Checking The Clarity
Careful racking and sufficient aging (3 months – minimum, 6 months – good, 9 months – better, 12+ months – best) will eliminate the majority or sediment in most red wines and wine kits; however, white wines, blushes, and other fruit wines are more stubborn and will take fining agents to achieve preferred clarity/stability.
Heat stabilization removes the protein hazes that appear if the wine rises above room temperature and can sometimes be invisible during aging. Lees (dead yeast cells) are a common form of sediment that have a positive charge. Adding a negatively charged fining agent, such as Bentonite, to your wine will attract the lees and cause them to bind with the Bentonite and fall to the bottom. You can then rerack your wine and remove the residual sediment. Although Bentonite can be added at any point in the aging process, we recommend that you do it after the wine is fully fermented to reduce the stripping of flavors. For every five gallons of wine, you’ll want to use 0.3 ounces of Bentonite. Create a slurry by adding the 0.3 ounces of Bentonite to one quart of warm water while stirring continuously. Let the slurry sit overnight. Once the bentonite has had enough time to expand (12 – 14 hours), slowly add it to your carboy while swirling the wine inside. Let the wine sit for 2 – 3 weeks then re-rack it.