Wednesday, August 5, 2009

into a glass and darkly...

Staring deep into a glass of wine can be mesmerizing. White wine shows shades of gold and amber, of straw and wheat, the light beams through making the glass glow.

Red wine varies from light reds like a stop light to deep purple-black that absorbs the light more then refracts it.

Occasionally, we see small specks floating about the wine, some so small so as to barely visible. We look closely, is that a dead bug? No, just a speck of something left from the winemaking process. Is this something we want to swallow? Is it harmless? The answer is yes, but this begets the further question of why they are little specks in the wine?

Wine particles can be missed by the filtration process or are created when they precipitate out of the wine after bottling. We see this a good bit in our wines since we do not use the “fining” chemicals used by most wineries, preferring to offer “naturally-made” wines as a healthy alternative.

But we continue to learn. Recently we purchased higher grade filters for our bottling line that we expect will have a significant impact on the amount of residual particulate matter in the wine.

The degree to which a winemaker filters his wine is one of personal preference, some winemakers TIGHTLY filter the wine, as low as .45 microns for white and fruit wines. Others do not like to filter below 1, or 5, or even 10 microns for fear of damaging the flavor of the wine.

Filtering is just one process a winemaker can use to affect the appearance of the wine, most use various chemical additives to stabilize the wine, to cause the wine to drop out any possible solids that might fall out in the bottle.

We feel filtering by itself does not significantly deteriorate the flavor of our wines, so we will move forward with our new filters and see what effect it has on the appearance of our products.

For several months we have been using synthetic corks in our wines and with generally good feedback. We’d like to hear from more customers if they like, dislike, or don’t care about this new cork we are using. Can you get it out of the bottle with little problem? Write me and next time we’ll see what you readers write about corks… at

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