I have been making wine from homemade wine kits for about a year now and have a question about the sediment just when I am ready to bottle the wine. Sometimes I do another rack back to my plastic fermenter to clear out some of the sediment; however, there is always a little in the bottom. Should I buy a wine filter or just siphon the wine down to the sediment and disregard the stuff? Is the wine filter designed to filter out wine sediment and to clarify cloudy wine?
At this point in the wine making process it is best to siphon down to the sediment and lose some of the wine. The loss should be very minimal at this point.
One thing you can do to help make the last siphoning (racking) more efficient is to slightly tilt the plastic fermenter before siphoning the wine. This will allow you to corner some of the wine and siphon more up. The sediment should not move with it, but rather, stay in place, stuck against the bottom.
You can get a wine filter and filter the wine, but these filters are not designed for taking out visible sediment. Their wine filter pads are extremely fine and will clog up quickly if there is very much sediment at all in the wine.
Wine filters are more designed toward taking a wine clear wine and adding a polish to it. Obviously, if there is just a light dusting in the bottom of the plastic fermenter this will not be a problem, but even if the wine looks only slightly murky, or if there is more than a dusting of sediment, you may not get a 6 gallon batch of wine through a single set of filter pads.
My final advice to you would be, when making wine with one of these homemade wine kits, expect to lose a little wine at the last racking. It shouldn’t be much, maybe a cup or so. If you want to get a wine filter system, then fine, go ahead, but don’t do it for the purpose of clearing out visible sediment. Do it to give the wine a more polished, brilliant appearance.
Happy Wine Making
Ed Kraus is a 3rd generation home brewer/winemaker and has been an owner of E. C. Kraus since 1999. He has been helping individuals make better wine and beer for over 25 years.
How To Handle That Last Bit Of Sediment
So, even though the directions for the wine making kit says to "filter" the wine, it is not necessary to do so?? Also, when steralizing the wine bottles, is it necessary to cover the top so the solution can work better?
John, even though I think a wine filter is a very good investment, most home winemakers do not use them and produce perfectly good wines. A wine filter will take a wine that looks perfectly clear and add even more brilliance to it, giving it more of a glassy appearance–something you’d want to share and pass out as gifts.
As to your second question, if you are using a sulfite solution of any kind to sanitize your wine bottles, you will want to keep a lid on the container. This would apply to potassium metabisulfite, sodium metabisulfite and Campden tablets. The fumes from the solution help to do the job just as much as the solution itself. And, if the container is left open over-night almost all of the strength of the solution will have dissipated.
What works great for me is using glass marbles. I do rack 3 or 4 times before bottling, therefore end up having to top off the carboys a few times. Rather than dilute the wine with water, I add marbles to top off. (Note that it takes roughly 2 quarts of marbles to equal 1 quart of liquid.) As long as I have a couple layers of marbles at the bottom of the carboy, the sediment is trapped by the marbles. Pour out sediment and any small amount of wine into a glass vase, let it sit a few hours and pour off any cleared wine at the top.