Winemaking - Blending and Fining

Blending and Fining

Different batches of wine can be mixed before bottling in order to achieve the desired taste. The winemaker can correct perceived inadequacies by mixing wines from different grapes and batches that were produced under different conditions. These adjustments can be as simple as adjusting acid or tannin levels, to as complex as blending different varieties or vintages to achieve a consistent taste.

Fining agents are used during winemaking to remove tannins, reduce astringency and remove microscopic particles that could cloud the wines. The winemakers decide on which fining agents are used and these may vary from product to product and even batch to batch (usually depending on the grapes of that particular year).

Gelatin has been used in winemaking for centuries and is recognized as a traditional method for wine fining, or clarifying. It is also the most commonly used agent to reduce the tannin content. Generally no gelatin remains in the wine because it reacts with the wine components, as it clarifies, and forms a sediment which is removed by filtration prior to bottling.

Besides gelatin, other fining agents for wine are often derived from animal products, such as micronized potassium casseinate (casein is milk protein), egg whites, egg albumin, bone char, bull's blood, isinglass (Sturgeon bladder), PVPP (a synthetic compound), lysozyme, and skim milk powder.

Some aromatized wines contain honey or egg-yolk extract.

Non-animal-based filtering agents are also often used, such as bentonite (a volcanic clay-based filter), diatomaceous earth, cellulose pads, paper filters and membrane filters (thin films of plastic polymer material having uniformly sized holes).

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