What is your white wine degas, clearing & stabilization protocol?

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NorCal

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I'm making a 60 gallon barrel of Chardonnay this year and will result in plenty of wine to give away. My process results up to this point have been good enough for my own consumption, but not good enough to give away to others.

I am looking to not have any sense of CO2, clear and no crystals or other debris in the bottom of the bottle over time or when stored in the fridge.

What process would you prescribe to achieve that end result?

degas?
clarify?
stabilize?
filter?
 
Given enough time, I don't find it necessary to do a step called degassing, but maybe you do, hard to say for sure. Clarify, maybe, if it needs it, but again, with enough time I don't often force clarify. Cold stabilization, oh yeah, I do that for everything and for a wine that will be cooked, I think it's almost required. And for that sparkling looking white wine I think you have to filter. Probably a 5 micron, followed by a 1 micron. Then, if you can, maybe even tighter. I can't or maybe should say I won't pay to go any tighter.
 
If I were the winemaker, there would be no degassing, time would be my agent in that respect.

I like to use a little bentonite during AF, at this stage, much less is needed than post AF, followed by Chitosol/Chitosan (DualFine) after the wine has had enough time to become gas free.

My wines age in bulk in my wine room at 58° F, and will shed any crystals associated with that temperature while aging. In your case, a few months in bulk at 32° F will be necessary to make it diamond free, if needed. You could put a gallon in a glass jug in your fridge to see if it forms diamonds, maybe you wont even need this step.

Lastly, and at bottling time, I’d run the wine through the Buon Vino, using the “Fine” filter media. At this stage, my wine would be crystal clear already, and no progression of filters necessary. The wine would be absolutely beautiful after this polishing stage, and would head to bottling.
 
* for spring contest wines (about 7 months old) where visual is three points I will filter with a BuonVino mini; #3 pad. For home/ friends I try a year of natural clearing like Craig. Note; the #3 pad will not remove pectic haze from peach or dandelion haze/ oil. Some organic wines print that it is normal to have some particulates come out.
* degassing; the spritz character happens because the solubility of CO2 when served is less. If your age in summer temperature is equal or higher than the serving temperature, you shouldn’t see/ taste gas.
* bitartrate crystals; there are three answers 1) if wine is chilled then served that evening it won’t matter since crystal growth is based on time 2) if you plan on storing refrigerated a week or longer crystals may happen, then/ especially with high TA northern grapes chilling the wine in the carboy removes TA which will improve the flavor 3) commercial wineries use meta tartrate which prevents crystal growth without lowering the TA.
* yeast will naturally flocculate with time as six to nine months. A 90 day kit speeds this up by adding clarifiers. Yeast clumps settle and can be avoided with careful pouring.

Opinion; if you want to wow your neighbors, people eat first with their eyes then their nose then their mouth. Techniques which you do in fermentation to increase aromatics/ reduce off notes as sulfur/ mercaptans at 0.2 parts per billion is where most home/ contest wines are lacking.
 
Thank you all. For every 100 gallons of red, I’ve made 5 gallons of white from grapes. I’ve tended to bottle after 5 months, so I could definitely give it some more time. I haven't used clarifiers and only a few times ran them in a fridge. I’ve only filtered a batch or two.

on the plate
- time
- clarifier
- cold stabilize
 
3) commercial wineries use meta tartrate which prevents crystal growth without lowering the TA.
One note of caution - the effect of metatartaric acid is transient, lasting only 12-24 months (higher storage temperature = shorter time). That may be enough, though with a whole barrel of wine you may be laying it down longer than that! Some other options discussed in my recent post here.
 
Agree with @Johnd. Time.

But that is only an option is one has a cellar with correct temperatures. I do. But someone in California (my home state by the way) may not. So it becomes more difficult to advise. While I love CA wine, never had a winery there and never made wine there so I can not sadly advise.

