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Cold Stabilization 2010

So the wine has now been sitting for about 3 months. It is getting colder and colder out side, so it must be time to cold stabilize the wine.

What does this mean, well in the simplest terms, it just means taking the wine, and putting it someplace cold for a few weeks. This process will accomplish several things. The main reason other people might want to cold stabilize their wine is to extract the potassium bitartarate that is present. If you have ever opened a aged red wine, and seen little crystals at the bottom of the wine, that is where the come from. But, by cold stabilizing the wine, we can make them form early and drop out as the wine temperatures approaches freezing.This is most often done in white wines as they are more easily seen than in reds. Since red wines are usually decanted, and served warm, this is usually not an issue.

So why am I cold stabilizing? Well, I am not stabilizing for that reason, but rather for the by-products of the process. All of those little crystals are like concentrated acid, and when I remove them it will lower the overall acidity of the wine. And as a added bonus, the pH of the wine, will decrease slightly also because the acid particles are mainly positively charged potassium ions. The pH reduction is an important by-factor since microbes and other germs, love a high pH solution to breed.

Secondly, since I used calcium carbonate (CaCO3) to reduce the acidity before fermentation, there will be quite a few of these chalk particles which will form calcium malate crystals if left in the wine. These also will drop out too, further reducing the acid levels. If everything goes according to plan, the wine should just about be at the perfect TA (titratable acid) levels that I am looking for.

This year I am looking for a quick cold stabilization. I am hoping to drop the wine to around 22 degrees Fahrenheit for 1-2 weeks to complete the cold stabilization. Here in the picture, you can see the deep freeze starting its cold descent, and just passing freezing.

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