Secondary fermentation AKA Malolactic Fermentation or MLF is a process that is used in most red wines and some whites .. like our Chardonnay. It lessens the malic acid and turns it into lactic acid and give wine a smoother taste or better “mouthfeel”. Lactic acid is softer on the palate.
We have found a lot of conflicting information on MLF and decided after reading that you can’t “over” inoculate that we’d just use it generously.
Here’s where we are truly flying by the seat of our pants: We didn’t stick to the formula on the package. The package of Viniflora Oenos was enough bacteria to inoculate 66 gallons of wine. We hydrated the entire lot into a small amount of juice – then after mixing it up we used about 1/2 of it in our 8 gallon batch. (Technically then enough bacteria for 33 gallons when’s e only have 8). In addition we now realize this package should have been kept frozen until use. A practice we will now try to abide by when buying winemaking yeasts, bacteria, enzymes, etc.
Our first batch of Chardonnay from our 2019 grapes came out pretty darn good. We bottled 15 and drank it all or gave it away with confidence. But we did a few things differently on that small batch of 3 gallons. We performed 1º fermentation inside the carboy with an airlock, only removing the bungs to stir and replace so at not to introduce oxygen to the wine.
This time we have 8 gallons vs 3. We somehow forgot to ferment it without contact with the air. So we don’t know how it may or may not adversely affect our end product.