Should I fine my wine before cold stabilization?
Lum Eisenman replies in an e-mail to Wine-Forum.com on January 4, 2004.
Sometimes a new wine will have several defects, and it will be obvious to the winemaker that multiple fining treatments will be needed. In general, fining operations are done in the following sequence.
- Treat any hydrogen sulfide problems with copper sulfate as soon as fermentation is done.
- Cold stabilize the wine to remove potassium bitartrate. Chilling also helps clean up the wine, and it reduces the microbe population.
- Use protein materials (gelatin, casein, Isinglass, egg whites, etc.) to fine the wine for astringency, clarity or color problems.
- Fine with bentonite to remove excess protein and make white and blush wines hot stable. The bentonite fining will help remove any left over protein material, and it may also improve wine clarity.
But small wineries often depart from the sequence given above to reduce handling. They fine their white and blush wines with bentonite and then immediately cold stabilize the wine. During cold stabilization, the soft bentonite lees are compacted by the tartrate crystals, and the compacted lees make racking much easier.