Earth Filtration in Winemaking: How Is This Done?

Winemaking includes many steps ranging from the grapes grown in the vineyard to the final product after the appropriate bottling and aging. Clarification and stabilisation are two of these steps that are highly important to the quality of the results. Through the use of filtration methods, you will remove the insoluble particles, gelatinous substances or deformable materials that are suspended in your wine. This not only clears the wine of this unwanted matter, but it also stabilises the wine to help prevent spoilage. The reason for all this is that these undesirable elements include bacteria, inactive yeast cells, tannins, pectin, proteins and tartrates along with pulp, gums, stems and grape skins. We are here today to discuss one particular type of filtration, namely earth filtration that can eliminate these unwanted substances.

What Is Earth Filtration?

In earth filtration, diatomaceous earth or D.E. is the most common filtering medium. The process is performed through screening and the filters are screens that are either linked to a rotating drum where the wine it pulled through the filter with a vacuum pump or supported by plates. It also includes the following two stages:

• Pre-coating takes place in the first stage. You will cover the nylon or stainless steel screen with a layer of coarse-textured D.E.

• The second stage is the filtration that involves mixing a quantity of D.E. with the wine before pouring it through the screen, creating a smooth flow of this mixture during this process. It is during this step that the unwanted elements are removed from your wine. While there may be other processes that you still need to perform to perfect the condition of your wine, this filtration method gives you a great head start.

What Is Diatomaceous Earth?

Diatomaceous earth or D.E. is manufactured using the fossilised remains of diatoms that are tiny aquatic organisms. Silica makes up their skeletons. These organisms’ remains accumulate over the years in oceans, lakes, streams and rivers. D.E. is extremely porous due to the makeup of the diatoms, which makes it an ideal substance to use in the earth filtration process for winemaking.