Technique

Fining Your Way to Clear Wine

Fining of wine is the addition of one substance to remove another. This basic definition often stretches to include adding more than one substance at a time, stabilizing wine without necessarily removing something, and maybe even adding something that will need to be removed later by filtration. It is a diverse subject with several classes of materials involved in its use and lots of different intended outcomes. Whatever it is, it is clear that winemakers have practiced the technique of fining for a very long time. In his excellent Concepts in Wine Chemistry, Yair Margalit, Ph.D., quotes Robert Druitt of London from 1873: “Another operation is fining; which consists in adding to the wine some matter that shall curdle and contract, and entangle and carry with it to the bottom all floating particles which make the wine thick; and of course, as it clears the wine of particles of ferment, organized or unorganized, so it tends to make it not only bright to the eye, but better able to keep.” Still true, 141 years later. Some winemaking authorities assert that