But I do ask, as an aside: Why trying to avoid wine crystals? I once bought a great bottle blend (Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Merlot) from Sterling Vineyards in Napa. And opened it many years later, and there were plenty of crystals not only on the cork, but in the bottle and glass. But the wine was even better. Yes, that was a red wine, but I also have no problems with crystals in white wine either.
 
I just have to put a word of caution in on the old Buon Vino. You guys would likely know more than me, I only used mine once. I got the dreaded soap flavor. I will never touch a wine with it again. It was only a 3 gallon Dragon's Blood, but I would never risk it on any wine. I had to dump it.

I am now using a vacuum pump and poly spun filter in a whole house 10" filter housing. Worked great!
 
But I do ask, as an aside: Why trying to avoid wine crystals? I once bought a great bottle blend (Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Merlot) from Sterling Vineyards in Napa. And opened it many years later, and there were plenty of crystals not only on the cork, but in the bottle and glass. But the wine was even better. Yes, that was a red wine, but I also have no problems with crystals in white wine either.
Like you I'm not fussed about crystals in the bottle, as I know what they are. However, most folks don't, so I see the concern in giving away bottles that may develop crystals, as to the uninitiated, the wine appears defective.
 
Like you I'm not fussed about crystals in the bottle, as I know what they are. However, most folks don't, so I see the concern in giving away bottles that may develop crystals, as to the uninitiated, the wine appears defective.

And I for one think that would be a great opportunity to educate the wine bottle recipient about the real world of wine. And not to be afraid of crystals. A little card on the bottle neck would suffice. Adding a little bit more about the aroma, bouquet and experience of the wine would also be good.

That is, don't be afraid of reality or giving reality to others. That perfectly waxed and shiny apple in the super market is not how most apples really are. And home grown apples, and home made wine, actually may give a more pleasant experience than that "perfect" specimen so polished and yet so devoid of character.....

That is do not fear exporting life long learning to others. :)

Just saying... :cool:
 
And I for one think that would be a great opportunity to educate the wine bottle recipient about the real world of wine. And not to be afraid of crystals. A little card on the bottle neck would suffice. Adding a little bit more about the aroma, bouquet and experience of the wine would also be good.

That is, don't be afraid of reality or giving reality to others. That perfectly waxed and shiny apple in the super market is not how most apples really are. And home grown apples, and home made wine, actually may give a more pleasant experience than that "perfect" specimen so polished and yet so devoid of character.....

That is do not fear exporting life long learning to others. :)

Just saying... :cool:
Based on feedback that I've received, extra things floating in the wine was not well received and I would like to avoid if the amount of effort warrants it. I do like the opportunity to educate and the analogy of the store apple.
 
@balatonwine, while I agree with you, education doesn't always quite work out as hoped. In @NorCal's situation, he'll be serving and giving away a lot of wine (his barrel is roughly my year's production), and even with a descriptive card, I expect far too many people won't understand, and some may have no interesting in understanding (which is sad).

@NorCal, regarding cold stabilization, I agree with @Johnd's assessment. If the wine was going to be stored at cellar temperature, full cold stabilization is not necessary, but if you expect it to be refrigerated, then it is.

Do you have access to a top & bottom refrigerator, one with the freezer on the top? Remove all shelves and see if it will hold 19 or 23 liter carboys. If so, following barrel time you can put the wine in carboys, and refrigerate for 2 to 4 weeks. An acquaintance had a fridge that would hold two carboys. Yeah, it will take a while to cold stabilize that much wine in that fashion, but you can bottle each carboy as it comes out.
 
@balatonwine, while I agree with you, education doesn't always quite work out as hoped.

With education, one hopes it will.

even with a descriptive card, I expect far too many people won't understand, and some may have no interesting in understanding (which is sad).

Yes that is sad. And the job, and challenge to educators to help them understand. That is if they did not understand, then the educator needs to see how to help them understand. The failure is not with the student, but with the educator. And a good educator always tries to moderate their message to help most understand.

