Chapter 11

Wine Filtration

(book excerpts)

Wine filtration is an important part of the process in making wine the goal in providing stabilization Physical stabilization prevents the formation of hazes and deposits after packaging, while microbiological stabilization eliminates yeasts and bacteria that can affect the sensory characteristics of a wine. Many types of filtration systems are available to the winemaker, each with its own advantages or disadvantages, and these can include pressure leaf filters, plate and frame filters, lenticular disc filters, membrane filters, and tangential flow (cross-flow) filters. These systems use different filter media including diatomaceous earth, cellulose pads, lenticular discs, membranes with calibrated pores, and tangential filtration through inorganic or organic membranes. Important characteristics of filtration media are the porosity, which is the percentage of empty space in a porous structure in relation to total volume, and their permeability, which represents the ability of a medium to transmit fluids through at more or less at high rates. Depending on the initial state of the wine clarity (quantity and type of solids in suspension) the wine may undergo a series of filtration steps—rough, polish, and sterile. Today, some winemakers choose to use minimum filtration to avoid what they see as stripping the body away from the wines.

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