MLF Chromotography

A few weeks ago, the Merlot showed that it had undergone MLF successfully.  I knew that the Cabernet Franc would take a little longer since it utilizes the BM45 yeast, which creates some problems for the ML bacteria.  So, I waited a couple weeks and then tested for the presence of Malic acid using chromatography.  The process entails using chromotography paper, a tall jar with a lid, and chromatography solvent.  The first step is to make a line 1” from the bottom of the paper (lengthwise) in pencil.  The next step is to make a mark on the line at least 1” apart and 3/8” wide.  I make marks to make sure that I don’t make the blot too big.  I made 3 marks for the controls (Tartaric, Malic, and Lactic) and then 3 more marks for the actual samples.  I then took my capillary tubes and used one for each.  I then let it dry for 45 minutes, and then staple it to make it a tube.  I then place it in the jar with the chromatography solvent .  The solvent is ½” from the bottom.  I then wait about 8 hours.  After 8 hours, I remove it from the jar and hang it in the garage.  The stuff sinks, so I don’t like to leave it in the house.   After 12 hours, I bring it inside and just hang it in a warm area.  After another 5 hours, it looked like this:
 The MLF chromotography
As you can see, the malic acid is completely gone from all of the samples.  So, it was time to rack and add sulfite.  This is where winemaking becomes janitorial.  I spent the next two hours racking and cleaning.