Final Racking and Whether to Sterile Filter


Once the wine has cold stabilized you should have clear wine sitting on top of a layer of crystals that form a crust on the bottom and occasionally the sides of the vessel. If you also heat stabilized then you will also have a layer of bentonite/protein lees under the crystal crust. Now you need to rack off of these to remove them from the wine. If working with small vessels that will be moved before racking, be careful about agitating the wine too much during the transport to keep the lees from swirling back up into the wine and making it cloudy again. If possible, move the vessel a day or two before racking so that what little bit of sediment that is released back up into the wine during movement has time to settle back down again before you begin your racking.  

At this point you will have a very clear wine but if there was a partial or no MLF then it will not be stable. You can choose to leave the wine as is and just rely on SO2 to keep you safe, but the only 100% guarantee for microbial stability for wine with RS% or no/partial MLF is .45 micron "Absolute" filtration.

Note: Lysozyme is a product that can be used in the winemaking process to delay or avoid MLF. However, you should not bottle with residual lysozyme in the wine, because it is a protein and can cause heat instability in the bottle. If you use it during winemaking then it should be fined out with bentonite before you bottle!

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