WineXpert Fine lees in bulk aging

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Dantheman

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Hello all, new member here, I’ve become obsessed with wine making over the past year. I’ve started a few high end kits in the past few months with plans for a year in bulk, my question is how much fine lees is okay to leave before you would consider racking?
The specific project I’m talking about is a stags leap disctrict Merlot, pitched yeast on January 20th, 11 days later we were at 0.096 and racked into a carboy
5 weeks later re racked off of the gross lees into a clean carboy. Since then we have developed some fine lees which brings us to my question. I will attach some photos for reference

-how much fine lees before racking?
-how often would you rack in a 1 year bulk?

Thanks in advance
 

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Welcome to the hobby. It's easy to become, uh, enthusiastic.

I don't rack during bulk, preferring to do sur lie and batonnage. Sur lie is aging on the fine lees and batonnage is periodically stirring the lees back into suspension. It may not be appropriate for all wines, that's what I'm still exploring, but I love the results so far.
 
Of all the questions I have asked here, this is the only one that I have not gotten an answer to.

All my kits are red and are going on 4 months of sur lie aging. I racked them off the gross lees and have not racked since. I have not stirred them either.

I read that sur lie and batonage is only notable regarding whites, as all reds are aged on the lees.

I have asked for clarification on this, but both times... crickets.

3rd time lucky?
 
I am in camp “rack less”. Once off bulk lees I will age a year then bottle right out of the carboy. When bulk aging I have left them go up to 6mo before adding more sulfite if not opened for anything else.
okay great to know, I will do the same, I did add a American medium toast plus oak spiral while in bulk, is that something I should leave in for the year of bulk or remove at some point?
 
okay great to know, I will do the same, I did add a American medium toast plus oak spiral while in bulk, is that something I should leave in for the year of bulk or remove at some point?
Taste the wine to figure that out - that's something that's depending on how oaky you like it to taste.
 
okay great to know, I will do the same, I did add a American medium toast plus oak spiral while in bulk, is that something I should leave in for the year of bulk or remove at some point?
I’ve read that a spiral will give up all of its flavor after three months anyways so it should be OK to leave in. I typically pull them at three to five months and give it a taste. I will add k-meta at that point since I removed the airlock.
 
I’ve read that a spiral will give up all of its flavor after three months anyways so it should be OK to leave in. I typically pull them at three to five months and give it a taste. I will add k-meta at that point since I removed the airlock.
Can I ask, how do you determine the amount of K meta to add? Is it just a set amount per gallon (1/4 teaspoon in 6 gallons) or are you testing the wine and dosing accordingly?
 
Can I ask, how do you determine the amount of K meta to add? Is it just a set amount per gallon (1/4 teaspoon in 6 gallons) or are you testing the wine and dosing accordingly?
I’m not set up to test for k-meta. I assume most folks here just dose at 1/4t for 5-6 gallons.

I should note that I try to be reasonable about k-meta. if I have a carboy aging and sneak a small sample then immediately top up, and it’s only been a month since the last dose, I will not add another. If it’s been three or four months then I will. But if I have an airlocked and unopened carboy I feel safe letting it ride for 5 or 6 months. I look at it this way… when I bottle I add k-meta and it may sit in the cellar for years* with no additional k-meta. Why wouldn’t an unopened carboy be good for 6 months?

* I said May! I only started making wine three years ago and I’m just now making enough so I can forget about a few in the cellar for years. But the reasoning stands.
 
Of all the questions I have asked here, this is the only one that I have not gotten an answer to.

All my kits are red and are going on 4 months of sur lie aging. I racked them off the gross lees and have not racked since. I have not stirred them either.

I read that sur lie and batonage is only notable regarding whites, as all reds are aged on the lees.

I have asked for clarification on this, but both times... crickets.

3rd time lucky?
There's a lot of "rules" for reds and whites and I'm still sorting what's a true rule and what's opinion. I dwell in the gray area of country wines so at least for now I do whatever I want.

This is the best easiest to read description of sur lie and batonnage I've found so far:

http://www.brsquared.org/wine/Articles/surlie/surlie.htm
 
Would you cork during bulk over an airlock?
Wine expands and contracts with temperature and an airlock acts as a diaphragm, adjusting to changes. A cork might get sucked in a bit or even pop out, which would be bad if you didn't know about it. A screw cap might work but I've never tried it.
 
Wine expands and contracts with temperature and an airlock acts as a diaphragm, adjusting to changes. A cork might get sucked in a bit or even pop out, which would be bad if you didn't know about it. A screw cap might work but I've never tried it.
Some of my older wines, 6-8 months, I dosed with k-meta and put a bung in. Then wrapped in plastic wrap with an elastic. These are the long haulers. Adds some security to my forgetfulness.
 
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