Definition - What does Stabilizing mean?
Stabilizing, also sometimes included in the clarification process of a wine, is the process by which solid matter that is suspended in the wine is removed. As wine can be reactive and unstable often depending on the environment it is stored in, it can become cloudy or form tartrate crystals or worse, spoil.
Means by which a wine can be 'stabilized' is by clarification, where certain products are used to remove the solids which create instability.
WineFrog explains Stabilizing
Stabilizing a wine is essential before bottling; it removes sediment and produces a clearer finished wine. The main processes in winemaking that stabilizes a wine can be:
Clarification -The clarification process includes the addition of bentonite, egg whites and/or copper used to adhere to solids floating in wine. These solids then fall to the bottom of the holding vessel where they can be removed.
Cold stabilization - This is the process by which the wine (typically used only in white winemaking) is chilled to almost freezing, thus making the wine unstable. This instability creates the formation of tartrate crystals which can then eventually fall to the bottom of the holding vessel and then be removed.
Fining - Fining is done by adding a fining agent which will adhere to the suspended particles that make larger molecules which will precipitate from the wine.
Filtering - This process works by passing wine through various filters to remove particles which can cause cloudiness. Some filtration can also work on a microscopic level to prevent any instability in the wine after bottling.