To Filter or Unfilter, That is a Question
They say timing is everything, and that’s never truer than when we bottle wine. This March we have nine separate Layton’s Chance wines to bottle, the most we’ve ever done at once. It takes a lot of energy, organization and efficiency to bring nine wines to market at once.
To offer some insight on how the magic happens, it helps to know that some of the wines require as little as 250 gallons, others as many as 2,000 gallons – and they all require filtration.
Of all the processes in bottling, by far the greatest amount of time needed is for filtration. Filtration removes all remaining yeast and bacteria, and allows for a clear wine, bright wine. It keeps bottles “shelf stable” to prevent spoilage and exploding bottles from too high a yeast content – a fact we learned first-hand when we first started out. (Suffice it to say no one here wants to clean that up again.)
Filtration takes place in one of two ways. For smaller batch wines, we filter them ourselves with a plate and frame filter. This is inexpensive, but it can be inefficient. It takes a lot of time, and we lose a larger percentage of wine. (All filtering results in some loss of wine, a sad but true fact!) The wine must be run through this filter twice to get the desired results. It’s truly a handmade operation.
To process larger batch wines, we partner with a company that brings a commercial filter to our door. This filter is extremely expensive (which is why we hire the service) and very efficient. It takes only one pass through for the wine to be clear.
Then, when we bottle, we filter each and every wine once more to further assure clarity.
We are sometimes asked why we do not offer unfiltered wines when other wineries do so. It is a decision that must be made carefully by each winery based on their business model. It’s our view that there is more risk than reward when wine is left unfiltered. We want each bottle of Layton’s Chance wine to deliver great taste and a clear glass every time. That is our (un)filtered opinion!
And we are bottling on March 26 and 27? We will be giving tours of bottling during tasting room hours. Come on out and watch the fun!