After I bottle my wines, I'm getting a small amount of sediment in the wine bottles after about a month. Talking to several people about this, they say I'll probably always have this unless I start filtering my wine. I don't make a lot of wine so it is hard to justify buying a pressure wine filtering system.
My question is how do coffee filters compare with the wine filters you sell with your pressure filtering system for effectiveness on removing sediment? Or is there something else I could try? I use a clearing agent and my wine usually sets about 5 months before I bottle it.
Thanks in advance for any information you can give me.
To answer your question, coffee filters do not compare to a pressurized wine filter. The typical coffee filter will filter down to somewhere around 20 microns. That's about half the size of a human hair. A typical wine filter can filter down to a 1/2 micron. That is 40 times finer than the coffee filter.
How fine a wine filter can filter holds true regardless if you're using our less elaborate Pressurized Wine Filter System or our more professional SuperJet wine filter system. The difference between the two is speed, not how well the are able to filter a wine.
A second area of concern with using a coffee filter is oxidation. If a wine is exposed to excessive air this can cause a browning and other oxidative effect on the wine. This is because when using a coffee filter to filter wine there is a lot of air exposure. This is do to the slow nature of filtering wine without pressure and the fact that the wine has to drip and splatter.
Now lets talk about the sediment in your wine and the most likely causes and solutions for this type of problem.
Your friends are completely wrong when suggesting that you will need to tolerate this sediment if you don't filter. Filtering is never a necessity to a visually clear wine. In fact, wine filters are not designed to clear a cloudy looking wine, they are design to make a clear looking wine become more brilliant and polished in appearance. Attempting to filter a visibly cloudy wine will only clog the pads in a matter of a gallon or two of wine.
Sediment in the wine bottle is usually caused by one of two things: Either it is wine yeast is still settling out of the wine, and it just hasn't had enough time to do so. Or, it could be a precipitation of some sort that is occurring after the wine has been bottled.
Precipitation means particle are developing out of thin air, so to speak... liquid in this case. Precipitation is most common when making a homemade grape wine.
In the first case the solution is simple: either speed up the dropping out of sediment with fining agents such as bentonite or Sparkolloid, or wait longer before you bottle. Wine yeast is as fine as flour so gravity can take some time to drag it to the bottom.
You stated that you let your wines set for around 5 months before bottling, so this is not likely to be the cause in your particular issue.
In the second case, things can be a little more tricky. When we say a precipitation of some sort is occurring in your wine, what we are really saying is your wine is unstable. Not unstable in the sense that it is still fermenting, but in the sense that change can potentially still occur in the wine.
The two most to common forms of precipitation in a wine comes from tannin proteins and excess acid. A temperature change of the wine can cause either to occur. If the wine becomes warmer than before tannin may drop out. If the wine becomes cooler than before acid may drop out. This is known as temperature stability, or the lack of, as the case may be.
Tannin will show up as a dusty, caked deposit. Acid will show up as salty or sugary looking crystals. There are tests and treatments you can do to a wine before bottling to make sure these deposits are kept in check.
To read more about stabilizing your wine you may want to take a look at the the article, Maintaining Temperature Stability In Your Wine, listed on our website. This article goes over how to do simple tests to determine if your wine has a temperature stability problem, and if so, how to go about resolving the issue.
I would like to point out at this time that if you are making a wine from homemade wine kits like our California Connoisseur, KenRidge Classic or any other brand, temperature stability is not your problem. All of these type of homemade wine kits, regardless of what brand you get or where you get it, have been stabilized for you ahead of time. So if you are getting deposits in the wine bottle with these wine kits you should suspect wine yeast deposits as the issue.
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.