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Racking Wine

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

With the final harvests in, most winemaking goes through the "sit and wait" stage. The stage where you allow your wine to sit and have the solids settle to the bottom. Transferring the wine off the solids (racking) needs to be done from time to time prior to bottling. I found two good articles from the web and have printed a portion to wet your appetite.

Introduction

"Racking" wine is the process of separating wine from its sediment, or lees, and transferring the wine into another container using a siphon.

Things You'll Need
  • Clamps For Wine Bottling
  • Clean Containers Such As Gallon Jugs Or Barrels
  • Siphon Hoses

Step One

Place the container of wine on a table.

Step Two

Place an empty container below the table, such as on the floor or on a lower table.

Step Three

Place the notched end of the siphon tube into the container of wine. Be sure the tube is in the wine but does not touch the layer of sediment. (The sediment should be at the bottom of the container.)
Read the rest of this article at eHow.com


The fourth essential step in winemaking is to siphon the wine off the sediments (lees) into another clean secondary, reattach the fermentation trap, and repeat after another one or two months and again before bottling.

This procedure is called racking. It is done when necessary, not just two or three times as stated above. The rule is, as long as there are fresh deposits on the bottom after a regular interval (30 to 60 days), even if they are just a light dusting, the wine should be racked. Only when that interval passes and there are no fresh lees -- AND the specific gravity is 1.000 or lower -- is the wine ready to be prepared for bottling.

It is not necessary that the interval between rackings be 30 days, 45 days or 60 days, but it should not be less than three weeks. It is perfectly okay to leave the wine on the lees for three months. Beyond that and the wine enters a danger zone caused by dead yeast cells breaking down -- rotting. While this can cause off-flavors and odors if allowed to go on too long, the bigger danger is the formation of hydrogen-sulfide gas, which smells like rotten eggs and can be the death of the wine. But if the lees are stirred every week or so, neither the off flavors, off odors nor hydrogen-sulfide gas form. Indeed, the wine is actually improved by extended contact with the lees as long as they are stirred frequently.

Read the rest of this article at Jackkeller.net


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