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Thread: Racking

  1. #1
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    Default Racking

    From Winemaker magazine

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    Racking the Wine





    "Racking" means transferring the fermenting wine away from sediment. You insert a clear, sanitised plastic hose into the fermenter and syphon the clear wine into another sanitised container. Then top it up and fit it with a sanitised bung and fermentation lock. This can be a delicate operation and it's important to go slowly. You don't want to stir up the sediment, but you don't want to lose your syphon suction either.

    Quite often kit wine instructions talk about "transferring" the wine from primary fermenter to secondary fermenter, this generally would mean taking everything including the sediment.
    Last edited by lockwood1956; 20-04-2007 at 08:58 AM.
    N.G.W.B.J.
    Member of 5 Towns Wine and Beer Makers Society (Yorkshire's newest)
    Wine, mead and beer maker

  2. #2
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    Knottingley West Yorkshire
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    Default

    Many thanks to Jimmy (Dead squirrel running) for putting this section together


    Racking: Many of the selections below are from Jon Iverson’s book Home Winemaking Step by Step , 2002 Stonemark Publishing Company . Available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble and many other bookstores for a more complete recommendation on racking wine. Iverson is dealing with white and red grapes. Fruit wines may vary considerable, usually with most fruit wine, follow the white wine guide.


    White wines:

    The exact timing of the first racking is not highly critical; but the longer the wine is left on the fermentation lees, the greater the risk that residual hydrogen sulfide compounds will be converted into mercaptans. Usually with white wines the racking is after fermentation ceases.

    White wines are particularly delicate and suffer from any air contact. The number of rackings should be kept to a minimum by combining as many treatments and adjustments as possible at each racking. Add meta, oak beans or chips, fining agents, adjust the acid, adjust the residual sugar, etc., all at the same racking, Sparge the empty carboy with argon prior to racking if you can afford to invest in a small tank. Carbon dioxide could be used, but argon is better because it is heavier and less readily absorbed by the wine. Nitrogen would be a poor third choice. Meta at the rate of 50ppm should be added at the 1st and again at the 3rd racking. Testing is necessary at each racking and as long as 20 to 30 ppm of free sulfite are maintained the additions are up to the wine maker.

    At the 2nd racking test acid, boiling sample to release any CO2. Taste test, make any adjustments or 2nd clarifying agents, oak beans or chips and meta. Stir with a dowel after racking to help release the trapped carbon dioxide. After racking, the wine should be stored cold for three or four weeks while the potassium bitartrate precipitates. Hold it at -3 to 1C if you can.

    Third racking. Adjust acid and levels of SO2. Add level of residual sugar if wanted. Bench trials should be performed if a 3rd fining is necessary before bottling.


    Red Wine:

    The procedure for fermenting red grapes is less involved in some respects than for white grapes. These recommendations assume that malolatic fermentation is not desired. Always lower the temperature after fermentation because of the tendency of volatile acids to increase. Iverson usually lets the gross lees settle for about one month and then racks and sulfites if there is no indication of H2S or rotten eggs. Some rack after one week and then move the wine into cold storage just as with white wines. At this stage with red wine some exposure to air may be of benefit during racking. Iverson also believes that a solid stopper should be substituted for an air lock at this stage. If a stopper pops out it is a sign that microbes are converting the residual sulfur compounds into mercaptains. Oak beans or chips can be added at anytime from the initial fermentation to any of the rackings. It’s the preference of the home wine maker .

    The second racking should take place after two month. Test for SO2, possible fining, adding oak and acid. At this racking no meta should be needed. Aeration should be minimized and if you have an inert gas use it to displace the air in the carboy.

    Subsequent racking should take place at 3 to 4 month intervals and the wine bottled between late spring and early fall. Some bulk aged for two years before bottling. A final racking a month before bottling is recommended with a readings of 30 - 50ppm meta. Fining for clarification, over tannic or stringency wines should take place during racking.
    N.G.W.B.J.
    Member of 5 Towns Wine and Beer Makers Society (Yorkshire's newest)
    Wine, mead and beer maker

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