Time cures many ills in the world of homemade wine, but it wasn’t helping with a 3-gallon batch of apple wine started in September 2010, using our Liberty apples. That apple wine would not clear, despite a move from basement to main floor to raise temperatures, and two extra rackings.
My time is in short supply right now, and Roger-the-wise pointed out that peasants have been drinking cloudy wine for centuries. I decided to bottle up two thirds of the batch, and subject one gallon to a selected fining procedure. In wine making, “fining” means using a substance or process to cause cloudy wine to clear by making fine particles drop out as sediment.
What Causes Cloudy Homemade Wines
In my home library, I found the best clues to my cloudy apple wine’s problem on Page 28 of Making Wild Wines & Meads, by Pattie Vargas & Rich Gulling. They say:
“Even with careful racking, a wine may remain stubbornly murky, and in that case the culprit is probably pectin, starch or protein.”
My notes for the batch looked more detailed than usual (I even checked the specific gravity), so I don’t think I forgot the pectic enzyme. If my fruit tended to set starch, I think I would have seen a jelly-like goo by now. This left me with a possible protein problem. The commercial cure, bentonite, is natural enough, but I’d have to mail order it and the idea of putting clay in my wine sounded dirty anyway.