Our piece on filtering wine (is it good or bad? – in view of today’s trend of boasting “unfiltered” on the label) a while back sparked a comment from a reader. (Comments are always welcome!) Here’s what our reader had to say (that we publish anonymously): “Regarding the filtered vs. unfiltered debate, yes there have been in California many trials at individual wineries, but not much data in the public realm. When I was at [a winery in California], we did a number of trials with the exact same wine filtered and unfiltered, with tastings after bottling, 6 months, 1 year and 2 years aging in bottle. My conclusions were:
1) Tight filtration causes wine to be more dry and austere when young, but most of the effect wears off as the wine ages.
2) The level of filtration is as critical as filtration vs. non-filtration. In other words, the difference between a loose filtration (to remove sediment) vs. an extremely tight filtration (to remove malolactic bacteria) is as big or bigger than the difference between no filtration and a loose filtration.
3) Red wines are more impacted by filtration than white wines.
4) I would rather have a somewhat lesser wine due to filtration than a wine gone bad that could have been saved by filtration.
5) If you want to make unfiltered wine, you need excellent hygiene, attention to detail and laboratory analysis by the wine maker.
So, like most things in life, when people ask if filtration is “good” or “bad”, the answer is…it depends.”
Thank you for the comment!
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