My Bottled Wine is Cloudy – Now What?

My Bottled Wine is Cloudy – Now What?

Bottling is the final step in the wine production process. If your wine going to look good in the glass it needs to look good when it goes into the bottle. Once it’s in the bottle it’s hard to clear up any issues. Recently Tom wrote in the with following situation: We bottled 2 days ago and the wine is cloudy, you can see by holding the bottle up near a light bulb. My question is can I still clear the wine? I mean can I put the wine back into a carboy and use another clearing agent or something like that or am I stuck with the wine as it is? This is an unfortunate situation I and many others have found themselves in. In my case I bottled a wine before it was fully degassed. The reality is whatever gets bottled stays there until it gets served. So if your wine has sediment, protein haze, or carbon dioxide in it, it’ll still be there when you open it up again. Also, if your wine goes in with a pH or acidity problem time will not fix it. Trapped carbon dioxide may slowly escape if you use a natural cork closure and give your wine several years to age. But this largely depends on just how much carbon dioxide is in there. Sediment though isn’t going anywhere no matter how long you wait. Time can help tame harsh tannins and allow subtle flavors and aromas to fully develop, however, it can’t remove sediment or fix chemistry issues. Back to Tom’s question. Can I Still Clear the Wine? In truth the wine will clear on its own in the bottle given enough time. The problem is that whatever settles out of your wine will also be in the bottle and prone to getting stirred up when the wine is served. With careful pouring and by decanting you may be able to keep that sediment from going into someone’s glass. This, understandably, isn’t a perfect solution as it complicates how you serve the wine but may be your best bet. Certainly you could pour it back into a carboy and do another round with a clarifier, however, it will come at a cost. Emptying all those bottles, mixing in a clarifier, and re-bottling your wine will expose it to a lot of oxygen. While your wine may still taste okay when it’s re-bottled its shelf life will likely be greatly reduced. I would venture to guess that even a red wine would show signs of oxidation within six months to a year. A white wine would be more susceptible to this double handling and show signs of oxidation much sooner. What’s the Answer? That depends on what matters most to you. While a cloudy wine may not look great in the glass the haze usually doesn’t affect the actual flavor of the wine. Given that the wine can clear in the bottle if given the time a bit of decanting may be the easiest and least harmful solution. On the other hand if you want to give this wine away and...

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