Wine Word of the Week: Clarification



By Kori ~ April 24th, 2012.

This week’s Wine Word of the Week is clarification.

Official definition from Jancis Robinson’s The Oxford Companion to Wine:
Clarification is the winemaking operation which removes suspended and insoluble material from grape juice, or new wine, in which these solids are known as lees. …. Clarification can usually be accomplished naturally by simply holding the liquid in a storage tank until the larger particles settle and then siphoning, or racking, the clear upper layer from the compact layer of solids at the bottom of the tank. This takes time, however, especially if the wine is stored in small barrels where full clarification can take a year or two and several rackings.

Most winemakers, therefore, and certainly all concerned with high-volume production, choose to speed the process by intervening with one or more of filtration, centrifugation, flotation, and the much cheaper process of fining, the addition of agents which aid agglomeration and settling of colloids in the must or new wine.

Layman’s terms from Kori:
Clarification is the winemaking process in which undesirable particles (those that cause a wine to be cloudy, etc) are removed by centrifuging, filtering and/or fining.


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