At the risk of angering Arcticsid... Racking - Supplemental

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Becks the Elder

Country Wines.
Feb 23, 2009
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The Elderberry has been on fine lees in the secondary and my thoughts have turned to the next racking. I have used the search feature, I have read my book, I have phoned a friend...

I have been given many options but what, I want to know, is best practice?

Book - Secondary "fermentation... will proceed for some weeks." Leave the wine on the lees to clear - possibly for three to four months.

My friend agreed with the above but he is quite happy to let it sit for as long as it takes to stop fermenting (over 8 months on one batch and counting!)

Search - This seemed to suggest racking after 1 month or racking after the fermentation had finished (so somewhere between 1 and 8 months - not really very helpful). Racking was also suggested in order to clear the wine (no mention of fermentation made). The view was also expressed that leaving the wine sitting on the lees for too long may be a bad thing.

So, at the risk of angering Arcticsid I'm afraid I am going to have to ask the (stupid and irritating) question;

"When should I rack off of the fine lees?"


Personally I am inclined to rack after 1 month and then again a couple of months after that and hope that the wine ferments out sometime over that period. Does this seem like a reasonable approach?


I'm sorry but I am only a beginner. Limited knowledge leads to many seemingly foolish questions. Sadly, discrimination cannot develop in a vacuum, neither can it spontaneously arise from an undifferentiated plurality of views and methodologies.

Seek and ye shall find! - Seek a bit further and ye shall become confused.

I accept that Arcticsid made his post in the best interests of the forum, as do I. I have absolutely no problem with Arcticsid expressing his views and would not wish my post to be seen as anything other than a counter perspective to his. This is nothing personal. Arcticsid makes alot of posts and has given many helpful tips and bits of advice. It is members like Arcticsid that make so free of their time and help that make this forum a really valuable resource. So, thanks to him and all who shine their light for those poor ignorant fools like myself who view the practice of winemaking dimly, through a glass darkly.

Thanks to all of you, but especially to those few that give so much.

Lol Becks you are funny! I so hear you though, Im currently confused over this too, sitting here reading my book that says different things to what I have found on here too. I figure its a bit of a random thing dependent on lots of things like temperature and so on making the ferment fast or slow and Im guessing one of our fellow experts will come on and say something to do with the sg fg readings...which im finally beginning to understand.

However (Big intake of breath!) my first wine looks like its finished fermenting after only 3 weeks. The reading is at .990 so Im sitting here wondering what now, do I finish it and prepare to bottle, rack it again and leave for a few months or what????

And no Troy, nothing to do with your post or anything, I like Becks have become confused from too much information overload!!!:eek: Please help us!
Seek and ye shall find! - Seek a bit further and ye shall become confused.

When it comes to wine making, the above quote is way too close to the truth. :)

Sorry I don't have anything further to add. I'm just as interested in the answer as well.
Please don't mis understand me

All I meant was that you MAY be able to get some answers, or one you have specifically by first searching. In alot of ways the answers you seek may all ready be there and you will have it quicker than you would if you wait for a response.

I don't really mind repeating myself, I have been accused of that for years:)

I absolutely didn't mean any thing negative by my post or to insinuate I am anything more than a beginner like most of us. What I really meant was that if you are looking for info, it seems smarter to look for the answer(s) to questions and get 100 responses(which is kinda what can be accomplished by searching first) than to wait for a response, only to have further questions afterwards.

When I first joined this forum, I was quite a newbie. I wanted to make wine by simply mixing frozen juice concentrate, sugar and bread yeast. It will work, but through all the help and advice I have recieved in here, I realized not only can this be done, but can be done more effectively. (for one, don't use bread yeast):)

If you look at the number of posts I have submitted you will see, that I too, have asked alot of redundant questions. I am by no means an expert or senior member. My only point was it would be more beneficial to search first and then follow up with a question/concern you don't quite understand.

If you want to ask a previously answered question, ask away. I will be always happy to share my limited knowledge, and the other members will be more than happy to chime in with more qualified responses.

Books are good, but as far as for me, I will always be indebted to everyone in here for all they have given me, I can only repay them by helping answer questions I am familiar with.

Ya'll take good care.
Ooooh Troy we or at least I can speak for myself on this, are not beating up on you, as in I totally get what you mean and agree wholeheartedly that we should search first....I myself am just saying I have done so on this and am actually asking a question that Im confused on, so please pretty please can you answer these questions -

(Big intake of breath!) my first wine looks like its finished fermenting after only 3 weeks. The reading is at .990 so Im sitting here wondering what now, do I finish it and prepare to bottle, rack it again and leave for a few months or what????

