Critics praise them, consumers love them – big, juicy, red wines with eyebrow raising levels of ABV. There’s nothing quite like that robust red from Napa to go with an Angus cut of beef for dinner, right?
So goes a popular trend that is pushing winemakers and grape growers alike to opt for a more fruit forward style of wine with softer tannins and new oak characteristics likely to reviewed favorably by wine judges and drive up sales.
The consequence of such market realities is that in warmer climates, where fruit-driven wine styles predominate, the physiological ripeness in the grapes often trails sugar ripeness, which can have a detrimental effect the quality of the fruit.
As a result, there may be greater risk during the winemaking process due to the ratio of glucose to fructose in the juice once wine grapes have been harvested and begin to ferment.
According to Tinus Els, Technical Sales Manager for BSG Wine, in 95 percent of the cases where stuck fermentations occur, the glucose to fructose ratio has been less than 1 at picking.
He notes that the Saccharomyces cerevisiae, a glucophilic yeast often used during the winemaking process, consumes glucose more rapidly than fructose during fermentation, which exacerbates the problem. Such issues can be mitigated, Els points out, with the use of fructophilic yeast at the beginning.
“Fructophilic yeast is effective because it prefers fructose to glucose. It will consume both, but will act on all fructose available,” Els explains. “Some winemakers prefer glucophilic yeast because of the aroma profile and mouthfeel. In that case, you can use a glucophilic yeast for the primary fermentation, and reinoculate with fructophilic yeast at between 12 to 15 brix.”
BSG Wine, one of the country’s leading suppliers of top-of-the-line fermentation, cellaring, bottling and finishing products to the wine industry, offers a wide range of yeast and nutrients available to assist winemakers at every level of the winemaking process, including circumstances where fermentations have become stuck and need further management.
- Superferm® is a nutrient blend designed for fermentations that are expected to be challenging. It is formulated to help high-risk grapes ferment more completely, and to preserve their intense sensory qualities.
- Pinnacle Fructo Select is a strong fermenter with the capacity to add structure to high alcohol potential wines in the range of 15 to 18 percent.
- Superfood® provides the nutritious supplements yeasts need during the anaerobic stress of fermentation.
- Superfood® Export is a complex nutrient blend, formulated to meet certain import regulations.
- Startup ™ is a non-DAP containing nutrient blend of vitamins and minerals formulated to provide balanced nutrition for complete fermentation.
- OWN™ is an organic wine nutrient compliant with USDA/NOP regulations for organic winemaking.
“This big push for super ripe, plum fruit creates a greater risk for high alcohol wines and stuck fermentations,” Els reiterates. “At BSG we have the products and inoculation protocols available to winemakers to ensure the greatest success possible.”
For information and orders go to bsgwine.com.