Cold stabilization is a method of reducing the likelihood of bitartrate crystals (“wine diamonds”) forming in wine as it ages. This is particularly important for white wines.
If you are starting your white wine from fresh grapes (our Summerland Gewürztraminer, for example) rather than from a pail of juice from a winery, you need to know how to get “settled juice” and to time your “skin contact.”
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.
Potassium sorbate, a widely used food preservative, is added in small quantities to sweet or semi-sweet wines to prevent further sugar fermentation. It is the only practical way for the home winemaker to guarantee that fermentation will not restart in the bottle.
There is general agreement that white juice should be fermented at cool temperatures, taking several weeks to complete the process rather than the several days common with red must. Keeping white ferments cool is particularly applicable for the aromatic style. The cooler ferments can yield better varietal fruit flavor.
Lysozyme is the “silver bullet” necessary for preventing malolactic fermentations in aromatic white wines. This article discusses how to prepare and use Lysozyme.
If you have tasted a good Riesling or Gewürztraminer, you know what the light-bodied aromatic style of white wine is all about. Compared to an oaky Chardonnay, these aromatic wines: are higher in acid and lower in alcohol, use no oak, avoid malolactic fermentation (MLF), and usually have some residual sugar to balance the higher acid.
Chardonnay, especially the oaky, buttery kind, is the classic example of a full-bodied, wooded style white wine. Making it is more like making a red wine than an aromatic white wine, such as Gewürztraminer.