Ed chooses to inoculate his wine with cultured yeast. When I asked him what the differences were he said that it took him many years to realize that there was no difference (he used to work with fruit’s ambient yeast in the past), as they, in his opinion, essentially produce the same results in the end.

I do know that choosing the right strain is extremely important and not just for flavor and aroma and texture. Some yeast might not produce a window of fermentation that is as desirable as needed and this can result in rapid fermentation from stressed yeast, fermentations that give off undesirable aromas, or stuck fermentations. Ed has honed in on the strain he loves and uses for the majority of the wines he makes as it’s served him well.

Here is the process we use at the winery to inoculate with yeast:

Cleanskin three white buckets. Rinse and the spray alcohol on a strainer, cup, liter container, and siphoning tube. Zero out a fully dry liter container on the scale and measure out 500g of yeast twice for 2 buckets.

Add 10qts of hot water to each bucket and vigorously stir in the yeast per bucket. Let stand for 20mins.

Add 10qts of juice extracted from a fuller bin by pressing the strainer into the must to reveal juice for siphoning out. Use the 3rd bucket to hold the 10qts of juice that you’ll be pulling twice but from 2 separate full bins.

Parse out the amount of yeast/juice solution by dividing the total number of quarts (20) by the total number of bins (Ex: 13) that need yeast (20/13 = 2.6ml) and pour that amount into the liter container.

Pour the amount in the liter container into one corner of a bin that needs the solution. The yeast will be able to spread out and propagate more easily than if you poured the solution in the center of the fruit.

Wash all equipment at the sink to isolate yeast and spray the aforementioned tools with equipment that cannot be placed in the dishwasher. Place all other rinsed tools in the dishwasher sans buckets which can be placed back out on the winery floor.

Sometimes, if there’s a little too much fruit in a bin and/or the fermentation is a really happy one, the fruit will be pushed up rather high in the bin. But other times, the fermentation is elevated by the cap which was formed by an excess of CO2 in the bin. Either way, punch down from the middle of the bin with slowness and care!