Using multiple yeast cultures vs. wild yeasts

Using multiple yeast cultures vs. wild yeasts

Post by Michael Bri » Fri, 12 Sep 2003 12:56:39



One of the advantages of using wild yeasts seems to be that there are
so many of them competing, dying out, taking over, etc. ... each
leaving its mark on the wine.

Can this be done to similar effect with cultured yeasts?  I have about
a half-dozen cultured yeasts.  What would the argument be for and
against just making a giant yeast***tail and pitching that?

 
 
 

Using multiple yeast cultures vs. wild yeasts

Post by Ken Val » Sat, 13 Sep 2003 07:25:22


Quote:

>One of the advantages of using wild yeasts seems to be that there are
>so many of them competing, dying out, taking over, etc. ... each
>leaving its mark on the wine.

>Can this be done to similar effect with cultured yeasts?  I have about
>a half-dozen cultured yeasts.  What would the argument be for and
>against just making a giant yeast***tail and pitching that?

Neither for or against, but when selecting yeasts to be used in such a
mix be aware that some yeasts have a compition factor (they will kill
other yeasts) so be sure to keep that in mind.
Ken

 
 
 

Using multiple yeast cultures vs. wild yeasts

Post by Lum » Sat, 13 Sep 2003 08:28:33



Quote:
> One of the advantages of using wild yeasts seems to be that there are
> so many of them competing, dying out, taking over, etc. ... each
> leaving its mark on the wine.

Michael,
Each yeast may leave it's mark on the wine, but the marks are tiny.

Quote:
> Can this be done to similar effect with cultured yeasts?  I have about
> a half-dozen cultured yeasts.  What would the argument be for and
> against just making a giant yeast***tail and pitching that?

Yes it can be done.
For...........Complexity might be improved.
Against: ....The improvement will be small and probably not detectable
unless you are making "world class" wines.

lum

 
 
 

Using multiple yeast cultures vs. wild yeasts

Post by Michael Bri » Sun, 14 Sep 2003 11:14:37


Quote:

> Michael,
> Each yeast may leave it's mark on the wine, but the marks are tiny.

> Yes it can be done.
> For...........Complexity might be improved.
> Against: ....The improvement will be small and probably not detectable
> unless you are making "world class" wines.

> lum

I'm buying world class grapes, weeklong cold soak under CO2 cover,
minimal racking, gravity fed everything, world class cooperage, high
risk everything (low SO2 additions, gross lees aging, partial whole
cluster fermentation, native yeasts**, no fining/filtering planned).
So, other than my lack of experience as a winemaker, why shouldn't I
shoot for world class wines?

Although clearly I'm insane to attempt 10 barrels my first year of
winemaking (although I have a partner, so I'm only half-insane), my
worst fear is 250 cases of uninteresting wine.  I'd rather***up
225 cases to have 25 cases of world class wine.  So I'm trying to eek
out every bit of info and trick to get it right.

** Note that some barrels will be started with native yeasts, others
started with cultured.  This thread is about trying to figure out
whether I can achieve the best of both worlds.

 
 
 

Using multiple yeast cultures vs. wild yeasts

Post by Lum » Sun, 14 Sep 2003 12:12:42




Quote:
> > Michael,
> > Each yeast may leave it's mark on the wine, but the marks are tiny.

> > Yes it can be done.
> > For...........Complexity might be improved.
> > Against: ....The improvement will be small and probably not detectable
> > unless you are making "world class" wines.

> > lum

> I'm buying world class grapes, weeklong cold soak under CO2 cover,
> minimal racking, gravity fed everything, world class cooperage, high
> risk everything (low SO2 additions, gross lees aging, partial whole
> cluster fermentation, native yeasts**, no fining/filtering planned).
> So, other than my lack of experience as a winemaker, why shouldn't I
> shoot for world class wines?

> Although clearly I'm insane to attempt 10 barrels my first year of
> winemaking (although I have a partner, so I'm only half-insane), my
> worst fear is 250 cases of uninteresting wine.  I'd rather***up
> 225 cases to have 25 cases of world class wine.  So I'm trying to eek
> out every bit of info and trick to get it right.

I can't think of any better reason Michael.
Good luck.

- Show quoted text -

Quote:
> ** Note that some barrels will be started with native yeasts, others
> started with cultured.  This thread is about trying to figure out
> whether I can achieve the best of both worlds.

 
 
 

Using multiple yeast cultures vs. wild yeasts

Post by Tom » Sun, 14 Sep 2003 15:56:08



Quote:
> Although clearly I'm insane to attempt 10 barrels my first year of
> winemaking (although I have a partner, so I'm only half-insane), my
> worst fear is 250 cases of uninteresting wine.  I'd rather***up
> 225 cases to have 25 cases of world class wine.  So I'm trying to eek
> out every bit of info and trick to get it right.

