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Old 12-10-2011, 09:25 AM   #1
Wade E
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Thanks to Frank Renaldi, (a friend and a user on this site)

Clarifying wine using fining agents

Fining is an act of adding a product to wine to remove suspended particles. These products can also reduce astringency or bitterness, remove off odors and strip out browning caused by oxidation. However, this may also strip or remove some color, body, taste and aroma from the wine.
The following items could be the reason fining is required: Pectin, starch haze, metallic contamination (from using copper, zinc, iron or aluminum utensils during wine making), excessive tannins, suspended dead yeast cells, fine suspended particles from which the wine is made. If the wine has not cleared after three rackings 60 days apart, try relocating the wine to a colder place by about 10F. If this does not work after 30 days and you have ruled out pectin and starch hazes, it is time to try a fining agent.
Fining has better results at lower temperatures and lower PH values. As PH increases, the strength of the charged particles decreases. For a high PH wine use Sparkalloid, as it is PH independent.
White wines haze is usually caused by positively charged proteins and polysaccharides. Bentonite is the preferred agent to clear the haze. Young red wines which are cloudy are usually caused by pectin or negatively charged particles. Red wines with their natural tannins, should not suffer from haze caused by proteins, but white wines easily could.
Positive charged particles: proteins, metallic compounds
Negative charges agents: tannin, yeast, Bentonite, Kieselsol

Negative charged particles: tannins, phenolics, anthocyanins, yeast, bacteria
Positive charged agents: gelatin, albumin, casein, Isinglass, Chitosan, Sparkalloid, egg whites

Bentonite (negative charge):
- Allow 6 months or 3 rackings before using Bentonite
- Does not remove tannins
- Can remove some aroma compounds form wine
- Does not adversely affect wine flavor, however if adding more than necessary it will impart an “earthiness” to the wine
- Removes proteins from white wines which cause a haze (not reds)
Dosage: 1-6 gm/gallon (stay on low side)
o Rack before adding Bentonite
o Mix 20ml of hot water (do not use wine) per gram of Bentonite needed using a whisk
o Cover and set aside for 2 hours then whisk again
o Add to wine while stirring well – keep wine at room temp
o Let settle for 1-2 weeks max until particles settle out, then rack

Egg whites (positive charge):
- Good for reds – softens astringency with no negative effects
- Removes haze from excessive tannins
Dosage: 1 egg per 5-6 gallons
• Separate egg whites from yoke
• Add pinch of salt before beating with a whisk
• Remove foam and add to wine
• Let settle for 10-14 days and rack
Sparkalloid (hot mix) (positive charge):
- Use for high ph wines
- Rack once before using sparkalloid
- Cold or hot mix available (hot mix recommended)
- Creates brilliant color & removes range of hazes without stripping character
- Apply at least one month before bottling (takes time to settle)
Dosage: 0.5 – 2.0 gm per gallon of wine
• Mix 0.5 – 2.0 gm of sparkalloid in 30ml of water per gallon of wine
• Heat to a simmer for half hour (stir frequently)
• Stir wine as you add hot sparkalloid mixture
• Let settle for 2-4 weeks and rack (the sediment can be easily disturbed)
• Beneficial to follow Sparkalloid fining with Bentonite to give more compact sediment. Add after Sparkalloid settles out completely.

Kieselsol - Silica Gel or Silicon Dioxide (negative charge):
- Used for fining white wines
- Works well with Gelatine as a clearing agent, since it acts as a tannin substitute and works well to remove bitterness from white wines. When used with Gelatine, the gelatin is added to the wine first and then 24-48 hours later, a small amount of Kieselol is added and should be racked off within 2 weeks.
- Also works well with Chitosan (they are offered as a package)
- Very effective with peptide-tannin hazes
- Used with Gelatin, Isinglass, Bentonite or by itself to create compact lees
Dosage: 0.5 – 1.5 gm/gallon (powder form)
2.0 – 5.0 ml/gallon (liquid form)
Carbon (no charge):
- Used to remove off flavors and odors (phenolic compounds)
- Decrease browning in white wines
- It does not attract particles, but absorbs them
- Do not overuse – can strip color, flavor and character (use as last means)
- Works very fast, results are felt immediately
- Carbon contains a large amount of air, and oxidation sometimes follows carbon additions if the carbon is not quickly and thoroughly removed
Laboratory test addition:
• 10-50mg/L for color treatment (marked KBB)
• 50-250 mg/L for off-odor removal (marked AAA)
• Let settle for one hour and rack – check for improvements of color or smell
Bulk wine addition:
• Wine should be 15-25 degree Celsius
• Apply carbon powder directly to wine and mix well
• Rack in 3-5 days (PVPP helps settle out the carbon)

