Wine Barrel Debate
- Published: Thursday, 22 August 2013 11:50
- Written by David DeCiero
Optimalo is a nutrient from Scott Laboratories that is indicated to increase the success of Malolactic fermentation. My success with it has been somewhat spotty, as I have not found any difference between the performance of MLF with or without Optimalo.
In 2011, I did not use any Optimalo on my red wines and MLF went through fine. These wines were not too acidic and had low alcohol, so I was never concerned about the MLF. I used VP 31 and the things sailed through MLF. I keep a constant temperature around 70 during MLF, so I figured this was what was keeping things going. In 2012, my Chilean Cabernet Sauvignon came in with a low pH of 3.2 and it really struggled to get MLF going. So, on the advice of a friend, I order some Optimalo and tried it. I mixed it according to the directions and added to the wine prior to the VP31 (which would be a second addition of VP31). I checked the wine 1 month later and no additional movement had occurred (by MLF chromatography). I decided to simply add in a whole packet of VP31 (using a 66 gallon dose for 6 gallons), and it rocketed to completion in 3 weeks. On that basis, I can say that the Optimalo didn’t really make a difference.
In my 2012 wines (Rhode Island and Las Amigas), I also used the Optimalo (because I had it). I saw no appreciable difference in the rate of completion in the same grapes from last year. The MLF still completed at about the same schedule and with no difficulty. I just didn’t see that this stuff makes any difference. Anyway, I know people who swear by it, so this is just my experience.