Tutorial on Wine Making - Lesson 5 of 6/h3>


Wine Making Tutorial – Lesson 5 Clearing, Fining and Stabilizing Wine

Wine Making – Clearing, Fining and Stabilizing Wine
Wine Kits – Clearing and Fining
Not all wine kits contain the same fining or clearing agents or follow the same schedule; however, here are the directions from a Cellar Classic Wine Kit:
  • If your wine kit includes finishing blend or sweetening blend, please refer to label instructions and add now (if you have not done so already).
  • Degass wine vigorously for 5 minutes by stirring with the handle of a spoon or with a drill mounted stirring device. INSUFFICIENT STIRRING WILL PREVENT THE WINE FROM CLEARING ADEQUATELY.
  • Add Packet D1 (Kieselsol) to wine and stir for 1 minute. Then add D2 (Chitosan) and stir well. Important: Do not reverse the order of Kieselsol and Chitosan. Degass wine for 5 minutes by stirring vigorously.
  • Some people prefer to temporarily move to their primary fermenting bucket to add and stir in their fining agents, but it is not necessary. If you have done so, rack back into carboy.
  • Top up to within two inches of the airlock. Attach bung and airlock.
  • Let wine stand until Day 42 (or as directed by your wine kit instructions) in an elevated cool area (15-19ºC/59-66ºF).
Clearing and Fining Wine from Grapes or Fruit
After fermentation is complete there are no longer carbon dioxide bubbles stirring up your wine allowing gravity to slowly pull suspended material and particles to the bottom of your carboy, barrel or container. Settling times depend on the suspended material. Pulp and skins settle in a carboy in just a few days where as yeast cells being much smaller and can take a week or so. Bacteria are 10 to 100 times smaller than yeast cell and take much longer or may never settle. Many of the suspended particles contain an electrical charge that act like magnets repelling from each other. By introducing one of several fining agents we are either neutralizing these electric charges or attaching the fining agent to the suspended particles so that gravity will allow them to fall to the bottom so they can be racked off leaving lees or solids behind. 
Racking – As you read through this keep in mind most wines are racked a total of 3 to 4 times (plus bottling which leaves sediment behind) at intervals of approx. 3 months for the first two or three rackings and six month intervals thereafter, all leading up to bottling 11 to 18 months after fermentation, with sulfite treatments at 25ppm at every racking or 50ppm every other racking. With this in mind…
Most white or blush wines are racked off their lees shortly after primary fermentation is complete whereas most red wines undergo malolactic fermentation that can take several months to complete and are left on their lees during this process of malolactic acid conversion and racked for the first time when this process is complete. 
Fining agents are typically introduced a week or so before the second racking. Most white and blush wines will come clear and be bottle ready after a hot bentonite treatment followed up with Sparkolloid. Caution, if your white or blush does not come clear after this process it is important to identify the specific problem before blindly applying additional fining agents in an attempt to clear your wine because excessive fining or filtering can be devastating to the taste of your finished wine.
Most red wines clear without any fining or filtering because the tannin in red wine acts as a fining agent. Red wines are typically clear and bright after being racked a couple of times and aged for several months. However, red wines can sometimes produce unsightly bottle deposits if they are not lightly fined with a protein agent or filtered with a medium pad.
Today’s wine drinkers demand brilliantly clear white and blush wines. Unfortunately maximum clarity is difficult to achieve by fining alone. As a result most commercial wineries mechanically filter their wined. However, most home wine makers rely solely on the fining agents and process to clear their wines as the expense of a filtration system is cost prohibitive.
If you are going to filter your wine you will want to do your fining before filtration, it simply cuts down on the cost of filters.
Typical Wine Making Fining Agents:
  • Bentonite
  • Gelatin
  • Isinglass, Dry and Liquid
  • Kieselsol
  • PVPP or Polyclar
  • Sparkolloid
Descriptions and Instructions on Use of Wine Making Fining Agents
Bentonite is an extremely fine clay material. It has a negative electrical charge, and it is used to remove positively charged particles from wine. Bentonite is most commonly used to remove excess protein from both white wines, blush wines and some fruit wines. Use this natural clay powder for to clarify wine. To clarify 6 gallons of wine add 2 tablespoons of bentonite to 1/2 cup of hot water and add this mix to wine.
Gelatin is a popular protein fining material, and gelatins are often used to reduce the bitterness and astringency of red wines. Gelatin removes a quantity of tannin roughly equal to its own weight. Sometimes, white wines have a slightly bitter finish, and sometimes the bitterness can be reduced by fining with a small quantity of gelatin. Kieselsol can be used to precipitate any excess gelatin residue. Very effective clarifier for wine making. Dose is typically 1-2 teaspoons per 5 gallons of wine.
Isinglass is a protein material made from the air bladders of Sturgeon fish. The commercial, granular form of Isinglass is called "Biofine". Small quantities of Isinglass are often added to sparkling wines to help the riddling process. Typical dose is ¼ teaspoon of Dry Isinglass to 6 gallons of wine or 1 oz. of liquid.
Kieselsol is a heavy, liquid silica colloid. Nalco 1072 is the material most often used in the U.S. wine industry. This material reacts with protein in the wine and precipitates out quickly. Kieselsol is sometimes used to remove excess protein material from white and blush wines.
Kieselsol is often used in combination with gelatins to clarify white and blush wine, and gelatin-Kieselsol fining often produces excellent clarification. Gelatin should be added to the wine first. Then the Kieselsol should be added a day or two later. Kieselsol is found in Super Kleer KC Finings.
PVPP is sold under the brand name "Polyclar AT." It is manufactured in the form of very small, round plastic beads. PVPP is a light weight insoluble. PVPP is used to remove browning or pinking pigments from white or blush wines. It is used to remove oxidized odors and for removing small amounts of bitter phenolic compounds. Sometimes fining with Polyclar can be very effective and other times it may not be effective at all.
PVPP is an easy material to use. The powder is mixed with water and then added to the wine. About 1 gram per gallon is considered a typical dose. This material reacts with the wine very quickly, so it can be removed from the wine after just a few hours. However, Polyclar does not settle out of wine very quickly, and many winemakers prefer to filter the wine after a PVPP treatment. Sometimes bentonite is used to help settle the PVPP particles more quickly.
Sparkolloid is a proprietary material manufactured by Scott Laboratories. It contains a polysaccharide substance dispersed in diatomaceous earth. It comes in hot-mix and cold- mix forms, but the hot form is preferred for clarification fining. Sparkolloid is the material of choice for clarifying white and blush wines. Sparkolloid is one of the more benign fining materials, and when used in reasonable quantities, it seldom strips wine flavors or aromas. It is also used as a topping material, and Sparkolloid can be useful following bentonite or carbon treatment.
Sparkolloid produces very fine lees, and the lees settle out of the wine slowly. Sparkolloid should not be used less than 30 days before bottling time or small amounts may precipitate later in the wine bottles. Many winemakers allow for an eight-week settling time just to be safe.
Dose levels range from 1/4 to 1 gram of dry Sparkolloid powder per gallon of wine. A solution is made by stirring Sparkolloid powder into boiling water. After the powder is added, the mixture should be boiled for an additional 5 to 20 minutes. The hot Sparkolloid solution is stirred into the wine.
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