Making Wine is a Little Less “Racking”

By , April 5, 2012

As I’ve proven time and time again, siphoning our homemade wine to rack or bottle it is a perilous undertaking. I’m relieved to report that we recently made a small investment that has greatly simplified the process. We purchesed an “auto-siphon.”


The auto-siphon racking a gallon of homemade wine (Photo: Mark Zeiger).

The auto-siphon is a very simple tool that creates a large amount of suction in the siphon hose without needing to suck on the hose ourselves. To start a strong flow of wine, all we need do is give it a couple of firm strokes, like the plastic hand pump we use on our boats (although, I learned immediately, it does not need to be worked nearly as vigorously!). The result is almost too good—the flow goes so fast I sometimes have trouble keeping up with it. Racking from one container into another happens almost in spite of me at times.

Being relieved of the need to suck on the siphon hose clears up two big problems for us: the difficulty of creating suction without ingesting a lot of young, highly aerated wine in a short amount of time, and contamination. I’m confounded by the wine making manuals’ obsession with sterility and dire warnings against contamination, while totally ignoring the problem of sticking the siphon in your mouth! I mean, I practice good dental higeine and all, but I still assume that an object ceases to be sterile if I put it in my mouth. That’s just common sense.

Whatever the case may be, I’ll never suck on a siphon hose again. This auto-siphon is far better. We’ve now bottled two batches of wine, with more to come before long. I’ve stopped dreading the process, and have begun looking forward to it.

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