And Becks question -

"When should I rack off of the fine lees?"
Booze, if it's in the primary get it out and trnsfer to a secondary with an airlock. I am assuming you have a hydrometer because you are mentioning your SG. If it is in the secondry right now, with an airlock, leave it alone unless you have a big amount of lees. If you want, you could transfer to a third time, with an airlock, of course and "bulk age" it, leavy very little headspace in the third "carboy". You may be able to go for bottling right now if you satbilize it with sorbate and Meta. That would be something more of the senior members could answer better. I assume most of the experienced members would suggest you allow it to clear before bottling, that could take a while. I hope they can recommend something more than I. Sounds like you "got it going down" and you will enjoy successes on this batch.

Thanks Beck, you're right. I only want to help. I have gone so far as to have called the consulate of India, to see what rules, etc. are in place as far as sending supplies to our member Blade in India.
Great, thanks for that Troy. I have got it in the third carboy so not much in the way of lees.

I was considering adding some kwikclear and campden tablets and then bottling, but thought this happened way to quick.

1. Are campden tablets sorbate and meta or do I need to add those two different things?
My book has confused me yet again as it says just to add two campden tablets but on my searches on here I get the impression its only supposed to be one so
2. One or two campden for a 1 gallon?

I would prefer to bottle if I can so I can free up my carboy for another batch. But will listen to wise words from you all if you think this is a dumb idea. I realsie I need to clear it before bottling which is why I'll use the kwikclear if I go ahead.
This is a 1 gallon batch of potato wine (I know some of you freaked at the thought, and so did I, it smelt strange in preparation but hey my Dad said its one of the nicer wines he ever made and he made a lot!) I got a mouthful of it when siphoning (My auto siphon wouldnt fit the carboy.) and it actually tasted nice, which I think is pretty good for a non matured weird sounding wine...dont you?!?!
Im bottling my 5 gallon wine kit batch next week as its clearing nicely, its these fruit/vegie/flower wines Im a bit ftreaked about, the kits are so easy in comparison.:D
Campden tablets ARE Meat bi sulphite, sodium or potassium I don't know. ( I use the pwdered. Sorbate is something completely difeerent and kills the yeast so there is no longer a risk of fermentation which could potentionally create a wine bottle bomb. Meta is like a preservative and protects the wine from any foreign substances. How much to add before bottling? Wait for one of the others to give you a more definitive response. Let me clrify, I know nothing about kit wines. Thats Steves department. The potato wine, my opinion would to be leave it alone, I may be wrong, and hope I am corrected if I am. The kit, I hope Steve or someone else can guide you along. I can only guess living in NZ you have access to fresh fruit, probably some that are not available to us. Don't be afraid to try a batch of "fruit" wine. LUC makes primarily fruit wines and would be tickled to see what you have available. I am sure anyone else in here that makes fruit wines would be more than happy to help. Start saving your bottles. You will need them.

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Funny you say that, I have put on an apple, a passionfruit and a dandelion wine in last few weeks. Im also about to do a peach one.

Fruits that we have here are probably not much different to you guys, we're not that tropical here that we can grow much that is spectacular. NZ is known for its citrus mainly and i guess with all the vineyards we have, there is a lot of grapes too!

Im gonig to try a nectarine wine, blackberry and watermelon next, only because thats what is easily available right now and what Im thinknig might e nice.

Ill await some words of wisdom on the potato batch, but as for the kit, Im not worried about that, it had all the instructions and little packages of whatever it needed which I added and all is well. Its the fruit wines Im interested in!
Booze, no matter what you do or how you approach this wine making thing. The two most important ingredients are SANITATION and PATIENCE. Knowledge can be shared, but the above can't be purchased at any price.
lol yes patience is a virtue...I do have some of that, but then I put plans in place to keep me happy waiting for these thnigs to happen!

I am bottling my wine kit batch tonight, I checked the clairty last night and its crystal clear and guess what it tasted quite nice. Its ready to drink straight away but I am saving some of it to try after a year just in case I want to make it again if it appeals enough after a glass or three! Will give it a go over the weekend!

This is one hobby Im really enjoying. I just want to get it right is all!

Thanks for your help Troy

Letting it sit on the fine lees is okay for a few months, I personally think 8 months is way to long though. It would be better to actually stir the lees up into suspension then just let them sit. I personally would go past 2-3 months myself.

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