stirring lees technique question

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Dec 10, 2009
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I recently did a W.E. california pinot noir kit and as you might know, the instructions are to stir the lees back into the wine at step 3.
The explanation for this is basically that the wine won't clear if you don't do it.
Ok. I don't have a problem with it, and I did it.
My question is, would this technique be useful in any other wines? Homemade or otherwise? Can anyone shed some light on what happens when you do it that way?
It's just something that I took for granted while doing it, but now would like to know the reasoning behind it.

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Not really. Each kit manufacture has their own directions on the ingredients they use. Some will have different clearing agents. WE and others suggest what works for them. The idea is to suspend the particles so that the clearing agent has something to hold on to to drop it on the bottom.
This is why you should follow THEIR directions.
I don't know all the details, but generally, fine particles in suspension are either positively or negatively charged and both need to be present to get these particles to settle out. WE kits have a one part clearing agent that requires the heavier settled particles to be brought back into suspension to somehow grab the finer particles and settle them out.
Some other kits, including Spagnols, use a 2 part clearing agent that allows this process to occur without stirring up the heavier settled particles.
As for other benefits from stirring up the lees, there is a process called battonage, that has the lees stirred up periodically over a few weeks, before stabilization, and this can increase the mouthfeel of the wine. I have only just started battonage for the first time on a wine, so can't comment on its result yet. There may be other benefits to stirring up the lees as well.
Cheers .. Doug
Dugger nailed it. Stirring up the lees and usually leaving them in much longer (which you are not doing here) adds more complexity to the wine and a better mouthfeel.

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