To Fine or Not To Fine?

Discussion on the ingredients for making wine.

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To Fine or Not To Fine?

Postby mark886 » Sat Feb 21, 2004 5:18 pm

Another question related to my 2003 Lodi reds (fermented on skins for 7 days). I'm about to add oak cubes for the remaning 6 months in the carboys.

Is it really necessary to fine? I overlooked this step, and now that the wine has been racked a few times and cold-stabilized, it's pretty clear. I don't know if I want to go to the trouble of racking five carboys three more times, but I also don't want to have my bottles coated in tannins.

When commercial wineries label their wines "unfined and unfiltered", do they typically use a centrifuge or other means to get their wines to clear?

Thanks,

Mark
Denver, CO
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Postby Comrade » Mon Feb 23, 2004 3:14 pm

I do not fine or filter my wine. I also, after carefully racking and aging the wine, have a crystal clear product.

I beleive filtering would remove valuable flavors, and fining would add more than simply grape juice and yeast.

Call me a purist, but I like the way my wines come out. (my friends love it too!)
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fining

Postby mark886 » Mon Feb 23, 2004 3:22 pm

Thanks Comrade. When you say your wine is clear, do you also mean that there is no sediment in the bottle? How many times do you typically rack your red wines?

I made a couple of batches a few years ago, and almost the entire inside of the bottles were coated in sediment. The sediment was impossible to completely remove with water alone. I suppose it's more an issue of trying to reuse the bottles without having to use a brush.
Last edited by mark886 on Mon Feb 23, 2004 5:30 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Comrade » Mon Feb 23, 2004 3:29 pm

I have seen some people with that problem of sediment adhearing to the bottle. That's really a bummer.

After long-term bottle age I get a slight bit of sediment at the bottom of the bottle, but nothing a little careful decanting can't remove.

I usually rack the wine three times, then age in oak barrels for a year (until I need the space for the following year's batch). Something magic happens in those barrels, I swear.
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TO FINE OR NOT TO FINE

Postby JASON100 » Tue May 11, 2004 10:46 am

In general, fining is not regarded as necessary by most home wine makers for red wines. However, if you face the prospect of excessive sediments, you should consider some type of appropriate fining. Egg whites, for instance, can do wonders in correcting certain defects. Egg whites have no downside and can contribute a certain softness to the wines's finish.

I am not a purist; I think fining and filtering are just fine. Opus One, for instance, tastes great, and it is fined and sterile filtered (as are ALL prominent commercial wines). Sediment is considered bad form in this country, and sterile filtering is pricticed by virtually ALL commercial wineries as a means to insure that wines are completely stabile when they finally reach the hands of the consumer.

By he way, I keep my reds of the skins for 21 to 25 days and then rack them straight to neutral oak barrels. DD
Presently a home wine maker experimenting with various techniques. Tracking to open a small commercial niche winery within the next two years. Interested in full-bodied hand crafted reds.
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Re: TO FINE OR NOT TO FINE

Postby Holocron » Fri Aug 06, 2004 1:57 pm

JASON100 wrote:Sediment is considered bad form in this country...


Great point! In other--more civilized--parts of the world, a little something at the bottom of the bottle is considered a sign of something good. Or so I've been told by the older French lady my wife lived with in Angers, France... :roll:
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Postby StuBrew » Mon Jun 12, 2006 10:19 pm

Opus One, for instance, tastes great, and it is fined and sterile filtered (as are ALL prominent commercial wines)


If Opus sterile filters then I wonder what they are considering "sterile" - the most recent (2001) I've had was noticeably bretty.

Mark, I don't think you should avoid fining if it will improve your wine, there are fantastic wines that are produced with and without fining/filtration. But avoiding these steps simply to boast is cheating yourself of drinking more pleasant wine.

BTW, one could centrifuge and still label "unfiltered", but centrifuges tend to beat up wine more than any filter would. Also, there are wineries that label "unfined/unfiltered" and add DMDC (velcorin), a perfectly legal additive which sterilizes the wine and after 24 hours breaks down to harmless levels of CO2 and methanol. So just because the label says "unfined/unfiltered" doesn't mean your getting a more "pure" product.
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