Wine Clarification Methods

Clarification of wines prior to bottling involves treatment with gelatine, albumin, isinglass, bentonite, potassium ferrocyanide or salts . Alternative procedures include chilling the wine prior to, or after, refining, and using microfiltration systems. A simple way to clarify wine is to add white gelatine (1 g per L of wine) to the fermented fruit solution, which is then allowed to stand in the refrigerator for 1 week, after which all of the suspended solids are precipitated and a clear transparent wine can be decanted from the top of the container. Following clarification, the wine will normally be flash pasteurized, hot-filled into bottles, or treated to give a residual SO2 content (100 ppm).

The next stage is to add sodium bisulphite to the fruit juice (200 ppm), allowing it to stand for 2-3 hours. During this process, the unwanted yeast flora present in the fruit pulp is eliminated and the added inoculum can act freely in the fruit juice to produce the desired flavour or bouquet characteristic of fruit wine.

wine glass

Next, the yeast is added to the juice (1 g per kg of fruit juice, usually strains of Saccharomyces cerevisiae or bread making yeast). The fermentation process should be carried out anaerobically, that is in the absence of oxygen, to prevent development of other non-wine making bacteria, such as Acetobacter spp, which produces undesirable taste and flavour. The fermentation ends after 3 to 4 weeks at 22-25°C.

The final stage of processing involves the blending, sweetening and flavouring (if required), and stabilization of the wines. The blending process is done both to ensure consistency of product character and to reduce the strong aroma and flavour of certain wines. Although there is some preference for single wines, many are blended, especially with apple wine, which is relatively low in flavour. Wines can be sweetened using sugar or fruit juice, the latter also serving to increase the natural fruit content. In some cases, it is necessary to adjust the acidity of wine by adding an approved food-grade acid, such as citric or tartaric acid. In many rural areas, where these chemicals are not available, lemon juice can be used instead.

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