Sanitizing Wine Making Equipment

Winemaker Sanitizing Wine Making EquipmentI have a wine instruction book that says to use ammonia for sanitizing wine making equipment. I have some beer instructions that say to use bleach. I understand that is dangerous to use both. But is there a reason for the difference, or can I just use ammonia, or just use bleach.

Name: Ken L.
State: California
Hello Ken,

I got to be honest with you. I wouldn’t use either one to sanitize wine making equipment.

There are so many excellent cleaners and sanitizers on the market today for the home winemaker to use – cleaners and sanitizers that are both safer and easier to use. It’s come to a point that sanitizing wine making equipment with bleach or ammonia seem almost ridiculous.

I used to use bleach all the time to sanitize my wine making equipment back in the 80’s. There were old wine making books on the subject out there that recommended doing so, but what I found is that bleach is a big hassle that requires contact time and lots and lots of rinsing.

Chlorine likes to cling to surfaces, so one rinsing is not usually enough. I have not ever used ammonia to sanitize bottles or equipment, but I can’t imagine it to be much better.

Today, there are sanitizers that are very quick and easy to use. Some only require you get your equipment wet with it. Then allow it to air-dry. In fact, the air-drying is when all the sanitizing is actually being done with these sanitizers. It’s an oxidative process that occurs as the solution evaporates. No rinsing required. They are much safer because they are oxidative, becoming completely innocuous with a little time.Shop Basic A No-Rinse Cleanser

I would suggest using a product called Basic A No-Rinse Cleanser to sanitize all your fermenters and other wine making equipment. As the name suggest it is a no-rinse cleaner and the one I like the best for sanitizing my equipment.

For sanitizing wine bottles I use sodium metabisulfite instead of the Basic A No-Rinse Cleanser. This is essentially because evaporation can not happen efficiently within the confines of a wine bottle – something that Basic A needs to do to work.

Sodium metabisulfite approaches sterilization a little differently. You mix up the solution as directed on the container and put about two inches in the bottom of each wine bottle and allow them stand up-right for about 20 minutes. Unlike the Basic A, the fumes rising off the solution is what does the sterilizing in this case.

One of the beauties of using sodium metabisulfite is that the wine bottles do not need to be rinsed at all. They just need to be drained. Whatever remains in the bottles asShop Bottle Washer droplets or condensation is fine and will not hurt or affect the wine in any way. We have a great product for draining these wine bottles called a Bottle Tree.

Ken, if you still insist on sanitizing wine making equipment with bleach or ammonia, I would stick with the bleach. Use 1/4 cup to 1 gallon of water. Allow 20 minutes of contact time. Then rinse 3 times. The rinsing is the most important part.

Happy Winemaking,
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.

3 Tips For Making Fruit Wine With More Fruit Flavor

Getting More Fruit In Homemade WineI recently entered a homemade blackberry wine into a judging contest. I did ok but two judges said my wine needed more fruit flavor. I used the wine recipe from Kraus. Do I need to add more fruit at the beginning of the fermentation? How do I get more fruit flavor in my wine. I usually make 5 gallons at a time.

Name: Thomas S.
State: Tennessee
Hello Thomas,

Thanks for the great question! Flavor is a subjective topic. One person’s perception of a wine can be completely different from another’s. In fact, two of the tips I’m going to give you for getting more flavor in your fruit wine (number 2 and 3) are based on perception and not reality:

  • Tip #1: Use more fruit – just as you suggested. This will also require you to add less acid blend than called for in the wine recipe. The reason for this is that more fruit acid is being provided by the fruit. An acid test kit may be the best way for you to tell how much acid blend is needed. The additional fruit will also provide more sugar to the wine must. You will want to use a hydrometer to know how much to add. This brings use to the next tip for getting more fruit flavor in your wine.
  • Tip #2: Make your wines with less alcohol. Lower alcohol wines tend to have more fruit flavor. High-alcohol wines numb the tongue, making flavor sensations tougher to experience. This wine can take on a watered-down characteristic. Instead of making your wines at 13%, 14%, or higher, try making them around 10% or 11%. Controlling your wine’s alcohol level is easily done by adding less sugar to the wine must. Again, a hydrometer is your friend in this situation. Add sugar to the wine must until the hydrometer gives you a potential alcohol reading in the 10% to 11% range.Shop Hydrometers
  • Tip #3: Back-sweeten the wine at bottling time. Don’t make your wine bone dry. When you pop a blackberry into your mouth, a lot of what makes a blackberry taste like a blackberry is it’s sweetness. The fermentation takes all that sweetness away by fermenting the sugars into alcohol. Sweetening the wine back just a little bit can give the perception of the wine having more fruit flavor. You don’t necessarily have to make the wine sweet. Use just enough sugar to take the bone-dry edge off the wine can make quite a difference. It is important that you stabilize the wine by adding potassium sorbate when sweetening. This will help to eliminate any chance of a re-fermentation in the bottle.


