Winter Cellar Activity
Mother Nature Helps Us Out
You have probably heard of cold stabilization in wine. You also may have heard that it is a way to clarify the wine, prior to bottling to prevent precipitated tartrates. However, the methodology of cold stabilization can vary and here at Red Newt Cellars, we take full advantage of Mother Nature. Customers will frequently ask if we leave tanks outside year round, and for many of them the answer is an emphatic, “yes!”
Many of you have probably had a bottle of white wine that appeared to have glass crystals settled at the bottom of the bottle. These crystals are not glass, but a natural salt that forms during chilling from excess potassium tartrate in wine. Cold stabilization is the process of accomplishing this in the winery, rather than letting it happen in your bottle. This process takes place post fermentation and prior to bottling. Naturally, this is done mostly to the whites, to obtain that clean, clear look they have when poured into a glass.
Many wineries use cooling jackets around the tanks to stabilize their wine. Here at Red Newt Cellars, we’re not opposed to that, but we also let Mother Nature do some of the heavy lifting. We just allow the tanks to remain where they are, sometimes moving our mobile tanks outside, and let the winter temperatures do their thing. Temperatures the past few weeks have been cold, quite cold. Yes, this does mean the wines frequently freeze right inside the tanks. Fear not, no harm is done to the wine. In fact, our cellar crew makes sure to leave a 10% headspace (open space) in each tank to allow for freezing. Tanks which freeze will be stirred prior to filtering and bottling. Weird tidbit, the three pigs just off the wine shop deck, frequently have ice in them until May!