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When To Add Bentonite


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#1 mattwine

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Posted 28 January 2012 - 09:41 AM

Hello All,

Going to be adding bentonite to my wines pretty soon here. I have already racked once after primary fermentation and the wine is pretty clear with some fine lees at the bottom of the carboy.
Do I need to rack the wine off these fine lees first before I add the bentonite and cs? or should I just leave the fine lees and add the bentonite and stir the bentonite with the fine lees and cs?

Any help would be appreciated!

Matt

#2 moundtop

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Posted 28 January 2012 - 10:15 AM

I've wondered about this question myself. My practice has been to rack off any visible sediment prior to stirring in the bentonite. My reasoning has been that much of the bentonite's "binding capacity" would be used up by the sediment...resulting in less power to clarify the stubborn proteins suspended in the wine. However, this is just a "personal theory" and I have never tested it by comparing the effects of bentonite fining with vs. without prior racking. I'd be interested in hearing about other folks' experience with this issue. Finally, as you suggest, I always follow-up with cold stabilization as it dramatically compacts the bentonite lees.
Frank from Vermillion, South Dakota

#3 Calamity Cellars

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Posted 28 January 2012 - 10:26 AM

I assume you are referring to white wines. I also add bentonite after the second racking. Racking one is just after fermentation to get the wine off the gross lees. Racking two happens a month or so later when the wine is moderately clear but usually a bit hazy. I find the wine clears beautiful in a couple weeks with the bentonite addition. Have you reviewed my topic on bentonite fining trials? ( http://www.winepress...__fromsearch__1 ) Not to toot my own horn but the topic is a great discussion on learning how much bentonite is enough without over adding.

Alan Holtzheimer


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#4 mattwine

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Posted 28 January 2012 - 10:43 AM

I assume you are referring to white wines. I also add bentonite after the second racking. Racking one is just after fermentation to get the wine off the gross lees. Racking two happens a month or so later when the wine is moderately clear but usually a bit hazy. I find the wine clears beautiful in a couple weeks with the bentonite addition. Have you reviewed my topic on bentonite fining trials? ( http://www.winepress...__fromsearch__1 ) Not to toot my own horn but the topic is a great discussion on learning how much bentonite is enough without over adding.

Yes it's a couple of white wines, Cayuga, Seyval and Traminette. Yes, I have read your fining procedures and am using it myself. My plan is to add the appropriate amount of bentonite to the wines then cs, followed by a last fining with Isinglass or Sparkalloid if it needs it, then bottle with a Enolmatic bottler and Tandem filter with .45 micron.

Do you use any other fining with your bentonite when you cs, I've heard that using a bit of Kieselsol helps with lees compaction?
Have you used any other fining agent as I have mentioned, such as Sparkalloid or Isinglass to make the wines brilliantly clear?

I've always used super kleer on my wines, but no longer can because the TTB told me it wasn't allowed because of the Chitosan in it. I have never used bentonite on any of my amateur wines, which I wish I had now.
I thought you did a great posting on using bentonite, I think it's the best video explanation on the internet that I've found. I'm am going with the 5% slurry mixture for my trials. Could you post your spredsheet that you made?

Thanks

Matt

#5 Calamity Cellars

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Posted 28 January 2012 - 11:14 AM

I do not use anything but bentonite. I believe in minimizing my additions and get the final product I want with just bentonite. However, if I had a problem I am not opposed to other additions, I just haven't needed them yet. I do not know how to post a file but I would be happy to email it to you. Send me your email in a pm and I'll reply with the spreadsheet attached.

Alan Holtzheimer


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#6 kyjake

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Posted 28 January 2012 - 02:09 PM

Best idea might be to not use it at all as it dose nothing to improve anything but the looks of the wine and may reduce flavor.
Jake.I never use any clearing agent,all my wine comes out clear.
Jake

#7 saramc

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Posted 28 January 2012 - 02:41 PM

Hot Mix Sparkolloid NF used AFTER bentonite fining will help with compacting of the lees. Just review the info here http://www.scottlab....roduct-204.aspx

I have not used any finings other than in the 3 kits I made and have had NO issues with clearing or brilliancy. It just some time and the right conditions.

Is there a particular reason you want to use bentonite, is it overly tannic, have off flavors, too yeasty, hazy? Or are you just experimenting with it?
~Sara~ Made 71.5 gallons of wine in 2011--my first year in winemaking & I loved every minute of it!!
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#8 Calamity Cellars

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Posted 28 January 2012 - 02:42 PM

Best idea might be to not use it at all as it dose nothing to improve anything but the looks of the wine and may reduce flavor.
Jake.I never use any clearing agent,all my wine comes out clear.
Jake


You are absolutely right, if clarity and protein instability are not issues for you then this step is a waste of time, money, and may possibly strip the wine of flavor or aroma.

Alan Holtzheimer


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#9 Calamity Cellars

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Posted 28 January 2012 - 02:48 PM

I don't add bentonite for clarity primarily. My main reason is protein stability. My Calamity Cellars 2009 Riesling (The year before I went commercial) won hardware at the Winemakers Magazine competition but a couple months later developed floating snot strings. The cause was not removing excess unstable proteins which, by following the protocol I outlined in the other topic, you are sure are removed with the minimum bentonite addition. (BTW, I am not taking credit for developing that procedure, I just brought it to light in that thread.) A side benefit is that the wine clears extremely fast and I am able to get it in a bottle in a matter of months.

Alan Holtzheimer


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#10 saramc

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Posted 28 January 2012 - 02:53 PM

And bentonite can also help improve an overly tannic or yeasty wine....in addition to assisting with clarity (which is what most people associate bentonite with).
~Sara~ Made 71.5 gallons of wine in 2011--my first year in winemaking & I loved every minute of it!!
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#11 mattwine

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Posted 28 January 2012 - 03:28 PM

As far as I know, all wineries use some type of fining agent, mostly bentonite because of the protein stability that it takes care of. Also, it speeds up the clearing of the wine because they need to get their whites and blush wines out to the stores
in a short amount of time.

#12 Scott^S

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Posted 28 January 2012 - 03:50 PM

In my fruit wines bentonite is the first thing I add to the primary. I put about a 1/2 inch of very warm water in the bottom of the primary and then slowly sprinkle the bentonnite in while swirling the water around until it desolves. Then I add everything else. This seems to work very well for me. I read somewhere that by doing it this way, as the wine ferments, the gases keeps carrying the bentonite to the top with it, and then it settles back to the bottom taking more particals with it each time. A little bit of bentonite goes a long way by doing it this way and doesn't effect the flavor as much. This is also the way some kits do it, that's where I learned about it first. I haven't had any haze problems and haven't had to use any other fining agents sense I started doing this.
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