Both the Good & the Bad! Now, more than ever is there a wide variety of powerful, specialized winemaking tools available to us. On one hand, this is good because it allows us to correct flaws and enhance certain positive qualities in our musts and wines. On the other hand, with great power comes great responsibility: if we do not understand how to use these tools correctly, we can easily strip away more good than the original bad we were trying to correct and our wines will pay the price!
«Should I use___________...» It is important to know what each product does and why you may or may not want to use it. Every situation is different, there is no stock answer. You may have a set group of products and dosage rates you use as a default, and that is fine, just be prepared to roll with the punches and make adjustments when necessary! So, let’s take a look at what the products are and how they might be best used in our winemaking.
SO 2 Used at the crusher, as soon as the berry is cracked and the juice is exposed. The amount you use is based on the following: – If the fruit is in great shape (no bird/insect damage, rot, or sunburn): any where between 0*- 50 ppm total addition is standard. *Note: folks using an indigenous/wild approach, or a non-traditional starter culture (i.e.:Torulaspora delbrueckii) will want to not use any SO 2 at crush.
SO2 cont… When faced with circa 20% of your crop having rot, SO 2 additions need to be much higher to limit the oxidative browning reactions caused by laccase, the active enzyme in a Botrytis infection. In this case, SO 2 additions should be in the ppm range. – Obviously your yeast and ML bacteria selection will have to be tailored to those strains that can withstand higher levels of SO 2 in the wine.
Enzymes Enzymes are natural proteins that catalyze and improve the rate of chemical reactions. The enzymes used in winemaking are used to speed-up reactions that would have occurred naturally. Enological enzyme formulas are often made up of the following three types of enzymes, combined in varying ratios depending on the effect they are supposed to bring.
Pectinase Pectinase: an enzyme designed to break down pectin, a natural polysaccharide found in fruits that can cause hazes, stop a wine from settling out clear, and clog filters.
Cellulase & Hemicellulase Cellulase & Hemicellulase: are enzymes that break down cellulose and hemicellulose. In winemaking, these are used to break down the cell walls of grape skins and pulp. The result is a quicker and larger release of their contents, namely juice, skin-based tannins (polyphenols), varietal character flavour and aroma compounds (polysaccharides, both bound and unbound) and anthocyanins (i.e.: colour!).
Various Enzyme Formulations Red Wine: – Lallzyme EX: combination of pectinases, cellulases & hemicellulases, designed to help create fruit-foreward red & rosé wines with good colour stability and mouthfeel. – Lallzyme EX-V: is also a combination of pectinases, cellulases & hemicellulases, but the formula is changed to have a greater effect on releasing tannins. EX-V creates wines with more structure and aromatic impact than wine made with EX that are destined for longer ageing.
White Wines: – Cuvée Blanc: a specialized pectinase formulation that also has glycosidasic activity (which means it can help liberate bound aromatic precursors that would otherwise go undetected by us). Cuvée Blanc is great for increasing the varietal expression of a white grape (the floral, fruit, & mineral qualities). Cuvée Blanc is added to the must at crush, when you press determines the strength of the effect: 4-12 hours!
Settling In Extreme Cases Fruit infected with rot (Botrytis), or that has a lot of pectin (many non-grape fruit wines), may require a specialized enzyme blend that is specifically designed to clear them out. – MMX: is a pectinase & betaglucanase blend designed to tackle the difficult, and unwanted proteins created by Botrytis. Note: If you are working with non-grape fruit wines, best to use the HC & PEC5L formulations from Scott Labs because they were designed specifically on non- grape fruits.
Specific Inactivated Yeasts (SIYs) SIYs are a series of single strain yeast-derived products that are used for their unique mannoprotein and polysaccharide contributions. Each yeast is grown in such a way as to create a maximum concentration of its’ unique desirable compounds then harvested & processed. – (Note that while SIYs are yeast derived, they are incapable of fermentation). SIYs can be used to: – Help increase aromatic structure and intensity – Decrease alcohol perception – Coat aggressive tannins – Reduce bitterness & green characters – Aid oak integration into the wine – Stabilize tannins & colour
Each SIY has its’ own character: Red Wines: – Opti Red: Helps create smooth, full-bodied, fruit- foreward wines. Very reactive polysaccharides make tannin integration and colour stabilization reactions in the must start to happen quickly. – Noblesse: Very useful for limiting (-)VSCs during fermentation, and taming dryness, high alcohol heat, and other undesirable aggressive characters (especially when added at the latter stages of the fermentation). Good mid-palate boost, while respecting the original fruit qualities. – Booster Rouge: Great for adding fresh fruit intensity and an increased perception of tannic structure. Can aid in the expression of spice aromas and flavours (if in the grape).
White Wines: – Opti White: Enhances smoothness, helps integrate wood, reduces bitterness and green characters and helps protect against oxydation. – Optimum White: Does everything Opti White does along with being specifically designed to be rich in glutathione (an anti-oxidant peptide). Optimum White helps retain aromatic intensity and protects against oxydation. – Booster Blanc: Helps create mid-palate intensity, limits dryness and alcohol perception, reduces production of (-)VSCs during fermentation, helps integrate wood, & helps with the overall wine balance.
Oak & Tannin Formulations The main reason for using oak & fermentation tannins specifically during fermentation is to: – Help stabilize colour (pre-emptive strike on juice protein to allow skin tannins to remain in a larger pool) – Enhance mouthfeel (tannins & structure) – Help minimize green, unripe, bitter & astringent characters in the must – Help work with fruit infected by Botrytis (tannins help fine- out, and scavenge oxygen away the unwanted protein laccase). Note: tannins fine out proteins, including enzymes! So, if you are using both enzymes and tannins in your winemaking, add the enzymes first, allow them to work on the must for 8 hrs, then go ahead an add the tannins.
Each Fermentation Tannin has its’ own Character: Red Wines: – FT Rouge: very reactive tannin formulation derived from exotic woods and chestnut. Can contribute to the mouthfeel in the final wine, while helping against oxydation. Impact may be too noticeable in delicate Reds (Pinot Noir…). – FT Rouge Soft: designed to be much more gentle and have a softer impact on the final wine, while still helping to stabilize colour and protect against oxydation. Ideal for Pinot Noir and other delicate wines.
White & Rosé Wines: – FT Blanc: designed to protect against oxydation on grapes with mould or rot. Has a nice benefit of helping remove thermal labile proteins (non heat- stable) and adding a perception of minerality. – FT Blanc Soft: specifically designed for providing softness and improved mouthfeel. Adds a perception of sweetness and subtle minerality.
To Sum Up: Hopefully now you have a better idea of what these Fermentation Additives do and may consider using one or more of them (they often work well when used together). If trying them for the first time, I’d suggest using them at the middle of the dosage rate to get a feeling for what they do (unless you know you need to use a higher rate). The reactions/effects of the products when added to the must are pretty much immediate, so remember to take a sample before you do the addition, and then after to better analyze the product(s) impact. Enjoy the discovery!