Clarification

Appears in

Oxford Companion to Wine

Oxford Companion to Wine

By Jancis Robinson

Published 2006

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clarification, progressive winemaking operation which removes suspended and insoluble material from grape juice, or new wine, in which these solids are known as lees.

Clarification proper may be the removal only of insoluble solids such as the dead yeast cells and fragments of grape skins, stems, seeds, and pulp, but is frequently understood to encompass also the removal of dispersed colloids and other materials which exist in supersaturated concentration in the must or new wine, and in older wine that has not been stabilized. These latter substances include excess tartrates, pectins and gums, some proteins, and small numbers of micro-organisms such as yeast and bacteria. Removal of all these substances, which are not visible to the unaided eye, is frequently called stabilization, since no subsequent clarification is needed. Clarification has become more critical now that most consumers have come to expect wines to be bright and clear.