There are a couple of caveats that need to be brought up.

  1. Adding more fruit to increase the wines fruit flavor means that it will need more time to age. Bigger, bolder wines are more harsh when they are first fermented. Aging plays a more important role in mellowing the harshness of these big wines.
  1. Shop Potassium SorbateThere is a limit to how much you can increase the fruit in a wine recipe. The limit is based on the acidity or tartness of the particular fruit being used. You do not want to add so much fruit that the wine ends up being too tart even without adding any acid blend, at all.

So Thomas, there you have it… three simple things you can do to get more fruit flavor into your homemade fruit wines. You can try just one of them, or you can try all three at the same time, on the same wine.

Happy Winemaking,
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.

Should I Be Adding Sulfites Before Bottling?

Bottling Wine With SulfitesI made an apple cider and a apple/blueberry cider. Both are in the aging process  (4 months before bottling). I have the apple cider in a 5 gal. oak keg and the blueberry on in a 5 gal. carboy. Should I be adding sulfites before bottling the wine?

Name: Mike in NY
State: NY
Hello Mike,

If you are aging your wine in bulk, such as a carboy or oak wine barrel, we recommend treating the wine with potassium metabisulfite before the aging. So hopefully you’ve already treated it with some form of sulfite. This is to keep oxidation and spoilage down while in the bulk aging vessel.

Regardless if you have or not, we also recommend adding sulfites before bottling. This dose is to keep the oxidation and spoilage down while the wine is in the wine bottle. Sulfites want to leave as SO2 gas over time and during rackings, so it does need to be replenished at various stages. Here is more information about when to add sulfites to a wine.

Also at bottling time, you may also want to add potassium sorbate. This will also help to stop any type of organism from multiplying and spoiling your cider. Potassium sorbate is mandatory if you plan or sweetening back your cider before bottling, or there are still sugars in the wine leftover from the fermentation. Not adding it in these situations could result in a re-fermentation in the wine bottle. This would lead to either popping wine corks, or worse yet, exploding wine bottles.Shop Potassium Metabisulfite

Since your are making apple wine/cider I will also mention this: we also recommend adding ascorbic acid to help battle the oxidation issue when using apple juice. Apple juice/wine likes to turn brown very easy. Ascorbic acid will help to slow down the process and keep your cider looking pretty. The optimal time to add this is right before fermentation, but right now is better than never.

If you’d like to read a little more on this subject, you may want to take a look at Adding Campden Tablets To Homemade Wine. This is another post on this blog.

Adding sulfites before bottling is arguably the most import addition. It is the last time you will be able to do anything directly to the wine to keep it, so don’t skip it.shop_potassium_sorbate

Happy Winemaking,
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.

How Many Cans Of Fruit Wine Base Should I Use In My Wine Recipe?

Fruit Wine Base For Wine MakingI would like to buy a kit, but would prefer to make a fruit wine.  So I’m planning on buying the Your Fruit! Wine Making Kit and then buying the County Fair Fruit Wine Base.  I’m confused about the number of cans (46 oz) I need or want… the catalog suggests using 2-4 cans.  So I guess my question is:  What changes when you add more fruit wine base?

Thank you very much for your time. I’m really exited to start making wine!

– Holly
Hello Holly,

Thank you for this much needed blog question about fruit wine bases.

The primary difference you will notice between using two cans of County Fair Fruit Wine Base in your wine recipes and four cans is the body. The more cans you use, the more body the wine will have. If you don’t know what body means, it can best be described as the mouth-feel of the wine – the viscosity of the wine. Another way to look at it is to think of the difference between whole milk and skim milk.

