Cab won't undergo MLF- Suggestions?

Cab won't undergo MLF- Suggestions?

Post by purduepho.. » Mon, 27 Mar 2006 05:42:50

Good Afternoon-

I've a Cab (chilean) that will not, for any effort, start/undergo a
MLF.  I even re-cultured it while restarting 3 other wines- they've
restarted MLF fine but not the cab.

The dosage for MLF was 0.33g blend rehydrated /mixed with FermAid and
then mixed with approximately 500mL of juice.  48 hour prep and then
added into solution.  No dice or aroma of butter and no indication of
tiny bubbles from the airlock.

Should I consider racking this off and letting it sit more to get it
off of any lees that may have settled or just let it sit?

No Sulfite information available but none has been added since the
completion of fermentation, so I doubt that's the reason.

I'd really like this to start- otherwise bottling would be suicide as
they'd be primed and ready to exploded.

Most recent chromatagram shows Malic acid present and in large

I will retest the Zin to make sure it wasn't just the portion nearest
the top of the container that had depleted the malic acid.

Thanks much-



Cab won't undergo MLF- Suggestions?

Post by purduepho.. » Fri, 31 Mar 2006 21:02:51

Some additional info if it helps anyone-

I took distilled water and sterilized it via boiling and added it to 3
separate containers, all sterile.  Bactivaid was added in appropriate
dosages.  Each container was then cooled to the directed temperature
and had dosages of 0.33g, 0.33g, and 0.11g of Lalvin X-3 Malo-lactic
Culture ( added.
These were then allowed to sit for 30 minutes, then the same
temperature wine was added to make about 500mL of starter solution.
This solution was allowed to work for 48hrs and then added back to the
carboys (2x 15gallon and 1x 5gallon).

I just checked the pH on the wines- the Cab has a pH of 2.78; the
chard at 2.75, and the pinot grigio at 3.0; the completed zin has a pH
of 3.2.

The signs of active fermentation were limited to the 'sniff' test- I
smelled butter/diacetyl and there was a bit of tiny bubbles thru the
solution- not 100% indicative as I did not run a chromatogram.

No sulphites were added at any point in any of these wines- save for

Original chromatagram was done on Feb 2nd and can be seen here:
- I've since gotten sloppy about standards ;)

Does this additional info help?  Am I looking at a pH adjustment to
get this to work?


Cab won't undergo MLF- Suggestions?

Post by JEP6 » Fri, 31 Mar 2006 22:32:17


> Some additional info if it helps anyone-

I think even more info would be helpfull.

The pH of the wines are pretty low so that could contribute, but I
would question the pH measurement before reacting. They all look to be
around .4 - .6 low so you may have a problem with your instrument. Did
you calibrate before taking the measurements?

You don't mention temp. MLB like it warm so if you're down in the 50 F-
60 F range the bacteria may not grow very well.

You should probably measure the free SO2 of the wine.

What is the estimated *** level? High *** (13% - 14%) can
inhibit MLB growth.



Cab won't undergo MLF- Suggestions?

Post by purduepho.. » Sat, 01 Apr 2006 04:37:59

Instrument was calibrated with a pH 4.01 buffer and a ph 7.01 buffer
prior to measurements, and then rechecked with the same solutions
afterwards and found to be within 0.03 pH units.

Temperature of the LCD sticker reads 68F to 72F- the bottom of the
fermentation booth is 'heated' with a small oil filled radiator and
kept air tight for this purpose.

I'll measure the SO2 with titrets.

I will have the results from the chromatography tonight (assuming it's
fully developed).


Cab won't undergo MLF- Suggestions?

Post by Joe Sallusti » Sun, 02 Apr 2006 02:56:02

Those pH values are pretty low for MLF; I would suspect that is your
issue.  See here for additional info or contact Clayton Cone of Lalvin,
he is very helpful.