For the at-home wine maker
One way an at home winemakers can raise his/her wines to a higher level of perfection
is by employing the use of filtration. There are many improvements that can be made to a wine through filtration. One can enhance its appearance, shorten its aging time, lighten its body and color if so desired, or make the wine more stable, reducing the chance of re-fermentation while in the bottle.
Adding “polish and pizzazz” to a wine’s appearance is the number one reason wine entrepreneurs elect to filter their wines. Any wine can have its appearance remarkably improved with even the coarsest level
Coarse filtration can make a wine that already looks clear, become more radiant and brilliant than expected. It can take a particular wine one step beyond what is already visually okay. It adds a glassy, shiny and pure look to the wine that is simply appealing.
Performing filtrations with finer filters can shorten the time required for the wine to become fully mature. It does so by reducing the excess levels of tannic acid and other protein that are major causes f the harshness in young wines.
This finer filtration can also lighten the wine’s color and body slightly. This type of filtration would be appropriate for all white wines, many roses, blushes and most red wine.
There are also filtrations that can be performed on wines that are so fine as to render them almost sterile. This type of filtration can take a significant portion of the residual yeast out of the wine, making an accidental re-fermentation much less likely to occur.
There are two major categories of home wine filters: “Gravity
Feed” and “Pressurized” systems.
Gravity Feed Filtration:
Just as the name implies, these types of filter systems are performed with gravity as the only pressure. A gravity feed filter system only requires the at-home winemaker to start a siphon from the wine into the filtering unit.
These types of filter systems are very handy when filtering 1 or 2 gallons of wine at a time. This will perform a coarse filtration efficiently.
The disadvantages are that gravity feed systems are slower than pressurized systems taking an average of 30 to 45 minutes to filter 1 gallon of wine. They are also unable to perform finer filtration if need be.
Pressurized Filtering Systems:
These types of systems filter a wine by forcing it through filter pads under pressure. Some apply pressure through motorized pumps while others apply pressure manually through hand pumps. This is the most popular used technique used by wine makers.
While pressurized systems are more expensive than the gravity feed, they are capable of performing much finer filtrations if necessary, and do so at a higher rate of speed.
All pressurized filtering systems perform filtrations equally well. Even the finest filtration is no problem for any of these units. The main difference between them is speed. The more money a wine maker is willing to spend, the faster their filter system will be.Pressurized filtration systems can perform 1 gallon per 10 minutes all the way up to 1 gallon per minute.