For years the relationship between filtration and wine quality has been hotly debated. It is agreed that all of the particulates known to affect flavour and aroma are small enough to pass through the 0.45um filter media generally used in the final filtration of wine. However, some purists maintain that filtration affects subtler characteristics, which they refer to as a wine’s “soulfulness”. In the words of The Castle‘s Dennis Denuto, “it’s the vibe and – no that’s it, it’s the vibe.”
Tim Patterson wrote an excellent overview of the debate way back in 2008. So far (surprisingly) there has been no reliable sensory study undertaken in a controlled environment, and the debate continues.
However, in a recent workshop at AWITC in Adelaide, we carried out an uncontrolled experiment on a 2015 Barossa Shiraz Cabernet at 6 production stages. Samples and associated data were provided by Vinpac international.
Comments were most positive towards the final product, which had been passed through the final 0.45um PES membrane. Tasters claimed that the filtered wine displayed significantly improved colour and aromatics. It seemed to indicate that, contrary to popular belief, filtration can improve wine quality rather than degrading it, and it would be interesting to see the results of a controlled sensory study.