When Should I Filter My Wine?

Wine FiltersWhen should I filter my wine? I have a wine that is about 4 months old and I’m wondering if it is to early to filter it.
Hello Don,
When first learning how to make your own wine it is important that you don’t become too impatient, however since the wine has been bulk-aging for 4 months, I would say you’ve been patient enough. It would be fine to filter your wine at this time.
One of the more common wine making tips I share with beginning winemakers is:
“Never filter a cloudy wine. The wine should be done fermenting and look clear before filtering”.
You can verify that the wine is done fermenting by testing it with a wine hydrometer. You should be getting a test reading of .998 or less. For more information about this you may want to take a look at the article, “Getting To Know Your Hydrometer” listed on our website.
A wine filter is not designed to remove visible particles from a wine. A wine filter is designed to take out very fine particles, smaller than the human eye can see. This gives the wine a beautiful, polished appearance. It brightens the wine.
With this in mind, it is important to make sure that all the sediment that can fall out of the wine on its own has done so, otherwise the extremely fine filter pads that are used in the wine filter will clog up very quickly.
Shop BentoniteIf you are making wine from wine concentrates, the sediment will fall out fairly easily on its own in a week or two, but if you are making wine from fresh grapes or some other fruit, getting all the sediment to drop out can sometimes be challenging. For this reason, it is suggest that you treat the wine with bentonite before filtering.
Speedy bentonite is a fining agent that will help speed up the natural falling-out of the sediment so you can filter your wine sooner and more efficiently. To learn more about fining agents you may want to reading the article, “Using Finings To Improve Your Wine“.
You will also want to rack the wine off the sediment before filtering the wine. This will eliminate the chance of drawing sediment into the wine filter.
There is another, more simple, way to answer the question: When should I filter my wine? Filter the wine when it is ready to be bottled. Make it the last step the wine goes through before it is put to rest in the bottle. There is no advantage to filter the wine before that time.
Happy Wine Making,
Ed Kraus
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.

11 thoughts on “When Should I Filter My Wine?

    • Yes, filtering runs a risk of oxidation. That is why it is recommended that a tsp of Ascorbic acid (vitamin C) be added to the carboy of filtered wine. It is an antioxidant.

  1. Michael, any process that increases the surface contact of the wine to air will increase the likelihood of oxidation. Because of this we recommend that you add sulfites and bottle the wine directly after filtering.

      • Jamey, you will want to filter your wine before you back sweeten. Filtering after sweetening will clog your filter pads and may cause the filter to leak.

  2. I recently bottled a batch of strawberry wine. The entire process was totally uneventful and resulted in a very clear and flavorful wine of about 12 % alcohol. However, as the wine was late into the secondary fermentation the red color began to disappear resulting in a wine more resembling a white wine. The flavor was not affected, just the beautiful red color. I did use Bentonite and no filtration. What could have caused the color to vanish? I should note that this is the second time this has happened, both when using fresh strawberries.

  3. My father from the old country use to go by the moon phases. When it was time to rack. Do you do that

    • John, I’m sure there are some winemakers that do, but it is not something I practice or know anything about.

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