I think this is an interesting stance to take. Look, many on this board may feel that bottling wines ‘unfiltered’ is perfectly fine, but there is indeed an inherent risk in doing so. ANY live microbes that may exist in that wine, given the right conditions post bottling, may ‘grow’ and cause the wine to ‘change’ in a way that the winemaker did not intend. Many winemakers send their wines out for analysis before bottling and many are satisfied when they receive reports back that no bad microbes or yeast were detected (notice that I did not say ‘existed’) . . .
The reality is that there is no way to know for sure, even with special lab equipment, because there is no such thing as ‘absolute detection’ . . . there is always the chance that a wine may contain only a few live brett cells, for instance, and these would be below the threshold of detection - but given the right conditions (any RS left in the wine and elevated temps), you could still have a bloom. I remember a ‘board darling’ went through this exact thing a few years back and defended that their wine did not have brett - but boy o boy, did it ever!!!
I firmly believe that the vast majority of wines that ‘suffer’ from ‘bottle variability’ are either unfiltered or bottled under cork - 2 variables that can easily lead to this.
This is NOT to say that wines should not be filtered nor bottled under cork - I am NOT anti-filter or anti-cork . . . I just think consumers need to understand the ‘risks’ involved and not ‘accept’ bottle variation if they choose not to . . .
I’d think that shipping and storage issues would be the chief contributors to bottle variability.
Obviously bottling unfiltered comes with increased risk. Wines can be prepped so that the risk is minimized, but it will always be there.
It boils down to risks v. rewards.
Seems to me a consumer product with the warning of risk as part of its ad or information campaign can’t count on having made an overwhelming positive impression on consumers. Some might feel simultaneously warned and threatened.
Maybe it would be best to minimize the risk at production and leave it at that.
The “warning” I think is more CYA than anything. The disclaimer is part of their return policy page. If you look at the technical notes for each wine they produce, you discover the whites have been fined and filtered. The reds say “lightly” filtered. All of that seems somewhat at odds to the verbiage on the returns policy page. Maybe some vintages were produced differently or maybe there is a history that we are not privy to.
The intent of my OP was to learn more as to why the lack of fining and filtering mattered in the aging process, not to single out this producer for any reason.
Well, Michael, to answer that question, if it hasn’t already been answered amidst the back and forth: fining is a means to prevent future colloidal hazing and filtering is to take out the bugs. Each process is to stabilize the wine so that it can live a healthy life. Some believe neither is necessary for wine to be healthy and age-worthy, but the mention of risk makes it clear that (in the absence of ideology) employing one or both is probably a good idea.
What a very weird statement to make. I also assume they likely had issues in the past.
To add to Larry’s comments not filtering is more risky (though I believe the rewards outweigh the risk especially in white wines) and it has to be done on wines with no malic, nitrogen, RS left in them. Proper testing and so2 levels reduce a lot of that risk but not all. Finning is more for reducing bitterness, easier filtration, or for less sediment in an unfiltered wine.
Filtering and bottling has to be done well or there will still be lots of risk remaing for the wine. Every vintage I have lived up here in AV at least one producer has a white with RS, usually gewurtz/riesling/pinot gris take off in bottle. With RS and Nitrogen present its not a if, but when type situation for refermentation. You need a nutrient dessert for bottling unfiltered wine. Bottling wine with any RS IMO is a bigger risk then bottling a clean wine unfiltered.