In homemade wine making, fining is the process of clarifying your wine by using agents that remove or settle suspended particles. These particles are dissolved solids and proteins that will cause a sediment.
It is customary to dissolve most of these in water before adding them to the wine. They can lose their effectiveness if dissolved directly into the wine.
Always use the prescribed amount as too much can strip the wine of color.
Common Fining Agents
Clay-like substance that binds to oppositely charged particles suspended in your wine. It is known for inhibiting a haze common in white wines. Also minimizes color loss.
When using bentonite with juice concentrates, it is used at the beginning when you make your "must". It is aerated into water creating a thick mixture that must be stirred to completely dissolve.
A pure gelatin that is made from swim bladders of tropical spiny-finned freshwater fish call cichlids.
Isinglass is use in homemade wine making because it acts quickly and strips less color than other protein based agents like gelatin.
It is very effective in clarifying wines but throws a heavier deposit that tend to cling to the side of your carboy. That is why it is recommended to twist or rotate your carboy to help the deposits settle to the bottom.
Sparkelloid is made from alginic acid salt found in brown algae and is very effective in settling finely suspended particles to clear hazy wines.
It also throws a heavier sediment, but is great if you will be filtering your wine.
This agent MUST be boiled and stirred constantly to dissolve completely.
Using egg whites is a traditional way of clearing wines. It is still widely used today and is considered excellent.
Egg whites are rich in albumen and have the advantage of softening the astringency of a wine. It is used in highly tannic wines or wines being fermented in oak barrels.
To use them, separate from the yolks, and add 1-2 egg whites per gallon to slightly salted water. Salt prevents the solution from getting cloudy.
You can also use refrigerated egg whites sold at the grocer. 2 Tbsp is equal to 1 large egg.