I understand where you're coming from;  it has _nothing_ to do with profit;
it has _everything_ to do with quality.

Unfortunately, it doesn't work as you'd prefer.  Sacrificing 90% of your
yield in no way guarantees that the rest will be any better than what you
chose to dump.

If you live anywhere near the "heartland" for whatever it is you're trying
to make, I'd recommend you seek out a consultant.  Unless you get _really_
lucky, you're apt to make one or several of the Classic Errors at some time
along the process.  It's inevitable.  I've been at this for 20+ years, and I
still make mistakes.  It's almost as difficult as Bridge.

I highly recommend that you attend the best week-long (or more) class on
winemaking you can find.  If you have to travel to do it, take some vacation
time there and just _do_ it!  That's the best $$ I spent on self-improvement
in the last 20 years.  I learned about winemaking, from stem to stern.  We
took apart and repaired barrels, tasted "tea" of wood from different
coopers, learned how to do all the regular lab tests and - my personal
favorite - learned about _fining_!

There was lots more, but the course was two _weeks_;  it'll only take you a
few minutes to read this.

BTW, it's "eke";  not "eek".  I knew that was wrong as soon as I saw it, but
it took me a while to remember the correct spelling.

Quote:
> ** Note that some barrels will be started with native yeasts, others
> started with cultured.  This thread is about trying to figure out
> whether I can achieve the best of both worlds.

My experience tells me that winemaking is hard enough, doing it the _easy_
way.

Until you really know what you're doing, why experiment with low grade or
unproofed (native) strains of yeast?  All the evidence I've seen says that
the differences among yeast strains tend to disappear with age - especially
in red wines - but it's important to get a clean fermentation going that
produces as little VA as possible.

So called "natural" fermentations are a crapshoot, at best.  You _might_ end
up with a good wine, but you could just as easily end up with something that
smells like nail polish remover.

Just pick one or more of the strains that Lallemand, Red Star or ? offers as
pure culture, and go with that.

Be sure to pick an ML culture too.  Personally, I like to inoculate for ML
just after the yeast fermentation takes off.  That's what the Wine Lab
recommends, and it seems to work.  I need to mention that this is done on
wines that have _no_ added sulfite at crush.

Be sure to use yeast and ML nutrients and vitamins.

Tom S

 
 
 

Using multiple yeast cultures vs. wild yeasts

Post by Ed Mark » Sun, 14 Sep 2003 20:04:40


Tom,

I'm curious where you found this class.  I've been looking for something
like that with no success, and would love to have the experience.

Ed


Quote:

> I highly recommend that you attend the best week-long (or more) class on
> winemaking you can find.  If you have to travel to do it, take some
vacation
> time there and just _do_ it!  That's the best $$ I spent on
self-improvement
> in the last 20 years.  I learned about winemaking, from stem to stern.  We
> took apart and repaired barrels, tasted "tea" of wood from different
> coopers, learned how to do all the regular lab tests and - my personal
> favorite - learned about _fining_!

> There was lots more, but the course was two _weeks>

 
 
 

Using multiple yeast cultures vs. wild yeasts

Post by Woodsw » Sun, 14 Sep 2003 21:40:49



Quote:



>> Although clearly I'm insane to attempt 10 barrels my first year of
>> winemaking (although I have a partner, so I'm only half-insane), my
>> worst fear is 250 cases of uninteresting wine.  I'd rather***up
>> 225 cases to have 25 cases of world class wine.  So I'm trying to eek
>> out every bit of info and trick to get it right.

>I understand where you're coming from;  it has _nothing_ to do with profit;
>it has _everything_ to do with quality.

>Unfortunately, it doesn't work as you'd prefer.  Sacrificing 90% of your
>yield in no way guarantees that the rest will be any better than what you
>chose to dump.

>If you live anywhere near the "heartland" for whatever it is you're trying
>to make, I'd recommend you seek out a consultant.  Unless you get _really_
>lucky, you're apt to make one or several of the Classic Errors at some time
>along the process.  It's inevitable.  I've been at this for 20+ years, and I
>still make mistakes.  It's almost as difficult as Bridge.

>I highly recommend that you attend the best week-long (or more) class on
>winemaking you can find.  If you have to travel to do it, take some vacation
>time there and just _do_ it!  That's the best $$ I spent on self-improvement
>in the last 20 years.  I learned about winemaking, from stem to stern.  We
>took apart and repaired barrels, tasted "tea" of wood from different
>coopers, learned how to do all the regular lab tests and - my personal
>favorite - learned about _fining_!

