Clearing A Cloudy Wine…

Winemaker Clear A Cloudy WineWhat can I use to remove the cloudiness in my wine. Can you help? I’ve strained the wine 2 times and it is still cloudy.

Thanks John
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Hello John,

What needs to be determined is, “why is the wine cloudy“? Is it from pectin cells in the fruit? Is it from suspended yeast cells? Is it from starches in the fruit? Or, is it because the wine simply needs more time to clear up?

In any case, the cause of the cloudiness needs to be determined before you can take any action. Anything less is just taking a stab at the issue. Determine why the wine is cloudy then take appropriate actions.

The first thing that should be done is a specific gravity reading should be taken with a wine hydrometer. This will tell you if the wine has completed its fermentation. If the specific gravity is .996 or less, this would indicate that the wine fermentation has finished. If the specific gravity is above .996 but not fermenting then you have a stuck fermentation and you need to determine why it is stuck.

Shop BentoniteIf the wine is still fermenting, even slightly, this would most likely be the cause of the cloudiness. In this case, just let the wine finish fermenting. Be a little patient and the wine will most likely clear in due time.

If the wine hydrometer has indicated that the wine has completed its fermentation, you will want to see if the top half of the batch is more clear than the bottom half. If so, this would indicate that the wine just needs a few more days to clear up. After a wine has completed fermenting it usually needs a week or two to clear up. Most homemade wine instructions will indicate this time period.

If you’re sure it’s been more than two weeks since the wine has completed fermenting, and it’s still cloudy, then it may be time to start using wine making products such as fining or clearing agents.

Treating the wine with bentonite would be the first step I would suggest. It’s an effective fining agent that most likely will solve your problem completely. But, if you see only marginal improvement, you should switch to Sparkolloid for a second treatment. In general, Sparkolloid will take out what bentonite doesn’t and vice versa.Shop Sparkolloid

If the bentonite clears the wine almost completely, but there’s still a slight murkiness, then you should switch to a polishing clarifier such as our Kitosol 40. You might want to check out the article, Using Finings To Improve Your Wine. It will give you more detail about fining agents and other wine making products you can use to clear your wine.

Happy Wine Making
Ed Kraus
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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.

28 thoughts on “Clearing A Cloudy Wine…

  1. I made a blueberry wine. waited for the fermentation to stop. which was 6 weeks. Racked it 4 times. added concentrated grape juice and wine conditioner before bottling. It was in the the bottles for 1week and started fermentation. I than opened all bottles into a bucket and added potassium sorbate and camppen tablets.Should i bottle now or wait until it stops working?

  2. It’s important to make sure the wine has completed its fermentation. Just as important, the wine needs to be completely clear before bottling.

  3. My first batch of Chardonnay cleared nicely. To try to maintain that beautiful clarity I racked to another vessel for bottling. As you might guess a tiny bit of sediment got stirred up and made its way to the bottling bucket. Now there is a very slight haze to the wine. Next time I do this I want to rack the wine before bottling and then let it sit for another week to allow any transferred sediment to settle. Is this a good idea?
    Pete

  4. Peter, you have to be aware of the negative effects that too much air exposure can have on a wine at this stage of the process. If there is very little head space in the bottling bucket, then okay. But if there is air space in the bucket, I would be hesitant to keep the Chardonnay in there for any extended period of time.

  5. Love reading your tips & tricks,,, new at this, had great success at making beer, rather drink my beer than bought brands, Internet such a great tool… thanks again, 6months in & learning.

  6. i have pectrin haze in my sloe wine i,ve pectrolase to clear it but i,ts only made a slight differance could you please tell me what to do next.

  7. Mr. Geoff Hey, if the wine truly does have a pectin haze problem, there is little more you can do other than add a pectic enzyme of some kind. Realize, that the pectolase you added will not work fast. It will require some time, so all you may need is a little more patience.

  8. I aged my Blackberry wine for 6 months used a pressure filter then bottled clear wine, now after 2 months tiny particles in bottom of bottle

  9. Jerry, it sounds like your wine is experience acid precipitation. This is when there is more acid in the wine than the wine can hold, so it crystallizes and drops out. It is something that is created after filtration. There is a lot more information about this in the following article on our website:

    Maintaining Temperature Stability In Your Wines
    http://www.eckraus.com/wine-making-stabilization/

  10. was making some huckleberry wine moved it to the carboy I added some camdon tablets thought I messed up because it quit fermenting so added more yeast n sugar its been 2 months quit burping so bottled it, but shook it a little 2 make sure it was finished fermenting now its cloudy n has a yeast smell should I start all over or what? beginner n OR

  11. Bev, it sounds like the wine never finished fermenting, and now it is fermenting in the wine bottles. Be very, very careful. Your wine bottles could be building up pressure, to the point where they could start exploding or popping corks. Assuming this is the case, you need to put all the wine back into a fermenter and let it finish the fermentation. Having a hydrometer to take readings would tell you if the fermentation has finished or not. If you do not have one, I would suggest that you get one.

  12. My wine is from red grapes. my hydrometer reading is 1000.00 today. I started this wine on 9/28/13, it has been fermenting since then. I just syphoned it into a smaller carboy for less air space. I don’t plan to bottle for at least 6 more mths. It is very cloudy, how can I clear this up? It also taste very strong, bitter like nail polish, any suggestions for sweetening?