Casein – Potassium Caseinate (positive charge):
Used for:
o Correct & stabilize color in whites and blush whites
o Clarify white juices (brown color from oxidization)
o Freshen aroma of stale wines by removing some of the oxidized odors
o Soften harsh flavors in wines
o Used as a Gelatin substitute to reduce tannins in reds
- Often not used on reds because it removes excessive color
- Powered skim milk is almost entirely Potassium Caseinate
- Can be difficult to add to wine since it will react with the acids in the wine immediately and loose its effect as a fining agent when you try to stir it in
Dosage: 1.0 – 4.0 gm/gallon
• Perform fining trials
• Hydrate in water at rate of 16ml of water per gram of Potassium Caseinate
• Hold for 2-3 hours until completely dissolved
• Slowly pour mixture into wine while stirring (coagulates immediately)

Isinglass (Drifine) - (positive charge):
Used for:
o Final polishing on wines already cleared
o Reduce the browning potential in whites
o Reduce astringent and harsh flavors
o Remove colloidal hazes
- Not used for a heavy haze - Use for final wines already clear (gentle fining agent)
- Causes flocculation of yeast and other suspended solids. Forms complexes with negatively charged polyphenols that are responsible for astringency and harsh flavors
- Used to clarify wines which will not be filtered
Dosage: .02 - .07 gm/ gallons of wine
Preparation of laboratory evaluation:
• Mix 6 gm of drifine into one liter of water (60F or less)
• Mix for 2 minutes at high speed, let stand for 20 minutes
• Mix again for 2 minutes (be aware heat may be generated during mixing)
• Stir into wine
PVPP – Poly Clear (no charge):
- Not really considered a clarifier
- Removes a portion of enzyme that causes oxidation
- Works well in reducing/removing oxidative odors and reduces browning in whites
- Does not break down to create an off flavor in wine (insoluble in water)
- Sometimes used in place of Gelatin when reducing tannins in white wines
10-30g/hl for preventative use in white wine
15-25g/hl for treatment against bitterness
30-50g/hl for wines damaged by oxidation

Gelatin - (positive charge):
- Requires tannins to work as a fining agent
- Good for reds – reduces tannins (which have a negative charge)
- Use on whites to remove bitter excessive tannins (too much will create protein haze)
- Use after Bentonite fining to compact fluffy Bentonite
- Use with Kiesesol to prevent over stripping of whites. Kiesesol negative charge works as a tannin substitute to neutralize excess gelatine in the wine. The two agents with different charges working together also have the potential to both reduce astringency and collect a greater number of charged particles.
Dosage: 6-10 gm/HL

Chitosan - (positive charge):
- Popular to clear white wines (does not require tannins)
- Good to use with Kiesesol (negative) to remove most suspended proteins and solids. They are offered as a package.
Dosage: 0.24 oz/gallon

Pectic Enzyme
- Excellent clarifier when applied to fruit wine or wines that can develop a pectin haze
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Old 12-10-2011, 11:39 AM   #2
Wade E
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Also sent to me from Frank Renaldi who asked this to the manufacturer!

The question} why do you have to add the Kiesesol before the Chitosan? My students always ask that question. What happens if they are reversed? the insertion time is so close, I cannot see why this is critical.

