Clarification is the process of purifying and stabilizing wine by removing sediment in wine through sedimentation, gelatinization and filtration. Most wines need to be clarified before bottling to remove the substances that cause wine turbidity and improve the stability of the liquor.
Some winemakers believe that this process will damage the characteristics of the wine, so some wineries only make a minimum of clarification, or even no clarification, before bottling the wine. The label of unfiltered wine is sometimes marked with "unfilled" or "unfiltered", which is less clear than clarified wine.
Sedimentation: the principle is to let the suspended particles in the wine settle to the bottom of the wine under the action of gravity. After the suspended particles settle to the bottom, the wine can be gently transferred to another container, leaving only the sediment. However, due to the weak effect of gravity on suspended particles, this method generally takes a long time.
Filtration: it is the process of removing particles by physical methods when the liquor passes through the filter. This method is easy to quickly remove the wine mud, usually before bottling, to ensure the clarity of the wine.
There are two main methods of filtering:
Depthfiltration - the filter used for deep filtration usually has a thick filter membrane, which can remove coarse wine mud and is suitable for turbid wine.
Surfacefiltration - the filter used for surface filtration is similar to a very fine sieve, and the size of its pores can be selected by itself. Those with large pores can filter out solid particles, and those with small pores can also remove yeast and bacteria in the liquor. However, this kind of filter is expensive and easy to jam. It is usually used for wine that has been deeply filtered.
Gluing: it is to add substances with adsorption power to the wine liquid, condense the substances that cause wine turbidity into particles or clusters, and finally remove them through filtration. Winemakers generally use the method of gelatinization to clarify the liquor, and choose the appropriate clarifier according to the characteristics and state of wine.
Egg white: it is one of the very effective clarifiers and has been used to clarify red wine for a long time. Egg white contains a protein called albumin, which can reduce the tightness and astringency of tannins in red wine, help purify wine and make the texture of wine more fine.
Gelatin fish glue: both gelatin and fish glue are clarifiers rich in collagen. The former is extracted from the tissues of pigs, cattle and chickens, while the latter is extracted from fish. These two clarifiers are water-soluble, and are often used to clarify white wine, which can achieve a good purification effect.
However, excessive use of gelatin will affect the fruit flavor of wine, and excessive fish glue may make wine emit unpleasant "fishy smell". Therefore, when clarifying wine, the amount of clarifier should not be too much.
Casein: casein is a protein extracted from mammalian milk. Its purification effect is not as good as gelatin, but it has little effect on the aroma and flavor of wine. Casein is mainly used to purify white wine, which can dilute the flavor and deepen the color caused by oxidation.
Activated carbon: activated carbon has strong adsorption performance and the function of filtering pigments. It can remove the color and adsorb the peculiar smell in white wine.
Bentonite, also known as bentonite, is made of volcanic ash. This affordable clarifier is often used to clarify wine, especially white wine. It can absorb impurities in wine, but it may also affect the aroma and flavor of wine.
Potassiumferrocyanide is often used to treat residual copper or iron ions in wine.
Due to the complexity of the chemical structure of wine, different clarifiers will have different effects. When dealing with different types of wine, appropriate clarifiers should be selected to achieve the best clarification effect.
Factors affecting wine clarification
Temperature: when clarifying wine or grape juice, temperature is one of the most important factors. Most clarifiers have obvious effect only when the temperature exceeds 15 ° C, and the best temperature is 20 ° C.
Duration: the duration of sedimentation will also affect the clarification effect. If the purpose of clarification is to improve the clarity of wine, then the length of time is a crucial factor in the whole process. If the clarification is completed too early, there will be residual suspended particles in the liquor, which will make the wine still look very turbid.
Dosage and method of use
Correct preparation should be carried out before adding clarifier. Many commercial preparations will give specific instructions on the packaging box, and better clarification effect can be achieved by using the dosage and method according to the instructions.
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