How to move carboys

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Sep 29, 2008
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A recent back injury ( and the surgery that is soon to happen ) mean that I can't lift five gallon carboys full of wine when it comes time (two weeks ago) to rack them. I have five carboys full of this seasons production and I'm starting to panic.
I have always just lifted them up on to the kitchen counter top and siphoned the wine into a new carboy. I suppose I could just invite one of my thirsty friends over to help, but I'm retired and they all work for a living and I live way to hell and gone out in the country, and most of them are in worse physical shape than I am.
I like to rack my wines as often as I reasonably can and now theyre sitting there, and I can just feel them absorbing all sorts of funky ugliness from the lees.The empty glass is about all I can handle.
In years to come, I'm sure this will be more and more of a problem, because I am told that I'm not going to get any younger, stronger or better looking.
Does anyone have any suggestions for moving/lifting full carboys without getting hurt?
How about not moving them at all and using a pump/filter setup to rack and/or bottle.

+1 on the filter/pump. Even if you don't have back problems, its much safer than lifting heavy, fragile glass carboys.

I have a buon vino minijet. It's not cheap at $150-$200, but its well built.
I have a 54litre demi-john that is too heavy to lift. I wouldnt have aquired it if i didnt have the minijet.

You might be able to make a cheap, drill powered pump work, but it's up to you to decide if you could sanitize it properly and if the materials were suitable for contact with wine.

A method that beer brewers use is to use stainless steel cornelius kegs as fermenters with modified lids that can have an airlock attached, but can be closed off pressure tight and then use pressurized gas (c02 or Nitrogen) to transfer the contents.
A vacuum pump like I have works awesome as I have a bad back to and just purchased what is called an aspirator pump off Ebat for $115. You can rack wines from the floor up to your counter, you can filter your wines, and you can degas your wines with it.




It took 5 minutes despite what the clock on the wall says as I was interupted during. If you lok on Ebay you can usually offer them less with the best offer option. They wanted $149.99 for mine but i got them down to $115. Pm the seller and make sure you can buy it off them as some of the sellers are medical places and will only sell to a person in the medical field. Good luck.
I know this may sound weird but I have had people suggest using an electronic Breast pump. It should work, although I think it would take a slight bit of modification...It might be cheaper. has anyone else heard of using one? Not everyones set up can be as awesome as Wades lol.
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Same method as it is a vacuum pump and it really does not require much vacuum at all to create this siphon effect. I think mine started siphoning around 3" of vacuum.
A caution if your pumping wine, is to make certain all the connections on your suction side are air tight. Even a small air leak can introduce quite a bit of o2 to your wine and cause oxydation. I once ruined a 12 gallon batch of beer because I didnt take the time to replace the o-rings on my mini-jet's pump.

That vacuum pump setup looks cool, but it's definately something to be aware of.
I dont know how my vacuum would oxidise any wine as the wine doesnt run through my pump like it does on a minijet. It is just pulled from 1 vessel to another or through a filter that has nothing to do with this vacuum pump. Not saying it is not possible but I just cant see it on my set up, anyway, I do use fuel injection hose clamps.
You might go to Ebay and search beverage pumps.

I got two diaphram pumps for $24.95. Used but both work fine

If you are interested in filters try searching wine filters.
One of my group members has hernia problems and this is how he solves his lifting problem. He starts his wine upstairs. When it comes time for the first rack he has holes in the floor and there is a carboy waiting on a shelf in the cellar. On the next rack he has a carboy waiting on a table. The final rack or filtering rack he sets the last carboy on the floor.
Just get a vacuum pump istead of drilling holes in your floor. If you want you ca rack from 1 floor to another going up with tye vacuum pump!
Joe, hmmm, I live in the woods in Alaska, and I have seen some inginutive things, but I have never heard of this one. Some of the members in here "rack" their wine several times, You may have to build a very tall building. Take Wades advice, please don't drill holes in your floor.
Joe, hmmm, I live in the woods in Alaska, and I have seen some inginutive things, but I have never heard of this one. Some of the members in here "rack" their wine several times, You may have to build a very tall building. Take Wades advice, please don't drill holes in your floor.

Hey, don't knock it. It was such a neat idea that Winemaker magazine published pictures of Ed's set-up. Look for and article about the Snowbelt fermenter published about 2 years ago.
I will find it Joe and let you know. I actually love stuff like that! I'm not lazy, I'm efficient. Still don't know how I feel about holes in the floor, spend alot of time each Fall to seal them up.