VIN-dication: A Second, Better Homemade Wine Racking

By , April 11, 2010

Everything I’ve read about wine making seems to encourage procrastination. Most of my reference books speak in terms of seasons rather than weeks or months. Putting off the next step seems almost to be a virtue! This has encouraged me in my reluctance to rack my current batch of wine a second time, after the fiasco of the first attempt. Finally, last Thursday, I tried again, adjusting my method enough to get far better results than last time.

As the first, and probably most important step, I cut a full 9 inches off the rigid tubing section of my siphon. I decided on this amount by measuring it against my biggest wine bucket, making sure I kept enough length to clear the lid even when the end of the pipe is jammed into the side and bottom of the bucket. A shorter tube requires less wine and air to be sucked out of it in order to start the flow, which meant I’d become far less inebriated in the process.

Secondly, I chose a higher counter for the wine vat, making a more forceful draw into the bucket below.

These two adjustments made all the difference; I racked the wine in an hour, and came away sober enough to drive, if necessary.

It seems like it’ll be a good batch, as it passed what is, for me, the Acid Test. The racking left us with a small jar and a wine glass full of the new wine. I soldiered through one of them, even though, after the first attempt, the flavor meant nothing but trouble to me. Michelle sampled the other. When I offered to pour it out (both remnants were quite cloudy) she held on to it! This is the Acid Test: it’s not enough for me to like it—the wine must appeal to Michelle in order to be considered successful.

As soon as this racking settles, it’ll be time to put it in its final containers, no need to procrastinate further. It’s moving along nicely. We may be able to sample the end results before very long.

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