Fining can be used to clarify and soften wines. Fining is the process of clarifying and stabilizing a wine. A fining agent is mixed in to bind with particles suspended in wine that would make it appear cloudy when poured into a glass. Since fining agents are slightly heavier than wine, the bound particles precipitate out and settle to the bottom of the tank. Sometimes you might fine a wine to clean it up if it is cloudy, other times you might wish to soften the wine.
Okay, so your wine in barrel and received some email saying “do you know what we’d really like to get into bottle and have that next Thursday”. So what’s going to happen here is that what we are going take the wine from the barrel gently in the gravity move it to a 300 liter tapping tank which got a floating lid that floats on top of it. We’re going to be tasting at that time and then we might find that the wine needs--it’s a little bit roar, it’s got some ages or some tannin particularly for red wine. But the tannins are a bit course and aggressive and that sort of scenario we would take a sample of the wine and we would sit in the bar tree and maybe do a little fining trial which is the addition of an agent that will take away some of that course tannin. Usually it stings like skimmed milk batter or egg whites and they’ve been used for thousands of years, but they’re proteinacious fining agents. What they are is basically protein change. We add it to the barrel or to the tank and it settles totally to the bottom of the barrel. What that does is it softens the wine, takes away the age, that roughness and that rawness. And it might be 1 egg white per barrel or 2 or 3 or 4. One to two egg whites per barrel is the standard addition required quite a tannic wine. Three to four is a very tannic wine where you decline wants to soften it off to make it more fruit forward and maybe the oaks got a little bit too large. Generally through a tasting throughout a year will be out to match that so not very many of our wines do get fining, unless it’s the case of a white wine. White wine requires 2 types of fining. Number 1, there is a bentonite addition which provides us with protein fining. White wines have protein in them and because you can see through a white wine, if we do not remove that protein and bentonite which is a very fine but specialized clay, we add that to the wine it settles totally as well. And while it’s settling, it will actually take the protein with it. If we don’t add bentonite, there is a possibility that 4 or 5 or 6 months down the track, the wine will become very finely hazy. And that haze will be from very fine small protein change. They’ll be floating around and as they get older, and it’s actually called light chalk, as light that joins this 2 together and as this change get bigger, you can start to see them and they do drop out. The second addition that we do is if there’s a little bit too much of tannin. Maybe the grapes, if it is sauvignon or chardonnay, picked up a little bit too much skin tannin, the oak is a little bit raw, we may use other fining agents. Again, skimmed milk, or icing glass which is actually a very concentrated form of protein, we might add that to the wine and again it settles to the bottom as it does take away that phenolic finish. As a client, you’ll be tasting your wines and you get to see them. Generally maybe 2 or 3 percent of that wine do require fining but with pretty well on top of most of them, white of course is safe best add bentonite if you don’t want them to go hazy later on the bottle.