Pectin is a complex sugar found in the cell walls of all fruits. This substance is what causes jams and jellies to thicken and has many other uses in the culinary arts. When wines are made from fresh fruit, pectin plays a valuable role in making sure that optimal flavor is extracted. However, if the pectin in the beverage is not properly eliminated during fermentation, the wine can develop a hazy or cloudy appearance as a result of the excess pectin being held in suspension in the fermented liquid. Fortunately, this problem is relatively easy to resolve.
Identifying Pectin Haze
Pour 1 ounce of the clouded wine into a small glass or jar.
Add 4 ounces of methylated spirits to the wine in the jar and agitate it gently by swirling.
If gelatinous clumps or strings form, pectin is the cause of the problem. If you don't see this, the haze is caused by something else.
Clearing Pectin Haze
Remove 1 cup of clouded wine for each gallon of wine affected by pectin haze and place into a large, glass container.
Add 1 tsp. of pectic enzyme to the container and stir thoroughly until dissolved.
Place the glass container of treated wine in a place where a temperature of 70 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit is maintained. Cover the container lightly with plastic wrap.
Stir the treated solution once each hour for a total of four hours.
Strain the treated solution through clean, unused muslin cloth back into the untreated, main wine container.
Let the treated wine sit, undisturbed, at a temperature of 70 F for four to five days. The haziness should dissipate by the end of this time.
Pectic enzyme should ideally be added before fermentation begins.
Don't bring your must to a boil as this will increase the chances of your wine developing a pectic haze.
Add pectic enzyme to the must 12 hours before introducing the yeast. This will also help in preventing pectin haze.
Post-fermentation treatment with pectic enzyme may take longer than four to five days, even up to a couple of weeks for complete clearing. This is because the enzyme does not work as fast when fermentation is not in progress.
Methylated spirit is highly flammable. Use care when storing or handling.
Don't be tempted to add more than the called for amount of pectic enzyme to your wine. Adding too much can affect the wine's flavor adversely.
Always make sure that your equipment is sterile. Undesirable bacterial contamination may impact the finished product in a negative manner.