The answer} Yes, there is a reason as to why the kieselsol is added prior to chitosan. If the order is reversed, there can be clearing issues with the wine. The reasoning is due to the electrical charge of the fining agents as well as compounds that exist in the wine. Kieselsol, an inert silica gel that is negatively charged, is added to the wine. This builds up a strong static charge due to the dead and living yeast cells also having a negative charge in the carboy of wine. Chitosan, a positively charged polymer, is then added to the wine. The negatively charged yeast cells and Kieselsol particles are instantly attracted to the positively charged Chitosan particles to form heavy clumps that fall rapidly to the bottom, leaving a clear wine. If the order is reversed the chitosan will not function nearly as effectively at attracting negatively charged particles, meaning that you could end up with hazy wines.
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Old 12-13-2011, 05:53 AM   #3
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On Bentonite from Purdue

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Old 12-13-2011, 06:03 AM   #4
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I have accidentally reversed the K & C before. The wine did eventually clear, but it wasn't a pretty process. Thanks Wade for this valueable info (and for stickying it)!
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Old 12-21-2011, 07:03 PM   #5
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Jan 2010
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This is great info, I have had a gallon of Mango and three gallons of cranberry sitting around for a year or so, just would not clear up. Have never used any fining agents before. Tryed super kleer, could not believe what it did, stared in less than 12 hours and now after 3 days is sparkling clear, can even taste a difference. I see a warning on the packet about allergies, it contains shellfish derivities, hard to believe that such a tiny amout could cause a problem. I will warn one friend of mine before he drinks any of it. Loren

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Old 12-21-2011, 07:40 PM   #6
Wade E
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Supposedly all the proteins have been removed and that was from a rep for that company but I guess they still have to put the warning on the label.
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Old 12-21-2011, 07:59 PM   #7
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Have been bragging about the Mango, am sure the one one that has a allergy will at least wanr to taste it. If he has shrimp he gets deathly sick. Loren

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Old 01-05-2012, 03:21 PM   #8
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I have a question about the sparkalloid / bentonite instructions. This line: "Beneficial to follow Sparkalloid fining with Bentonite to give more compact sediment. Add after Sparkalloid settles out completely."

I like Sparkalloid as a clearing agent, but I don't like the fluffy sediment. It is so easily stirred up. How well does Bentonite work to compact the fluffy sediment? Should I rack after the Sparkalloid settles and before adding the Bentonite? I'm assuming I'd stir the fluffy Sparkalloid lees back into suspension if I don't rack before stirring in the Bentonite.

Should the wine be back-sweetened before clearing? When I back-sweeten with a homemade f-pack, the f-pack is somewhat dense and cloudy and usually clouds up my clear wine a bit.

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Old 01-28-2012, 02:52 AM   #9
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Jan 2012
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I have used Clay Bentonite before for my whites. It really cleared up my SB very nicely. Clay Bentonite is is formed from fine volcano dust. It's just right for the job. When It is hyrdrated the trillions of plates in their plates provide huge surface area. Secondly the plates are negatively charged. Wine proteins now have a slight positive charge, and we all know opposites attract like a fat kid and double choclate cake. They bind together, and the huge surface area of the clay makes the clay a great fining agent to use. Basically there is not going to be too much room for the protein to hide in the wine. They have a great search and destroy action.
Possible disadvantes not all aroma and flavor molecules are immune from that attractive force of the bentonite plates.

Now Organic egg whites I have used with great sucess in my reds. Egg whites have a positive charge as previously stated. This is an old school tecnhique used in wine making to clear red wines during barrel aging. Egg whites contain a water soluble protein called albumen. It really softens the wine and helps with astrigency with no negative effects or residue like the clay I talked about above. 1 egg white will clarify 23.5L's of wine. I would rack after adding whites within 14 days.

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Old 01-28-2012, 06:28 AM   #10
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Thanks Wade, this info couldn't come at a more perfect time. I just received a box of items from Midwest Supplies & a couple of the items were 1 liters of Kiesol & 2 of Chitosan. One of the posts from Dan a while ago, mentioned how inexpensive it is if you buy them in bulk instead of the Super Kleer packets. Fantastic service from them also, ordered on the 25th & received box yesterday, the 27th!!

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