There are other secondary differences as well. When using less cans in your wine recipes you get a more crisp, refreshing wine. When you use more cans you get a more robust, assertive wine. A crisp wine is more refreshing or thirst quenching. Some might call it a summer wine. A robust wine might be something you would drink with dinner. With a robust wine the flavors tend to linger on the palate longer, competing very well with the flavors of the meal.

Shop Fruit Wine BasesSomething else that should be pointed out is that wines made with two cans of fruit wine base will age out more quickly than wines made with four cans of the fruit wine base. A two can wine recipe might peak in 4 or 5 months, whereas a four can wine recipe might peak around a year. This is all very subjective, so each persons impression of these wines might vary, but on average this is true.

I hope this answers your questions. It’s a matter of style and the type of wine you like to drink. Many people assume that four cans of the County Fair fruit wine base will taste twice as good as two in their wine recipes, but this is not necessarily true. It will have the characters described earlier, but whether or not it makes it better is a matter of personal tastes.

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.

Why Do Some Wine Recipes Call For Pectic Enzyme?

Fermentation Using Pectic EnzymeThis is Greg again with another question.  I have been making wine with your concentrated homemade wine kits for several years and have had a lot of fun for sure.  I would like to make apple wine…  saw the apple recipe you have on your website.  It looks a lot like making wine from concentrate.  The only thing I do not understand is the pectic enzyme. What is the purpose of adding pectic enzyme to a wine?

Dear Greg,

Pectic enzyme is called for in almost all wine recipes that use fresh fruit. The recipes you see in books like The First Steps In Wine Making and the wine recipes on our website will all call for pectic enzymes. However, you do not need to add it to wines made from concentrated homemade wine kits, like the ones you have been making wine with. This is because the necessary pectic enzyme has already been added to the concentrate by the wine kit producer.

The purpose of using pectic enzyme in wine making is twofold:

  • First and foremost, pectic enzyme helps to break down the fruit’s fiber or pulp. This allows more flavor and color to be extracted from whatever fruit is being used during the fermentation.
  • Shop Pectic EnzymeSecondly, it helps to make sure the wine has a clearer, more translucent, appearance after the fermentation has completed and the wine has had ample time to clear up.

Pectic enzyme accomplishes both of these tasks by breaking down the pectin cells in the fruit. Pectin is the gelatinous material that holds together the strands of fiber found within fruits such as strawberry or grape. It is also the “stuff” that makes apple sauce thick and cloudy.

By breaking down these pectin cells, the fruit’s pulp becomes less thick. This allows more of the fruit’s character to be released during fermentation or even when running the pulp through the grape presses. Because pectin is somewhat opaque, if it isn’t sufficiently broken down during the fermentation, the resulting wine will have a pectin haze. For the most part, this type of defect is not correctable once the fermentation is complete.

When making wine from concentrated homemade wine kits, the flavor and color extraction has already been taken care of for you. No pulp is involved and Pectic enzyme is not necessary. It’s one more variable that these kits take out of the equation so that you can be a successful home wine maker.

shop_wine_pressSo as you can start to see there is a reason for adding pectic enzyme to a wine. Pectic enzyme has a purpose. It helps to extract more color and flavor from the fruit, and it helps to insure that the resulting wine is clear.

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.

7 Wine Making Ingredients You Should Have On Hand!

Assorted Wine Making FruitsMay is here; Spring has sprung; and Summer is on its way. Time to stock up on your basic wine making ingredients.

It looks like it’s going to be a great year for fruits in most regions of our nation. It won’t be long before a cornucopia of fruit will be in season and ready for your wine making pleasure: blackberries, raspberries, blueberries, watermelon…

By stocking up on just a few, key wine making ingredients you’ll be ready for any type of fruit that may end up coming your way. You won’t need each ingredient in every recipe, but you’ll need most of them in all recipes.

