Now that the wines have been back-sweetened, I can now filter them. My filter of choice is the Buon Vino mini jet. This little unit is easy to set up and clean once filtration is finished. The filter is used purely for aesthetic purposes only and will not filter out yeast cells or bacteria. Sterile filters are available to the home winemaker, but I don't see the need for it in a home wine making setting, plus I stabilize my sweet wines with potassium sorbate to avoid a renewed fermentation in the bottle.
When setting up your mini-jet the first order of business is to sanitize the unit by soaking the plates and tubing in the sanitizer of your choice. I then use a spray bottle full of sanitizer to spray down the unit where wine will be in contact. After that I run some sanitizer through the actual pump to ensure the inside is nice and clean for the wine. Once this is done, you give your filter pads a soak in water for 60 seconds before installing them into the unit. Once the filter pads are in and the plates are screwed down tight ( a wise man once told me, in reference to the black tightening knobs, you are to reef upon them until you fart. I follow this advice.) I run 6 gallons of water through the pads to remove the paper taste from the pads. This also removes any particulate that may be hiding in the pads.
After rinsing the pads with 6 gallons of water, there will be residual water in the filter unit and in the pads. You can:
1. Disconnect all tubing and blow into the outlet and remaining water will come out of the other inlet (Not sanitary, home wine making at its finest.)
2. Just tip the unit to get as much water out as you can and start running wine through it. Water will come out first which can be directed into a pitcher until wine starts coming out which can then be directed into the receiving carboy or tank. You don't to just allow the water to go into your wine vessel because there could be up to a 1/2 cup of water within the filter unit which would dilute your wine's flavor.
Let's just Break All the Rules!
The nice folks at Buon Vino do not want you to break your filter and come complaining to them. Because of this they have set fourth guidelines they recommend to be followed to avoid overheating your pump or clogging the filter yadda yadda yadda (ever seen Seinfeld?) But, filter pads cost money and when they say you should only filter 6 gallons of wine through each set of pads; what they really mean is 15! Yes, that's right 15 gallons of clean, clear wine. I'll say it one more time-clean, clear wine. We can break some rules but we should still be careful. By the time I filter my wine it has been racked several times and it's so clear you can read a newspaper through it. Why am I still filtering if my wine is that clear? Well, no matter how clear it got from time and settling, it can get a nice shimmer in the sunlight after filtration! I only filter my whites and rose'-style wines. Reds don't really need it in my opinion. And if I do filter reds it's through a coarse filter just to remove anything really obvious that may be floating around. Some wines may be too thick and you'll need to perform a step filtration to be able to filter with finer pads. For example, my black raspberry wine is pretty thick, so I would filter it through the #1 first and then again with the #2 pads so the wine will actually go through the finer pads. Sometimes you can only get 10 gallons through a set. If you notice the flow slowing down, just stop the pump replace the pads and move on! For example: If you have 30 gallons of wine to filter, get 3 sets of pads just in case you need an extra set. You're still saving around ten bucks that can be spent elsewhere.
|The Mini-Jet gets great results|
A Slight Cool Down
After filtering 15 gallons at a time i do allow the mini-jet to chill for a bit. But it doesn't slow the flow of the day down at all, Because by the time I'm ready for the next round is has had sufficient time to cool. You could even filter 15 gallons, and allow the pump to cool while you're doing sulfite testing and additions to the just filtered wine. Which brings me to my next point.
Post Filtration Sulfite Testing and Adjustments
Filtration can be an oxidative affair, especially with a filter like the mini-jet. But this is no problem if you keep up on the sulfite (SO2) levels. I know my SO2 levels were good because I tested them after back-sweetening, but I'll also need to test again after filtration. I use the Vinmetrica unit to perform pH and SO2 testing. You can have results in as little as two minutes; which is great during a busy filtration-day. I shoot for 0.8 molecular SO2 for whites and fruit- wines and 0.5 molecular for my reds.
Once the wines are filtered and SO2 levels are good, the wines await one more SO2 test before bottling day.
One More Thing
Occasionally the Mini-jet will need lubricated to keep it working properly. The mini-jet can actually pull wine out of the donor carboy without being primed. I didn't believe it at first but my man Sicilian Prince (http://howtomakehomemadewine.biz) made a video just how to do it and the results are amazing! This is a must if you own a mini-jet! I do it every season and have great results. See the video here and drop him a like- https://youtu.be/He7zQrAqyJw
-Up Next Bottling Day!