Why How and When To Degas Wine

Degassing is one of those wine making tasks that can be quite frustrating if you don’t have the right tools or know the best conditions under which you should degas. If not done correctly degassing can take hours if it is successful at all.

Properly degassing wine prevents a wine that is supposed to be still from being bubbly.In this episode we explore the three main ways to degas, how best to prepare your wine for degassing, as well as why it is so important in the first place.

Products and Resources Mentioned

Here’s a list of products and resources mentioned in the show as well as some links that you might find informative.

Listener & Reader Questions Answered

  1. I’ve heard you say not to back sweeten a wine that has undergon malolactic fermentation. Why is that?
  2. Am I damaging my wine by not racking it off the lees?
  3. Are you supposed to sanitize oak chips or cubes?
  4. Can I split a 30 bottle wine making and ferment it in two different containers?

Questions or comments for the show? Contact Matt directly.

Photograph by: Lindsey Turner

  • Rob

    As a new winemaker, why do the kit wines take so much less time to clear than the fruit bases wines (7-10 days vs months)?

    • Hey Rob, great question. Most wine kits have you add a bentonite powder in the very beginning of the wine making process. This is what helps keep your wine clear faster in the end.

      Bentonite is one of the only clarifiers that may be added before or after fermentation. When added before fermentation it is mixed in so that during fermentation the carbon dioxide produced by the yeast carry the bentonite up through the wine and when the bubble pops the bentonite sinks back down. On these trips to the top and back down to the bottom the bentonite is constantly collecting particles that would otherwise leave your wine much more cloudy after fermentation.

      The other factor at play here is that most kit wines don’t have any fruit in them. So when you make a fruit wine there are particles from the yeast fermentation as well as fruit chunks. This leaves much more stuff to clear out than you would normally have in a kit.

      I hope that helps Rob! Thanks for asking your question here in the comments. Cheers! -Matt

      • Rob

        Thank you i did not expect such a prompt reply.

      • Rob

        Does it matter when you add bentonite to clear a wine? Most kit wines add it at the beginning other recipes add it later and some don’t add it at all. Any thoughts on timing?

        • Hi Rob, you’re quite welcome. As for timing I recommend either adding a fine bentonite powder at the beginning or use the coarser stuff in a slurry after fermentation. I wouldn’t add anything while the yeast is fermenting.

          That being said I only use clarifiers after fermentation and only if I need to. If you wait long enough wine will clear on its own. Sometimes it takes a long time but it will clear. Kit manufacturers use two clarifiers so that your wine is ready to bottle and drink as soon as possible.

          The risk with adding too much bentonite, or any other clarifier for that matter, is stripping flavor, color, and aroma compounds out of your wine. You can wind up with a pretty boring wine if all the character is fined out by a clarifier.

          Cheers! -Matt

      • Rob

        Thank you. Dohave any suggestions as to where are reasonable site is for getting a nice wine (paper) label made?

        • Personally, I’ve not used any paper based wine labels so I’m really not sure where the best place to go is. There are a number of companies that offer label printing for fairly decent prices. Some Academy members opt to purchase blank labels and print their own.

          Lastly, you can check out Grogtag (http://www.grogtag.com/). Their labels aren’t paper but they are removable and reusable. I am an affiliate so if you use the code “WinemakerMatt” you’ll save 10% and the Academy will benefit as well. These are really the only labels I have any experience with. They also run a site called Crushtag (http://www.crushtag.com/) for wine makers and the discount code applies here to.

          If you do decide to go with a paper label printing company let us know which one you choose and how you like them.

          Cheers Rob! -Matt