Except for the wine yeast, just get one container of each. With the yeast you’ll want to have a variety of three or four different types to have on hand. Stock these wine making ingredients, and you’ll be ready for anything:

  • Yeast Nutrient – Just like it sounds, this wine making ingredient is nutrient for the yeast. It helps to invigorate the wine yeast and get it fermenting more quickly.
  • Yeast Energizer – A combination of Yeast Nutrient, vitamins and proteins. It is used for wines that lack the types of nutrients the wine yeast expect: Dandelion, honey, rose hips, etc.
  • Pectic Enzyme – Aids in pulling flavor from the fruit. It breaks down the fruits fiber so that more flavor will release. It also aid in the clearing of the wine.
  • Acid Blend – Brings the fruit acids up to a flavorful level. Any wine recipe that calls for water will need this wine making ingredient to bring the wine’s acidity up to a proper level.
  • Wine Tannin – Adds zests to the wine. It is the peel flavor of the fruit. Wine tannin also helps the wine clear and age properly.
  • Wine Yeast – This wine making ingredient is what actually turns the sugar into alcohol. There are several different types for various wines. I would recommend, at minimum, having some of the Red Star Montrachet and Pasture Blanc on hand.Shop Wine Making Kits
  • Campden Tablets – This is used to sanitize the juice and equipment. The tablets are crushed up and added to water to product a sanitizing solution that is safe and can be added directly to the wine to destroy any wild mold or bacteria.

You may also want to get Potassium Sorbate a.k.a. Wine Stabilizer. This is added to a wine if you decide you want to back sweeten it up before bottling. It keeps the residual wine yeast from fermenting the new sugars while in the bottle.

Recipes and Directions…
We have several wine recipes on our website for the more common fruits that utilize these wine making ingredients. We also have easy to follow wine making directions that are listed there as well. They will help you to stay on the right path.
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 Clear Should Wine Be Before Bottling?

Stable Clear Homemade WineI have 2 batches of fruit wine in the secondary ferment stage, soon to be in for 6 weeks. when it comes to clarity, how clear should wine be before bottling? and if not clear enough, is there a product I can put in it, or should I let it sit a little longer? Pear and peach.

Name: Mr. Sellers
State: Illinois
Mr. Sellers,

The short answer as to how clear your wine should be before you bottle is it should be crystal clear. It should look like a solid hunk of glass when in the wine bottle. There should not be any murkiness or cloudiness to the wine at all. Anything less is a compromise in the quality of the wine.

When you see a haze or cloudiness in a wine it is usually caused by yeast cells or particles still floating within the wine. The wine has not finished stabilizing or has not stopped fermenting.

The little packet of wine yeast that was added at the beginning will regenerate itself by about 100 to 150 times. That’s what you are are usually seeing when a wine doesn’t look clear. Wine yeast is finer than flour. Much finer than can be seen with the naked eye, but collectively it can give the wine this dull appearance.

If the wine is bottled in this condition you will typically end up with bottles of wine that will eventually have dusty deposits at the bottom and a yeasty, sulfur-like smell.shop_bentonite

If you are not sure if the wine is clear enough to be bottled, the obvious thing you can do is wait. Give the particles more time to drop out on their own. There is nothing wrong with waiting. The wine will age nicely in bulk. Patience can be a virtue in this situation, however if you are not so patient there are some things you can do to speed things along.

As far as to how to clear a wine, the first thing you can do is treat it with bentonite. This is a wine clarifier or fining agent that is commonly used among wineries. Many wineries will automatically add it to the wine directly after the fermentation has completed. Bentonite is effective in dropping out significant amounts of floating yeast, excessive tannins and other proteins. What it is not good at doing is putting a final, brilliant polish on the wine. This is the glassy-look I referred to earlier.

Shop Wine ClarifiersTo get a final polish, I would suggest using Kitosol 40. This is another fining agent that is particularly good at giving the wine a brilliant appearance, but unlike bentonite it is not good at dropping out large amounts of particles. This makes it a good partner to use after the bentonite — the yin to the yang so to speak.

When done the wine should look beautiful. It should have a pure look about it. If not an opaque wine, light should glisten and glimmer through it. This is how clear wine should be before bottling.

Hope this helps you out.

Best Wishes,
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.

Which Plastic Wine Fermenter Is Right For You?

Plastic Wine FermenterThere are pros and cons to using either plastic wine fermenters or glass wine fermenters in home winemaking.  Glass can be easier to clean and unlikely to scratch, while plastic is easier to manage due to its light weight and doesn’t cost as much.  It’s important to consider the pros and cons of both and then make the purchase decision that is right for you and your situation.  If you end up choosing plastic, which style do you choose?  There are a lot of different plastic wine fermenters out there, so here’s a quick breakdown of what’s out there.


