Oh the heartbreak of sludge

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Rob Kneeland

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Dec 22, 2018
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Between Ottawa and Montreal
I've made quite a lot of wine, but I have never before experienced this kind of sludge in my secondary. I was ready to use my new pump to rack off my second wine (2 kits plus all my Marquette skins) and the racking cane immediately blocked. Then it was my pump, full of old skins and oak chips. What a disaster. Seems like the solids only settled into the bottom third of the 54 l demijohn. This was after a full press and 2 weeks in the demi, which seemed to ferment normally. I had to disassemble and clean everything, then rack carefully only the top 2/3. I tried a kitchen strainer but that clogged immediately. Ended up with only 46 liters out of 54. Almost like the bottom third had gelatine in it.

My wine from the Marquettes racked off normally.

And...my new impeller pump needs to be 100% primed or it does nothing....

Will have to make some changes before next year!!
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This was the Marquette? I have a large straining bag that fits over a 6 to 8 gallon primary fermenter. When pressing, I use that to capture the wine, so any odd chunks that make it out of the press are trapped in the bag.

The heavy sediment? I've not had that happen when pressing grapes, although I got some of the last juice from a tank, and about 1/3 of the carboy was sludge.

It might be that a fine straining bag might capture some of the coarser sludge.