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Fining Agents

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Bentonite
This is powdered clay that is used as a fining agent to clarify wine. Caution: If too much is used, your wine will have an earthy flavor.Use: Bentonite should be made up 24 hours before adding to wine. For a standard six gallon kit, add no more than 2 tablespoons of bentonite to 1/2 cup warm water; mix or shake well. The manufacturer recommends mixing 2 1/2 teaspoons into 2 1/2 cups boiling water. Mix really well, allow to cool, and add to wine.

Bocksin
This solution of silicium dioxide removes H2S (hydrogen sulfide) odors and related off-flavors in wine. An indication of H2S is the smell of rotten eggs.Use: Add 15 ml (0.5 oz) per 10 liters of wine. Stir thoroughly and wait 24 hours. Rack without disturbing the sediment. It is recommended to filter the wine after treatment. If the wine becomes cloudy, treat with finings.

Calcium Carbonate
This chemical is basic; in other words, it lowers the acidity of your wine to within your targeted range. Calcium carbonate is often used in place of adding water to achieve a more basic wine, since adding water will dilute your wine.Use: 1/2 oz reduces acidity by 1 ppt in 6 US gallons of wine. Be sure to perform an acid test so you don't overshoot your desired mark.

Wine Kit Enhancer
Add this stable California grape juice to enhance the taste, aroma, and bouquet of your wine kit.Use: Add to your wine kit at any point during the winemaking process: - Prior to fermentation (just before pitching yeast) for flavor, aroma, and alcohol boost - During fermentation for topping off - After fermentation (just prior to bottling), for fruit flavors, aromatics, and as a sweetener.

Lysozyme
This solution is used in wine to hinder or prevent a malolactic fermentation. It controls lactic acid bacteria and is made from an enzyme which naturally occurs in egg whites. A web page from Scott Lab explains what lysozyme is, how it works, and recommended dosage.Use: Add 1 oz per 5 gallons of wine, which provides about 250 ppm.

Potassium Metabisulfite
Potassium metabisulfite is added to wine to inhibit bacteria and yeast growth, as well as slow down oxidation. It may leave an unpleasant aftertaste in wine if the dose is too high. This chemical is also used in a water solution as an antiseptic rinse to sanitize equipment. It is identical to, but better than, Sodium Metabisulfite, because it does not add sodium to one's diet. CAUTION: Some people, particularly asthmatics, can have a severe allergic reaction to this substance.Use: For wine: 1/8 teaspoon (1 gram) of powder per gallon of wine provides 150 ppm free SO2. A little bit goes a long way, so be careful! Always test the free S02 content of your wine (using Titrets and Titret holder) to determine the proper amount to add. Generally speaking, the target free SO2 for red wines is 20-30 ppm and 25-40 ppm for white wines. The exact target depends upon the pH of the wine.For sanitizing solution: Dissolve 1 to 2 oz. (2 to 4 tablespoons) Potassium Metabisulfite powder in one gallon of water.

Potassium Sorbate
Potassium sorbate is used to slow down yeast growth and inhibit fermentation, thus "stabilizing" your wine prior to bottling.Use: Add 1/4 teaspoon per gallon of wine. grapestompers recommends using one crushed Campden tablet per gallon of wine in concert with potassium sorbate, because sorbate tends to work better in the presence of sulfites. Be sure to stir well, and let the dead yeast cells settle before final racking prior to bottling.

Sodium Benzoate
This is another chemical used to stabilize wines (slow down yeast growth and inhibit fermentation); generally preferred by makers of fruit (non-grape) wines. Use: Add one crushed tablet per gallon of wine and stir well; works best in the presence of sulfites, so you should also add one crushed Campden tablet for every sodium benzoate tablet. Allow yeast to settle as lees before finalracking and bottling.

Sparkalloid
Sparkalloid is used as a fining agent.Use: 1/2 teaspoon per gallon of wine. Mix required amount of powder with a small amount of cold water. Mix well until solution is smooth and creamy. Add mixture to finished wine and stir. Let wine settle for a week or more, then rack.

Wine Conditioner
An additive used to take the "bite" out of young-tasting wine and add a sweeter taste. Added to finished wine just prior to bottling according to taste. A little bit goes a long way! Use: Add 1/2 to 1 oz. to stabilized wine, stirring thoroughly and sampling after each addition, until the desired taste is achieved.

Yeast Energizer
A super nutrient with many vitamins and trace elements. Used to make wine with a high alcohol content or for fruit lacking in nutrients. Encourages wine to referment when it has stopped too soon. Use: 1 crushed tablet per gallon of wine or must.

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