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Harvest Update: Lots of Stuck Fermentations, Little Smoke Taint

Posted on September 30, 2015

With grape-picking nearly finished for the vast majority of the West Coast’s wineries, attention has turned to fermentation. Mavrik North America has been approached by a surprising number of its clientele for assistance with stuck fermentations. Encounters with smoke taint on the other hand are, as expected, quite limited so far.

Mavrik advises its clients that high alcohol is the most likely cause of stuck fermentation. The inhibitory level varies dramatically by yeast strain (from 12-14% in most cases). The best first step is to reduce the alcohol to a potential under 15% (alcohol % + [brix * .57]). Then restart fermentation with a killer yeast as prescribed by your yeast vendor.

Processing loss from Mavrik’s alcohol reduction process is 40-60% less than other methods, making it by far the most economical means of restarting. Mavrik’s process removes no flavors other than alcohol from the wine.

VA above .080 mg/100ml can also be a cause of stuck fermentation. However, Mavrik’s consultants have seen plenty of wines with VA as high as .130 mg/100ml ferment strongly once the alcohol has been reduced.

“Unless the VA is very high, it is best to deal with alcohol first. Later in the winemaking cycle, you can assess the VA of your blend and determine whether it needs to be reduced,” said Mariana Brown, Mavrik’s Winemaker and Director of Operations.

Mavrik’s VA solutions range from very low-pressure DIY rental machines to low pressure custom service for up to hundreds of thousands of gallons.

Although demand for stuck fermentation assistance is heating up, Mavrik is typically capable of maintaining short lead times year round due to the unique practice of retaining its skilled workforce during slow times.

Founded in 2006, Mavrik is a family-owned and operated company, based in Santa Rosa, CA.

Mavrik’s research & development efforts have led to original technologies and equipment for purchase, rental, or as a service, some of which are patent pending:

Alcohol reduction
Volatile acidity and ethyl acetate removal
Pyrazine removal
4ep/4eg removal
Smoke taint removal
Tartrate stability
Sulfide removal
Sulfite removal


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