ViciVino.com
Vicivino.com
Your Resource For
Wine Region Travel
Brandon Lapides is winemaker at Armida Winery in the Russian River Valley wine region.
Winemaker Biography
 
Ask the Winemaker:
Full Archive

Post questions to the ViciVino.com Forum
or email winemaker@
vicivino.com


 
Ask the Winemaker
What is ML Fermentation, Malolactic Fermentation, Secondary Fermentation?
 
Why do wines get better with age?
 
How do you pair wines with dessert?
 
Winemaker B Interview - Harvest 2008 – Weeks 1-2
 
Winemaker B Interview - Harvest 2008 – Weeks 3-4
 
Winemaker B Interview - Harvest 2008 – Weeks 5-7
 
Winemaker B Interview - Harvest 2008 - Finale
 
What’s so special about Syrah?
 
Harvest 2009, First Interview with Winemaker B
 
Harvest 2009, Second Interview with Winemaker B
 
Harvest 2009, Third Interview with Winemaker B
 
Harvest 2009, Fourth Interview with Winemaker B
 
Harvest 2009, Final Interview with Winemaker B
 
What is ML Fermentation, Malolactic Fermentation, Secondary Fermentation?
All these names are used to describe a simple fermentation that naturally occurs in winemaking. Lactic Acid Bacteria are naturally found in the winery and on the grapes. The bacteria will “eat” malic acid (which is found in every grape), and converts it to lactic acid plus carbon dioxide. This conversion from malic acid to lactic acid adds mouthfeel – technically speaking, it increases the viscosity -- and also lowers the overall acidity of a wine. While ML fermentation is associated with white wines, it turns out that all red wines go through this process. Only with white wines do winemakers have decisions to make.
For white wines, ML fermentation affects different wines in different ways, forcing winemakers to make decisions, decisions that you are going to taste. When working with cool climate chardonnays, ML fermentation is almost always encouraged because the acidity would be too strong without the secondary fermentation. On the contrary, when working with Riesling, ML fermentation is purposely retarded to ensure bracing acidity in the finished wine. One last example would be a wine like Vinho Verde from Portugal where the ML fermentation partially takes place in the bottle, giving the wine some spritz (due to carbon dioxide released during fermentation). Similar to yeasts there are many different strains of Lactic Acid Bacteria, and winemakers can pick and choose the style of their chardonnay with these strains. The big buttery style of many California chardonnays is due to the strain of Lactic Acid Bacteria. The buttery aromas and flavors are caused by a compound called diacetyl produced by the bacteria.
 
Back To Top


If you have questions please feel free to post in the ViciVino.com Discussion Forum or email me directly at winemaker@vicivino.com.