Sterile Filtration and Velcorin

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AJ Davis

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Hi!

Do you sterile filter (.45 micron or less) and/or use Velcorin? If so, what do you like/dislike about each? If you do not, why not? Cheers!

AJ
 
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I do not do either. As a home winemaker purchasing a .45 micron absolute filter medium is not really available at a price I am willing to pay. prior to today, I had never heard of Velcorin. Both of these are more suited (at least in my opinion) to commercial wine producers than me and my 50 gallons / year at most, consumed in under 3-5 years.
 

AJ Davis

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I do not do either. As a home winemaker purchasing a .45 micron absolute filter medium is not really available at a price I am willing to pay. prior to today, I had never heard of Velcorin. Both of these are more suited (at least in my opinion) to commercial wine producers than me and my 50 gallons / year at most, consumed in under 3-5 years.

Thanks for the response! Yep, certainly more geared toward commercial winemakers. However, I am super curious at what price point home winemakers would be interested in microbial control tools. For example, if there was equipment available to home winemakers that provided similar sterilization as sterile filters or Velcorin (without impacting flavor or color), would they pay $0.50/gallon or some corresponding capital expenditure?

I guess this is also an indirect way of asking how much of a "pain/problem" is spoilage and/or secondary fermentation for home winemakers?
 
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I haven't been making wine for very long, only about 10 years, at one point I was probably doing 150 gallons per year, some fruit (backsweeting required), some dry reds. I didn't start filtering at all until about 2 years ago and then only down to 2 micron for white wines. I have had no wines ever exhibit refermentation nor spoilage, so for me I probably wouldn't be willing to spend much for it, certainly not anything that resembles a capital expenditure.
 

vinny

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I'm 100% interested in removing any chemical additives I can, always... wine, food, cleaners, toothpaste...Always.

I can't name a price per gallon, but 3 to 6 dollars for filters is hardly anything to weigh out for me. That is also considering that if I am properly set up I can possibly do three batches back to back.

My next batch I am going to try to sterile filter just to see if I can backsweeten a Dragon's Blood without sorbate.

I have filters that were included with some used equipment labelled sterile .5 micron. I also bought others I have found locally not labelled as absolute. I am possibly going to throw 10-15$ at a 3 gallon batch to see if any that I have found will suffice. If it fails I intend to add sorbate, but I am just interested to know for the small investment.

As a one time experiment, cost doesn't really weigh in as it would were I considering doing it to every batch.

It also depends on the process. The less involved, the more I would be willing to invest/pay per gallon. I expect to be soaking and setting up filters, sterilizing, connecting pumps, filtering to another container, rinsing carboys and filter, sterilizing between batches, filtering again, and cleanup, at a minimum. I am very curious if I will find all the above effort worth sterilization or clarity. The results will dictate.

Obviously I can't speak to your process, I understand why you are not divulging much, but I would be happy to share my thoughts after I have a go at this. Should be in the next week or so.
 

Rocktop

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Without seeing or understanding the process or upfront capital cost, I would be very interested in being able to stop fermentation and leave residual sugars at the rate you quoted.
Let me know when you are going to market.
RT
 
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I did filter at one point, but mostly coarse filtered. I felt the fine filters took something from the wine. Note: this was late 80's and the filter technology is probably different today. Refermentation in the bottle has not been a problem, as I make mostly dry reds and white, and use a proper dosage of sorbate + K-meta for the ones I backsweeten. Spoilage in the bottle is not a problem, as wine is a preservative system (high ABV, low pH) and proper dosing with K-meta handles contaminants.

I am super curious at what price point home winemakers would be interested in microbial control tools.
Cheap. Most of us are really cheap.

1 oz sorbate is roughly $2.50 USD, and IIRC, that's about 6 tsp. Dosage is 1/2 tsp per gallon, the price/gallon is a $0.21/gallon. This is the price point you need to compete with.

If there is a significant setup cost, keep in mind that only a handful of folks on this forum report making more than 100 US gallons per year, and a lot make less than 20. I make 60 to 80 gallons, and of that, 0 to 10 gallons is backsweetened. A flat $0.50/gallon may work for me, but if I have to invest in infrastructure, it probably won't.

The price per unit is only a component in my decision making -- a strong negative will kill any interest I have, while strong positives may influence me toward it.

Sorbate is inexpensive and easy to use, but has an uncertain shelf life and over-dosing produces problems. What is the shelf life of your product, and what are the side effects?

Stopping fermentation at a given point without adding spirits is difficult for home winemakers. How quickly does your product stop a ferment (assuming it does)?

My bottom line is that my winemaking process works fine, and I change when I realize benefit. What can you do to improve it? [This is a question you should be asking yourself.]
 

Rice_Guy

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* Commercial wine makers do not use VELCORIN. This chemical is geared toward microbiologically risky products as seltzer which are in the 2 to 3% alcohol range, ,,,, check the FDA label. Once we get above 5% alcohol there would be no need for it since that level of alcohol has as much kill as velcorin and would remove food poisoning organisms. Wine at 10% or 12% or 14% has significantly better kill and even spoilage organisms will be killed with months of age in a tank. ,,,
* The dosage levels per bottle are not practical for home wine makers.
* Velcorin is not soluble so special machinery is required to properly dose.
* If you are dealing with the straight chemical it is toxic and the beverage it is added to is toxic till it has reacted. ,,,, hours warm/ days cold. ,,, @Rocktop I haven’t tried but most folks shouldn't be able to legally purchase it.
VELCORIN ,,,, Yep, certainly more geared toward commercial winemakers.
0.45 absolute filter: this will accomplish the level of kill in a three month old wine that a year in a room temperature carboy will, ,,, natural markets don’t need to do it. With a more risky product that is back sweetened it is worth while. The filling operation including all hoses and tanks needs to be properly sanitized for it to be effective. ,,, Food poisoning organisms aren't a risk at 10% alcohol. For a home wine maker it functions to prevent a sweet wine from becoming carbonated.
 
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BarrelMonkey

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* Commercial wine makers do not use VELCORIN.

I beg to differ- I know at least one winemaker who does and there are commercial services (mobile velcorin dosage rigs) that work specifically with wineries so I'm sure there are other winemakers who use it too. It is nasty stuff, although it degrades to (tiny amounts of) CO2 and methanol so is not present in the final product.
 

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