Plastic Carboys:
The plastic carboy is a type of plastic wine fermenter that is ideal for secondary fermentations.  You can find these carboys in many different sizes, including 3 gallon, 5 gallon, and 6 gallon.  Depending upon how much wine you plan on making will determine the size of plastic carboy you need to purchase.  One major benefit of this fermenter is that if it gets knocked to the ground, it won’t smash to bits like a glass fermenter, saving you a lot of money and time.


Plastic Carboys with Barbed Faucets:
Carboy FaucetTaking the plastic carboy one step further, this plastic wine fermenter comes complete with a faucet that allows you to remove samples of wine from the carboy just as you would if you were sampling from the faucet of stainless steel tanks or oak barrels. The faucet can be more convenient than using a wine thief, with less potential risk of contamination.  Just as with standard plastic carboys, this fermenter comes in different sizes.


Plastic Collapsible Fermenting Jug:
Collabsible Fermenation JugThis plastic wine fermenter is fantastic for those odd sized or partial batches of wine.  All you have to do is put all the wine you wish to ferment in the jug, then collapse it down to get rid of the excess head-space left over.  This collapsible fermenter also comes in a couple different sizes, though remember, you can collapse the jug to any size you need for the small amount of wine that you nee to ferment.


Plastic Bucket Fermenter:
Plastic Primary FermenterThis final plastic wine fermenter is great for both primary and secondary fermentations.  It’s made of a heavy food grade high impact polyethylene material and has a air tight seal that allows you to ferment with or without the lid.  Similar to the plastic carboy with barbed faucet, this poly-fermenter also has a faucet that allows you to transfer or sample wine without a mess and without disturbing the sediment.


Tuff-Tank Plastic Wine Fermenter:
Tuff Tank 22 GallonFor those larger jobs you can get a 22 gallon Tuff-Tank. This plastic wine fermenter unique square design makes it perfect for handling those larger jobs in a small space. It’s footprint is 14″ by 14″. Its construction if very rigid and has a screw-on lid that seals air-tight.


There are a lot of options for plastic wine fermenters out there, so understanding which is best for your home winemaking practice will save you a lot of time, money, and headaches!
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.

Making Blended Fruit Wines

Berries For Making Blended Fruit WinesI am interested in blending a fruit wine with blackberries, blueberries and Concord grapes. Can you give me any input on a formula to use for 5 or 6 gallons. I’ve been ordering from Kraus for over 6 years and have had a lot of fun. Thank you for your input.

Name: Guy K.
State: PA
Hello Guy,

This is a question we get from time to time, and one I don’t mind answering again because it’s such a fun subject. A big part of the enjoyment of making your own wine is the ability to experiment and play around a little bit.

Guy, there are two ways you can go about making blended fruit wines:

  • The first is to make all the fruits into wines, separately. Then blend them together before bottling.
  • The second way is to find a wine recipes for each of the fruits you want to blend. Then combine them together  into one recipe that includes all the different fruits.

Making each fruit into a wine separately has some disadvantages. It’s more work. It’s a lot easier to make on 5 or 6 gallon batch than making three 2 gallon batches. You would be making three odd-sized batches. Not many home wine makers have the fermenters that are the right size for these smaller-sized batches.Shop Wine Making Kits

But blending fruit wines together after they have been made separately has one big advantage. You can blend the three wines together in any ratio you like. This will allow you to optimize your wine’s flavor. You can decide at bottling time how much of each individual wine to use. A series of taste-testings can help in this respect. You may decide on a ratio of 20-50-30 instead of 33-33-33.

Making all three fruits together as one batch it is a lot less work, but you are stuck with the ratio of fruit you used when starting your wine. Your wine will turn out either way, you’ll just have less control on the final product.

To make all three fruits together you need to have a wine recipe for each fruit. In your case, you need a blackberry wine recipe; a blueberry wine recipe; and a Concord wine recipe. Most of the wine recipes you’ll run across will be for 5 gallons. You could throw everything called for into one big fermenter and make a 15 gallon batch. Or, you could use one third of each wine recipe to make a 5 gallon recipe.

