Eggshells Cure Cloudy Wine
In today’s bacteria-phobic society people have become afraid of raw eggs, but I will boldly defend the integrity of the the fresh eggs from my hens, and the local free-range eggs produced by several of my neighbors. Because I have these excellent eggs, I decided to follow the general technique described by Vargas & Gulling:
“Our ancestors had an inexact but rather effective way of dealing with cloudy wine. They dried a broken eggshell in the oven for a few seconds and then dropped it into the wine. Many modern commercial wineries include albumen – egg whites – among their collection of fining agents. Some of that substance may remain on the eggshell, and the shell itself absorbs impurities (sometimes, unfortunately, including color). So if all else fails, try the eggshell treatment.”
I did this by washing a fresh egg very well. I cracked the egg into a bowl, and put both halves of the un-rinsed eggshell in a 300 degree oven for one minute. Then I crumbled the sticky eggshell into the gallon of cloudy apple wine, where it floated to the bottom.
A few hours later nothing had changed, but five days later the eggshells had risen to the top, coated with a brown scum. The cleared apple wine sparkled with a golden color, except for a sizeable cloud of sediment studded with eggshells at the bottom. I racked it, waited a month, and bottled the batch.
It was wonderful wine! I have since tried the method with a batch of pear-raspberry wine with good success, so it's a simple wine making skill worth knowing.
Home winemakers are eternal optimists.