic fermentation. I hope you stay warm on these cool autumn evenings as winter quickly approaches!
From down in my cold wine cellar,
P.S. - Miriam Bach, our German exchange student, was almost trampled to death by our herd of pygmy goats in their avarice rush to eat the weeds in the vineyard! See the heroic video below of her near death experience!
La Famille Panisse
5 days ago