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Racking Your Wine
It's Rack & Roll Time!
The Importance of Racking Wine
It is important to get your beer or wine off the lees (sediments from fermentation) because not only will it clear your beverage up a notch, it will also play a valuable role in stabilizing it. Additionally, racking shouldn’t just be done once or twice—a winemaker should rack their wine every time they see fresh sediment on the bottom of the carboy after their first rack. Your wine is ready to bottle once you stop seeing new lees forming!
All you need to start off with are a few feet of tubing (which you probably already have with your bottling equipment) and a racking cane.
First, set your bucket on the floor or a short stool below.
Third, you will place the end of your siphon tubing in the carboy full of wine (without letting it touch the sediment!).
You have a couple of options with the next step: you can suck on the other end of the tubing (a clamp is very helpful for this)until your wine begins to rush down, or you can purchase an auto-siphon that will send the wine flowing with two easy strokes. Fill your bucket and voila! Without letting any sediment follow, you have successfully racked your wine.
If you’re a little timid, we always suggest that you practice on water rather than risking your wine. While you likely already know that crushed Campden tablets or potassium metabisulfite protect your wine, what you may not know is that they release sulfur dioxide gas into the wine and dissipate (meaning there is much less protecting your wine). In order to protect your homemade beverage, you should put new sulfites in your empty carboy before racking your wine into it. If you want to extra careful you can pump some carbon dioxide or argon gas into the empty carboy that you’re about to put your wine into.