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Thread: Making Icewine

  1. #11
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
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    Minnesota, USA
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    Default Time to Filter

    First Filtration

    After two weeks in the cold, the wine has started to clear. Most of the frozen and dead yeast cells have settled to the bottom of the carboy. It's time to rack and run the Icewine through the filter.

    Normally I wouldn't filter any wine until it's clear, but in this case the filtering is done to remove as much live yeast as possible. After racking, I run the wine through two consecutive sets of pads. The first filtration is done using 5 micron pads. For the next, I drop it down to 1 micron.

    Yeast cells vary in size from a few microns up to 10 microns or so. Most wine yeasts average 6 microns in size. The successive filterings will remove more than 99% of the yeast. A few will survive, however, we will ensure they are unable to reproduce by adding 220 mg/L of potassium sorbate. I also decided to add an additional 40 mg/L sulfite at this time for a little added insurance.

    After filtering I put the carboy in my (slightly warmer) garage, where it will remain for another 2 weeks to continue clearing and cold stabilizing.

    Photos below, from left to right: 1) cold wine brought in from outside. 2) The first filtering. 3) Added 2.6 gms potassium sorbate. 4) after the second filtering. The wine still has some haze at this point, but most of the yeast is now gone.

    Icewine007.jpgIcewine008.jpgIcewine009.jpgIcewine010.jpg

  2. #12
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    Mar 2007
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    Minnesota, USA
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    Default Current State of Affairs

    Finishing Up

    The wine is now back inside again. It more than 90% clear at this point.

    I've also had my first taste, and while it's good, even at this young age, I've decided it needs just a couple of small tweaks.

    First, since some acid dropped out during the 4 weeks spent sitting in the cold, I want to add some back to brighten it up a little. Citric acid works great for this purpose. No measurements here. The final acidulation will be based on taste only.

    It also could use just a little more sweetness and viscosity. I will probably add back some of the reserved juice, but not a lot. Maybe a half liter. Again, it will be based on taste.

    Once it's completely clear, it will get one more polishing filtration at 0.45 microns. At this point, however, it can now be treated like any other finished wine. I'll let it age for a few more months to ensure stability before bottling.

    Here's a photo of the (more or less) finished product. I'll snap another photo after it's bottled.

    Icewine011.jpg

  3. #13
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    Mar 2007
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    Minnesota, USA
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    Default Conclusion

    I hope you enjoyed this tutorial. Don't be afraid to try this, as it really makes a showstopper dessert style wine.

    Likewise, don't be afraid of experimentation. I've tried to cover all the basics, but there's plenty of room to play around with it. In addition to white grapes, you can also make Icewine from red grapes. In the US and Canada, Cabernet Franc is sometimes made into this style. Just cold soak the grapes for a few days to extract some color/flavor. Then press and just treat it like white grape juice.

    Cheers,

    Steve
    Last edited by NorthernWiner; 24-02-2008 at 02:40 AM. Reason: typo

  4. #14
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
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    Minnesota, USA
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    Default Last Update

    Last update...

    Well, I bottled my Icewine over the weekend (after giving it a final sterile filtration). Boxed it up, sealed the box, and put it back in the back of my crawl space with the words "Do Not Open Until Christmas 2008" on the box. I did leave one bottle out to enter in my winemaking club's annual "nouveau" competition on Wednesday.

    Unfortunately, I didn't take photos of the finished bottles. Wish I had, but there isn't much to see. I bottled them in some very stunning dark cobalt blue 375 ml "hock" bottles with a blue topper and label. Very spiffy if I do say so myself.

    I just have to talk about the taste for a minute. My wife, who fancies dessert wines and ports, says this it's the best wine I've ever made. I don't know about that, but I'm not so much of a sweet wine drinker. I will say it is very good. The aroma is incredible and the flavor is lush and concentrated. It's like liquid dessert. Mine came out lower in residual sugar than most commercial examples, but that's not so bad as far as I'm concerned. Some of those commercial wines can make your teeth ache.

    We'll see how it does in the competition.

  5. #15
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
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    south U.S.
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    Default

    Good luck !

    Hey Steve, do you think the sterile filtration 'took anything away' from the wine like flavor or sweetness ? I know I preach all the time that sterile filtration cannot do such, just wanted your take on it. It sure didn't hurt the color any !

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  6. #16
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    Mar 2007
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Hippie View Post
    Hey Steve, do you think the sterile filtration 'took anything away' from the wine like flavor or sweetness ? I know I preach all the time that sterile filtration cannot do such, just wanted your take on it. It sure didn't hurt the color any !
    If it did, I sure didn't notice. If anything, I think filtration often improves the flavor by removing impurities from wine that shouldn't be there anyway.

  7. #17
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    Default

    I agree. Excellent job.

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  8. #18
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by NorthernWiner View Post
    If it did, I sure didn't notice. If anything, I think filtration often improves the flavor by removing impurities from wine that shouldn't be there anyway.
    I also agree with that, my wines are all filtered before being left to bulk age.
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