Side note: Yes, in my professional life I have worn the cloak of a professional educator, tutor, trainer, and factual information disseminator --- The hardest, most underpaid, and most underappreciated, jobs around (rocket science may be easy in comparison... :) )

EDIT : A joke I like to include in some of my lectures:

A professor explains with complex formula to the students a theorem on his white board.
He looks around the room and sees no one understands.
So he erases everything and diagrams it and explains it second way .
He looks around the room and sees no one understands.
So he erases everything and does it all over again a third way.

Then he steps back, looking at the white board, pauses --- and realizes he finally understands it himself....
 
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It was our anniversary a few nights ago and the Mrs. didn’t want to go enjoy a meal on the town, so we did takeout. We needed a white wine to go along with the Thai food, so I got her favorite, a Rombauer Chardonnay. The wine cost more than the food, but overall still cheaper than going out. Even while enjoying our dinner, my wife endured my quest to improve my wine making and I pulled a good sample from the Chardonnay barrel to compare and contrast.

The barrel sample looked like a hazy IPA next to the Rombauer pour, so it’s clear (pun) that my barrel will need to be clarified and filtered or something will need to dramatically change on its own in the next two months before bottling. I degassed one sample and not the other and the sample that was not degassed was much better. I can attribute that to making a 3.5 pH Chardonnay. I probably should have brought the pH down pre-ferment as the degassed sample tastes flat. I stopped short of getting the pH meter out to compare the barrel to the Rombauer, as I tried to focus my attention on the woman that I went to the 7th grade with.

Degass - no
Clarify - most likely yes
filter - yes
stabilize - tbd, looking for a practical solution or a note that accompanies the bottle explaining how to store and info on wine crystals.
 
It was our anniversary a few nights ago and the Mrs. didn’t want to go enjoy a meal on the town, so we did takeout. We needed a white wine to go along with the Thai food, so I got her favorite, a Rombauer Chardonnay. The wine cost more than the food, but overall still cheaper than going out. Even while enjoying our dinner, my wife endured my quest to improve my wine making and I pulled a good sample from the Chardonnay barrel to compare and contrast.

The barrel sample looked like a hazy IPA next to the Rombauer pour, so it’s clear (pun) that my barrel will need to be clarified and filtered or something will need to dramatically change on its own in the next two months before bottling. I degassed one sample and not the other and the sample that was not degassed was much better. I can attribute that to making a 3.5 pH Chardonnay. I probably should have brought the pH down pre-ferment as the degassed sample tastes flat. I stopped short of getting the pH meter out to compare the barrel to the Rombauer, as I tried to focus my attention on the woman that I went to the 7th grade with.

Very cool ending!
 
...so I got her favorite, a Rombauer Chardonnay.

A little off topic but... At a wine store that I used to frequent, the owner was a fan of crisp, Chablis-style chardonnay and did not approve of big, oaky, buttery versions. He still stocked the latter (since many of his customers liked them), but the Rombauer display always had an empty Land o' Lakes butter carton next to the name as a warning... :p

Degass - no
Clarify - most likely yes
filter - yes
stabilize - tbd, looking for a practical solution or a note that accompanies the bottle explaining how to store and info on wine crystals.

Hopefully a few more months at cool (if not cold) temperatures will clean things up. If not, my vote would be filter rather than fining. If it's still a bit hazy, probably need 2 pass filtration (eg 5um, 1um).
 
@NorCal, congrats on your anniversary! Sometimes a quiet meal with the one you love is worth more than anything else.

Your Chardonnay is only a couple of months old, so comparing it to a finished commercial wine is not a good comparison, and it's not going to be fully cleared at this point. Time is your friend.

Regarding the acid, figure out how much tartaric you need to drop the pH from 3.5 to 3.3, and stir 20% of that amount into the barrel. A month from now, stir the barrel in the morning, take a tasting sample in the afternoon, and top the barrel. If the wine is still flat, add another 20% of your calculated amount, and wait another month.

If the wine is flat tasting, it's not as likely you'll drop crystals as the wine is already low in acid. If you get the wine to a point where you're satisfied, I recommend against cold stabilization, as that will mess up what you've already worked to accomplish.
 
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