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NorCal

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This is my typical cycle.

Press, settle, rack, mlf, rack, spring time rack, rack at bottling.

My fruit was really good, and besides being high pH, it has been an ideal wine. This is definitely the best wine I've ever made. There are no off flavors or smells in my 60 gallon second year American oak and my two 31 gallon Spiedels.

Because of the high pH, I'd rather not do the Spring time racking that I normally do. What would you do?

 
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Johnd

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Regardless of pH, I don't rack unless the wine needs to be racked. If it's just a light dusting, sometimes thief 1/2 cup or so, add needed sulfite, pour back in without disturbing the lees.

BTW, I've been looking at the pH of lots of Cali reds lately, and find lots in the 3.7's. I was kind of surprised, but they're some super good wines. I'm fretting less about lowering my pH when it's in the 3.7's, unless it'll taste better.
 

NorCal

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Regardless of pH, I don't rack unless the wine needs to be racked. If it's just a light dusting, sometimes thief 1/2 cup or so, add needed sulfite, pour back in without disturbing the lees.

BTW, I've been looking at the pH of lots of Cali reds lately, and find lots in the 3.7's. I was kind of surprised, but they're some super good wines. I'm fretting less about lowering my pH when it's in the 3.7's, unless it'll taste better.
I cannot see the condition of the lees at the bottom of the 60 gallon barrel, so how do you know if it is a light dusting or if it "needs" it?

I'd take 3.7 any day! We adjust pre-ferment, but they just seem to find a way to creep back up. Not sure if it is true, but a Masters degree UCD local winemaker told me that wine is microbrial stable at 3.8.
 

stickman

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I use a turkey baster with a 3/8"dia extension tube that can reach the bottom. I pull a sample of wine and lees from the bottom and check the aromas and taste, if it smells and tastes good I'll leave it if it's a light bodied wine. On the other hand, a rich tannic Cab may need the small amount of oxygen provided by a careful racking.
 

Johny99

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I rack after MLB to get rid of the last of the gross lees. Then it stays in the barrel until I think enough oak, then rack. I use smaller, 50l and 100l barrels so it runs from 3 months to over a year depending on the age of the barrel. I do try to blend the non-barrelled portion with the part that has been in barrel.

In your case I might do a blended racking at a year and the bottle carefully from the barrel when you are happy with it. I don't rack my reds before bottleing, only to blend lots and then I like them to sit for 6 months if I can before bottleing. Overall I try for two years of barrel time.

I've heard a podcast of a Napa winemaker that racks every six months. His pH is in the high 3's.
 

Johnd

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I cannot see the condition of the lees at the bottom of the 60 gallon barrel, so how do you know if it is a light dusting or if it "needs" it?

I'd take 3.7 any day! We adjust pre-ferment, but they just seem to find a way to creep back up. Not sure if it is true, but a Masters degree UCD local winemaker told me that wine is microbrial stable at 3.8.
In a barrel, I never rack until the wine is ready to come out, but it's normally been racked 2-3 times before going in. Sorry, I thought you were talking about bulk storage in a tank or carboy.

I've always tried to stay under 3.7, but I'm migrating that limit up into the 3.7's, so we'll see......
 
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