Wine Fining Agent FAQs
Do I need to run bench trials before I use a fining agent?
Yes, bench trials are essential to determine proper dosing and efficiency. Each fining product works under a different mechanism and will react to each wine differently. Bench trials and cellar additions should be prepared and used the same way (same temperature, same mixing style, etc.). If bench trials are not performed, the winemaker may risk under or over-fining and could harm the wine. Take the time to find the right dose; your wine will thank you.
What are the main factors that influence how well fining works?
Fining can be a delicate operation. Product preparation and addition, product concentration, temperature, product age, pH, metal content and previous fining treatments are all factors that can influence the effectiveness of fining. It is important to follow the manufacturer's instructions and maintain accuracy when using fining products.
What should I use gum arabic for?
Gum arabic can be used to stabilize colloids in a wine and can help control color drop out in reds. Astringency can be reduced. Volume and fullness in the mouth can be enhanced.
My wine is astringent. What fining agent should I use to reduce the astringency?
Gelatins are a good choice for the reduction of astringency. Gelatins can target harsh tannins and phenolics. Another way to reduce astringency is to add polymerized aging tannins. Bench trials are highly recommended for gelatins and aging tannins prior to use.
I detect bitterness in the finish of my wine. What can I use to remove it?
Often a bentonite and casein blend (Bentolact S) is a fast and easy way to reduce bitterness. If you have already protein stabilized with bentonite, try adding a small amount (25 ppm) of the Scott'Tan FT Blanc Soft to eliminate the bitterness. The Bentolact S will precipitate the bitter molecules while the tannin will mask bitterness. Bench trials are recommended.
My wine has "off" sulfur aromas. What can be done to correct this?
Reduless is a good option. Its formulation is copper-rich and is useful in reducing H2S, dimethyl sulfide and other sulfur compounds. Phenolic defects can also be diminished.
What can I do for a wine that is oxidized?
Depending on the degree of oxidation, it may be necessary to use more than one product. Run bench trials with Caseinate de potassium, Polycacel, Polycel or Freshprotect. Oxidation is easier to prevent than treat. To protect organoleptic soundness, prevent oxidation by adding Bentolact S or Scott'Tan FT Blanc on white grapes together with adequate SO2.
My wine is cloudy, what can I use to try to fix it?
First, check for microbial contamination. If there is a microbial problem, consider SO2 and lysozyme additions (as appropriate) plus filtration. If microbes are not found, run bench trials with Hot Mix Sparkolloid NF, Cristalline Plus (isinglass) or gelatin. Sometimes the use of enzymes can eliminate wine cloudiness. Bench trials with Scottzyme KS or Scottzyme Pec5L may also prove useful.
I want to compact the lees. Which product is best?
Run bench trials with Hot Mix Sparkolloid NF, Cristalline Plus and gelatin. To encourage faster sedimentation, colloidal silica (Gelocolle) can be used after gelatin fining.
What is Sparkolloid NF?
Both types of Sparkolloid (Hot Mix NF and Cold Mix NF) are proprietary blends of polysaccharides in neutral carriers. Both exhibit a strong positive charge that neutralizes and complexes with clouding particles. Developed in-house, Cold Mix is for juice and Hot Mix is for wine. Both are powerful fining agents available at a minimal cost.
What is Isinglass? When should I use it?
Isinglass (Cristalline Plus) is used especially for applications with white and rose wines. Made from the swim bladders of fish, this fining agent is proven to enhance clarity and brilliance even in wines made from botrytised grapes.
What is the best way to add fining agents?
Are all gelatin products the same?
No, today's gelatin products offer a wide range of options. The gelatins we offer are derived from porcine by-products. They are refined, purified and then separated into specific fractions by capillary electrophoresis. Positively charged and colloidal in nature, gelatins require tannins for agglomeration and precipitation. Gelatins can be used to change wine structure or to enhance aroma and flavor. Timing of gelatin additions is critical to achieve the best results. Removing immature tannins and anthocyanins too early can upset the future balance and structure of the wine.
What are some of the other benefits of fining with gelatin?
Fining with gelatin has been shown to significantly lower yeast and bacterial populations such as Brettanomyces and Acetobacter (Murat and Dumeau, 2003). Clarifying can also help increase the filterability of wines.