Post Fermentation Management
Due to the difficult growing season and the challenges accompanying this harvest, below are some thoughts to optimize the potential of the wine throughout the aging process.
Know your wines: Be stringent with your analysisIn addition to your basic post fermentation analysis (Ethanol, Glucose:Fructose, Malic Acid, TA, pH, Volatile Acidity, Free and Total SO2) it may be advisable to conduct a qualitative and quantitative Laccase analysis. If Laccase is still present, it may cause browning in white wines and color degradation in rosé and red wines. In addition to chemical analysis, a post-fermentation microbiological analysis, e.g. Yeast and Bacteria Scorpion™, may assist you with post-fermentation processing and filtration decisions.
It is advisable to run volatile acidity, free SO2 and total SO2 monthly until stable. When stable, conduct them on a bi-monthly basis. Adjust SO2 as necessary - trying to achieve 0.8 MSO2.
Utilize Acid Management
- An addition of tartaric acid can help bring freshness and microbiological stability.
- Never use a biologically unstable acid (Malic acid or Citric acid), even if they are more effective.
Follow a Diligent Racking ScheduleConduct your first racking at the completion of fermentation. Perform 3-4 rackings in the first year, then 2-3 in year two. Protect from oxygen pick-up with responsible SO2 additions. The Australian wine industry promotes the addition of 50ppm tannin at each racking to scavenge oxygen.
FiningAt the end of fermentation, wine is both a colloidal solution and a colloidal suspension. Fining at this stage will assist with the longevity of the wine and help it go into the aging process in its best shape. Bench trials must be conducted to determine what best suits that specific wine. As well as determining the effect of the bench trial on the smell and taste of your wine, evaluate the quality and quantity of lees.
Some of the vintage challenges may lead to oxidative browning. If this is a concern then bench trials with Polycel, Freshprotect, Polycacel and Caseinate de Potassium should help to manage the browning and freshen the palate. If you would like to amp up the fruity notes then a small addition of FT Rouge Berry in reds and rosés, or a trial with FT Blanc Citrus in rosés and whites may be beneficial, alternatively, an addition of Reduless or Bentolact S may assist. If settling is proving to be a challenge, try Scottzyme KS or Lallzyme MMX. If the wine is showing vegetative/under-ripe notes, a gentle gelatin fining with Colle Perle may help, a secondary benefit of gelatin fining is microbial clarification.
- Whites and (lightly colored) rosés: Start with a Seitz K300 followed by a K100 filtration using either filter pads or lenticular modules. For small lots consider a dual-layer filtration.
- Reds and (highly colored) rosés: Consider using the Seitz ZD250. The ZD has a higher microbial retention than the K series and are more respectful of color. If a crossflow is available that is also an option. Filtering the wines prior to aging will assist with the stability and ageability.
AgingTo enhance the body and structure of the wines, trials with the cellaring line of tannins may be interesting. Bench trials are highly recommended. As you get closer to bottling, trial the Finishing and Luxe tannins. These highly refined tannins can be used to assist structure, aromas and can help to mask slightly higher levels of VA, vegetative aromas and microbial flaws. To determine the best option for your wines a Finishing Tannin Kit may be useful. Just prior to bottling we can add palate weight and integrate acidity with by using Gum Arabics (Inogum or Flashgum R Liquid) or Ultima Soft.
From the first racking to bottling, it is essential to remember the basics:
- Topping wine
- Keep topping wine at 0.8MSO2
- You may also wish to adjust the acid in this portion to assist with microbial stability
- Oxygen management
- Keep D.O. <0.8ppm
- Rack under a gas blanket (CO2, Nitrogen or Argon)
- Consider using 50ppm Scott Tan' Estate at each racking due to its anti-oxidant protection
- Keep vessels full (no headspace if possible)
- Microbial Control
- Try to maintain wine at a minimum of 0.8MSO2, consider using No Brett Inside and/or Bactiless to control microbial populations.
- Do not blend laccase positive and laccase negative wines without carefully considering the outcome.