Cutting the batches down in size is a fairly straight-forward thing to accomplish. If you have three 5 gallon wine recipes, just use 1/3 of each ingredient called for in each of the three wine recipe to make a new 5 gallon wine recipe. It’s as simple as that.Shop Niagara Mist Wine Kits

If more than one type of wine yeast is recommend among the three wine recipes, just pick one and go with it. Do not try blending wine yeast.

Regardless of which method you choose for blending fruit wines, the most important thing is to have fun. Having blind taste-testings with friends over to help you figure out your blending ratio can be a blast. Or, come up with your own exotic blend of fruits that makes a punch of a wine — one you call your own. Either way making blended fruit wines is a blast.

Happy Winemaking,
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.

When To Add Pectic Enzyme To Your Wine!

Pectic Enzyme For WineCan I add pectic enzyme after the fermentation to clarify the wine? Is there a substitute or alternative I should use instead at this time?

Name: Paul D.
State: Idaho
Hello Paul,

Thanks for the great question. Some beginning winemakers get confused as to when to add pectic enzyme to their wines.

What Is Pectic Enzyme?
The first thing that needs to be understood is that pectic enzyme is not a fining agent or a wine clarifier for wine. It does not clear cloudy particles out of a wine after a fermentation like fining agents. Pectic enzyme is a protein that breaks down pectin in the fruit.

Pectin is the gelatinous material in fruit. It’s the stuff that holds the fruit’s fiber together. It is also the stuff that causes the resulting fruit juice to have the appearance of being cloudy. This is known as a pectin haze.

Once the fruit is crushed and pressed, not only does it release the juice, but it also releases the pectin. The pectin is a highly complex carbohydrate, refracting any light that hits it. This gives the fruit juice a cloudy appearance.

The pectic enzyme is a protein that is capable of breaking down the pectin cells into carbohydrates that are less complex – something that does not refract the light and give the juice a cloudy appearance. Essentially, the pectic enzyme causes a chemical change in the juice. It does not do anything to clear out a substances like a fining agent would; it changes the molecular structure of what’s there so that light my travel more cleanly through it.


When To Add Pectic Enzyme To Your Wine?
As for winemaking, the optimum time to add pectic enzyme is right after crushing the fruit and before pressing. By breaking down the pectin cells at this stage, you are allowing more juice to release from the fruit’s fiber – a good thing for making wine. If you are not the one doing the crushing and pressing, then the second best time to add pectic enzyme to your wine is at the beginning of the fermentation. This will allow the pectic enzyme to do its thing while the wine fermentation is occurring.Shop Wine Filters


Three Things To Note Here:

  1. Pectic enzyme comes in different strengths, so you are better off using the dosage recommended on the package it comes in instead of following the amount called for in your wine recipe.
  1. During a wine fermentation the wine yeast does produce some pectic enzyme of its own. This is why it is possible to have a clear wine without adding pectic enzyme, but you are playing cloudy roulette with your homemade wine by not adding it. Adding pectic enzyme to your wine gives you added insurance that you are going to have a clear-looking wine.
  1. If you do end up with a cloudy wine after the fermentation and you’ve already cleared out all the physical particles with a fining agent such as bentonite or isinglass, your options are few. Pectic enzyme is much more effective during a fermentation than after a fermentation. Your only hope is to add another full dose of pectic enzyme directly to the wine and give it time (sometimes months) to work on breaking down the pectin cells. If you did not add a dose of pectic enzyme at the beginning of fermentation, then you can add a double-dose, now. Pectic enzyme works much slower after a fermentation has completed.


Shop Wine KitsUnfortunately, there is no alternative or substitute for pectic enzyme. So if you think you need some, you’ll have to get some. Do not use gelatin from the store. It will not disperse as evenly and readily as gelatin offered by wine supply shops.

I hope I’ve answered your questions and given you a more complete understanding of what pectic enzyme is and what it does for the home winemaker. Just remember it is at the beginning of fermentation that you when you’ll want to add pectic enzyme to your wine. If that ship has sailed, you can add a double-dose of pectic enzyme after the fermentation.

If you’d like to read more you might want to take a look at Why Do Wine Recipes Call For Pectic Enzyme.

Happy Winemaking,
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.