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Is it possible for a plastic fermenter to impact the effectiveness of isinglass as a fining agent?


Dear Wine Wizard, I used isinglass as a clarifier in my Viognier. I have it in a 55-gallon plastic food-grade barrel. It started to settle out some of the particles but never brought the wine to clear. I then transferred five gallons of it to a glass carboy and within one week it was as clear as any commercial wine I’ve seen. Could it be possible that there is some kind of electric charge in the plastic barrel disrupting the reaction that the isinglass should have with the proteins in the wine? The wine has a wonderful nose and tastes great. No spoilage of any type was ever present. Jerry Dolley Auburn, California Wine Wizard replies: Interesting question you have. We’ve all heard the old warning about never filling up a spare gas can (even if it is plastic and not metal) on the bed liner of a truck as static electricity could possibly spark a fire. If any readers out there work in clean rooms (common in computer or electronics manufacturing plants and engineering labs) you know what a