2015 Fermentation

After 5 days, the yeast had done its magic and converted almost all of the sugar to alcohol.  The hydrometer read .998 for both of the fermentation buckets and it was time to press.  The caps were still being pushed up slightly, which helps me scoop out the free juice and leave all of the skins till the end.  This allows me to get a good amount of free run juice, which I keep separate as much as possible.  Out of 25 gallons approximately in each container, I ended up with around 18 gallons of wine for each, of which 12 was free run and 6 was sludge/press wine.  The pressing was fairly uneventful, but just took a long time.  Next year, I will add the higher sides and a screw in spout/valve to my press in order to facilitate the pressing.  My main goal is to speed it up, so anything I can do to make loading the wine and then getting the juice into the containers faster is on my list.  Additionally, I will also be buying a screen for my filter to make sure that no skins or seeds make their way through.  This will just make the juice that ends up being inoculated with MLB a little cleaner.
About 9 hours after pressing, it was time to inoculate with MLB.  I utilized my standard protocol for this using VP41.  Since this wine was a little acidic (3.10), the VP41 was required.  I added Opti-Malo plus to the wine at a rate of 1 g/ gallon which had been dissolved in about 100 mL of water.  The directions state to dissolve in a “minimal amount” of water, but this stuff doesn’t dissolve well and it is a bit of a pain to stir (it clumps up).  I then measured out the amount of liquid required for each carboy and add it in using a plastic syringe.  I then rehydrated the VP41 in 20 C water for about 12 minutes.  I don’t use a rehydration solution for the VP41 as it seems to work just fine on its own.  Once the 12 minutes is up, I utilized a different plastic syringe to measure out the liquid required for each carboy and then inject it in.  I stirred the wine in each carboy to mix in all of the Optimalo and MLB.  I will stir each day for 1 week, then every other day for another couple weeks and then once a week until the beginning of January, at which time I will start testing for MLF completion.