I have a peach wine that has a haze to it. The wine will not clear. It has been chilled for 2 weeks after fermentation, racked 4 times and I have added fining agents. It cleared to this fine haze but will not clear any further. Is this a wine that is not going to completely clear and I just need to live with it? Oh yea, there was pectic enzyme added at the start. What are your thoughts? Thanks
Base on information you have given, it sounds like the reason your homemade wine will not clear is because you have a pectin haze, even though pectic enzyme was added at the beginning.
Fining agents will take out the particles in a wine that can cause it to be cloudy, but a pectin haze is different. It is not caused by particles. It is caused by the actual make up of the liquid itself. The pectin chemically bonds to the wine, making it impossible to clear with just fining agents such as bentonite or isinglass.
The standard dose of pectic enzyme called for in most wine recipes is enough to breakdown and drop out a usual amount of pectin from the fruit, but in some instances the amount of pectin in a wine must can be unexpectedly large. This leads to the situation you are describing where your homemade wine will not clear, completely.
One way to know for sure if your wine is experiencing a pectin haze is to take a sample of the wine, say a half-full quart mason jar, and add a ridiculous amount of pectic enzyme to it. If the wine clears without leaving any sediment, then you know that a pectin haze is the reason for you wine being cloudy.
If the wine clears, but leaves sediment behind, then you know it is a particle haze – not a pectin haze – and more time, gravity and fining agents is the answer to resolving this issue.
Clearing up a stubborn pectin haze in a wine after the fermentation has stopped is somewhat difficult, but it can be done. It’s simply a matter of adding more pectic enzyme to the wine.
The problem really lies with the fact that the fermentation is no longer fermenting. This causes the pectic enzyme to take longer to do it’s thing, so some patience will be needed. It could take as long as a month or two for the pectic enzyme to clear up the wine completely.
If you are using our liquid pectic enzyme the standard dose is 1/8 teaspoon for each gallon of wine. However, in this situation you want to add a double dose of 1/4 teaspoon per gallon of wine. This is in addition to any pectic enzyme you added at the beginning of fermentation. If you are using a powdered pectic enzyme the story is the same. Add double the recommended dosage listed on the package and give it time.
When ever a homemade wine will not clear you always want to look towards protein particles such as yeast cells, tannin, etc to be the cause. These are things that can be easily dropped out with fining agents and wine clarifiers. But whenever you get into a situation where that last little bit will not clear out of the wine, no matter what you try, then it’s time to start suspecting a pectin haze to the reason your wine will not clear.
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.