  13. Shirleann, it is extremely likely that your wine is turning to vinegar. Alcohol fermentations are normally finished in a few days, not months, so any activity you’ve been seeing this year is probably not from the yeast, but rather, vinegar bacteria (acetobacter) turning the alcohol into vinegar. These fermentations can continue for months if not years. Another classic tell that your wine is turning to vinegar is the nail polish odor. This is precisely what a vinegar fermentation smells like. At this point there is nothing you can do. You can not reverse what has happened, and it is not likely that you would want to drink the wine. Vinegar fermentations can be avoided by using sulfites such as Campden tablets or potassium metabisulfite in the wine, and by sanitizing your equipment and containers with a sanitizer such as our Basic A.

    Campden Tablets
    http://www.eckraus.com/campden-tablets-100.html

    Potassium Metabisulfite
    http://www.eckraus.com/8-oz-potassium-metabisulfite.html

    Basic A
    http://www.eckraus.com/no-rinse-cleanser.html

  14. Thank you for the ‘Clearing a Cloudy Wine’ answer. It is just the question I was going to ask. Looks like need to be more patient.

  15. I have two cases of bottles that are 4/5 quart. The zork corks or standard corks will not fit in the bottle. What type of cort would be the best to use?

    • Kenneth, that is not enough information. What size is the opening? A standard wine bottle would have a 3/4″ opening, as an example. Do the bottles have threads? What came in them originally? …any information you can give us to us help you.

  16. I made a Chardonnay in Sept 2014, 5 gallons. It was VERY cloudy. I let it sit for five months until it finally cleared. I filter my wine before bottling. It won a Bronze Medal at the Corrado’s (Clifton, NJ) annual wine tasting show.

  17. Hi my chardonnay was ready for bottling and crystal clear but as I’m. Putting it into an oak barrel I wanted to rack off as much sediment as possible and now the wine is cloudy again, will it clear by itself with a bit of time before I transfer it or will I have to add more finings?

  18. I have a peach wine that has a vinegar taste. It has finished fermenting and the gravity is .990. It has been racked once. Has the wine spoiled?

    • Martha, if your wine has turned to vinegar, unfortunately there is nothing that you can do to reverse it. You can prevent more from forming by adding campden tablets. I would take a look at the article posted below that discusses vinegar formation in more detail. It will also advise you how to prevent it from happening.

      Vinegar
      http://www.eckraus.com/home-wine-making-vinegar

  19. I used a pellet type of hops in my Chardonnay and it will not clear. It reads on the hydrometer as done but it’s been weeks and not much has changed.

  20. Hey there,

    So this is my first time making wine. I have a batch of wild plum wine going right now. It appears to have stopped fermentation for several weeks. (I haven’t had the chance to bottle sooner…) But the wine was clear and seemed ready to go. Well, then I added 1/4 teaspoon potassium metabisulfate and 2.5 teaspoons of potassium sorbate. I mixed it is about 1/2 cup of clean water. The sorbate dissolved completely, there was a tiny bit of the metabisulfate that didn’t completely dissolve. So I added some of the wine from the carboy to it to help so it wouldn’t get watered down. Well, the mixture got instantly cloudy. I stirred and stirred. But added it to the wine anyways. I mixed it into the wine for about a minute, as the instructions said. It has been about 36 hours and the carboy is still cloudy. Is there anything I can do? Will it still be okay to bottle? Where did I mess up?

    Thanks for the insight!

    • Ian, when you say that it appeared to have completed fermentation, did you actually take a hydrometer reading to confirm this? For various reasons the fermentation can become stuck before actually completing. It is possible that you wine has started fermenting again and that is why it is cloudy. You do not want to bottle the wine until it is completed and cleared. There are a couple of other reasons that can cause a clear wine to turn cloudy. The following article will discuss this further.

      Cloudy Wine
      http://www.eckraus.com/blog/cloudy-wine

      • Thanks for the reply. No I didn’t get to do a hydrometer reading… But now that I put the sorbate and metabisulfate in wine already, I’m not sure what to do next. It should have killed any yeast remaining right?

        • Ian, actually there is nothing you can add that will guarantee to permanently stop a fermentation that did not complete. Potassium sorbate is not used to stop a fermentation. In fact, it is not very effective at stopping a fermentation at all. Sulfites or campden tablets are not capable of reliably killing enough of the wine yeast to guarantee a complete stop of the activity, at least not at normal doses that leave the wine still drinkable. Your best bet is to let it finish before bottling. You may need to add more yeast or even better add a yeast start to complete the process.

  21. I haven’t been making wine very long. Beer was always my thing and still is. my grandpa , and aunt made it for years. I liked it but the process was to long for me. I decided to try it last year. It takes way longer than I thought to pick 8 qrts of dandelion. I Didn’t do much research. Beer needs to breath just a little. Wine dose not. Battery acid is what I would compare it to. After some research, I didn’t bring any home from the company Christmas party. I’m drawing off some strawberry in a few days it looks like it will take a while to clear. If it decides not to, is it a bad idea to filter it. If not what would be the best filter? Thank you for your time.

    • Mike, which filter you purchase would depend on how much wine you make and how much you want to spend. Remember a filter is not for clearing a cloudy wine but for adding more polish to an already clear wine. If your wine is not clearing check you hydrometer because the wine will not begin to clear until the fermentation completes. If the hydrometer reading does indicate that the fermentation is complete and it still will not clear, I would try adding a fining agent such as Bentonite. Below we have included the links to a couple of article i think you will find helpful.

      Cloudy Homemade Wine
      http://www.eckraus.com/blog/how-do-you-clear-cloudy-homemade-wine
      http://www.eckraus.com/blog/cloudy-wine

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