Where does one find classes on winemaking?  I've looked around, but haven't
been able to find any.  

Thanks!

Woods

 
 
 

Using multiple yeast cultures vs. wild yeasts

Post by Michael Bri » Mon, 15 Sep 2003 00:13:03


Quote:

> If you live anywhere near the "heartland" for whatever it is you're trying
> to make, I'd recommend you seek out a consultant.

A consultant?  Eek!  Where's the fun in that?  I've considered taking
a Davis distance learning class, bought the textbook and feel that
I've pretty much got the basics nailed.  I agree with you that it
would be valuable to do anyway, but at this point it's not going to
help me for 2003!  I also think tracking down a pinot consultant might
not be a bad idea.  Luckily I live in San Francisco and have access to
a bunch of folks who do this for a living.  I've talked with several
commercial pinot producers and come to this newsgroup when I can't
seem to get consistent answers from them.  As far as making "classic
errors," I'm sure I will, consultant or not.  BTW, what are the big
mistakes that you still make?

Quote:
> Unfortunately, it doesn't work as you'd prefer.  Sacrificing 90% of your
> yield in no way guarantees that the rest will be any better than what you
> chose to dump.

I'm exaggerating, but my basic point is that I'm willing to experiment
with things beyond the Home Winemaking Basics to try to create
something special.

Quote:
> BTW, it's "eke";  not "eek".  I knew that was wrong as soon as I saw it, but
> it took me a while to remember the correct spelling.

Ack!

Quote:
> Until you really know what you're doing, why experiment with low grade or
> unproofed (native) strains of yeast?  All the evidence I've seen says that
> the differences among yeast strains tend to disappear with age - especially
> in red wines - but it's important to get a clean fermentation going that
> produces as little VA as possible.

> So called "natural" fermentations are a crapshoot, at best.  You _might_ end
> up with a good wine, but you could just as easily end up with something that
> smells like nail polish remover.

Good questions.  My $0.02: Almost all top pinot producers use native
yeast fermentation - both here and Burgundy.  I have yet to speak to
anyone who's put wines through native yeast fermentation and has ended
up with nail polish remover.  This opinion seems to be held by those
that haven't tried.  Having said that, I'm sure it can and does
happen.  My bigger concern is about stuck fermentation - which does
happen much more often with native yeasts.  And that was the gist of
my post here.  Why not get the flavor/aroma diversity benefits of
multiple yeasts found in native yeast fermentation with the safety of
commercial yeast?  Do this by pitching a half-dozen different
commercial yeasts.  Make sure they have a lot of food and you get
diversity and a high probability of a complete fermentation.

Quote:
> Be sure to pick an ML culture too.  Personally, I like to inoculate for ML
> just after the yeast fermentation takes off.  That's what the Wine Lab
> recommends, and it seems to work.  I need to mention that this is done on
> wines that have _no_ added sulfite at crush.

> Be sure to use yeast and ML nutrients and vitamins.

I agree.  So far I've not seen anything super-compelling on why ML
should be delayed (although, again, the top producers do let it occur
naturally).  I'm probably going to pitch the ML culture during primary
for 2 of the barrels of pinot and let it occur naturally in the other
2 pinot. Note that all of this is going in 1 year old Frech oak that's
already ML bacteria infected from last year.

We've got 2 barrels of chardonnay under way and this week we've got 1
1/2 tons of syrah and a 1/2 ton of pinot coming in.

Thanks, ...Michael

 
 
 

Using multiple yeast cultures vs. wild yeasts

Post by Tom » Mon, 15 Sep 2003 03:18:40



Quote:
> Tom,

> I'm curious where you found this class.  I've been looking for something
> like that with no success, and would love to have the experience.

The one I took was at the now defunct Napa Valley School of Cellaring, which
was run by Bruce Rector.

Check with UC Davis' dept. of Enology & Viticulture.  They do seminars
regularly - some of them off-site.

Tom S

 
 
 

Using multiple yeast cultures vs. wild yeasts

Post by Ed Mark » Mon, 15 Sep 2003 05:58:28


Figures it's somewhere defunct.  I have checked with UC Davis - the most
they offer is 2-3 days with broad coverage - not a lot in depth.  The more
focused workshops are one day, and the west coast is a long way to travel
for that.

Oh well.   Thanks,

Ed


Quote:



> > Tom,

> > I'm curious where you found this class.  I've been looking for something
> > like that with no success, and would love to have the experience.

> The one I took was at the now defunct Napa Valley School of Cellaring,
which
> was run by Bruce Rector.

> Check with UC Davis' dept. of Enology & Viticulture.  They do seminars
> regularly - some of them off-site.

> Tom S