one racking instead of several?

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ejiang

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I am lost when I see people rack for several times.

For example, if I don't touch the carboy in a year I got say, 1 inch of sediment at the bottome. I rack one time. I get rid of the 1 inch sediment.

Or I rack 4 times in a year, every time there is 1/4 inch of sediment. In total, I also get rid of 1 full inch of sediment.

Both way will get rid of the same amount of sediment. Why bother to rack it back and forth for so many times? And by doing just once, I avoid risking exposure to oxygen, and I also reduce the need to top up.

I guess there must be other reasons I don;t know. Please share.
 

robie

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I am lost when I see people rack for several times.

For example, if I don't touch the carboy in a year I got say, 1 inch of sediment at the bottome. I rack one time. I get rid of the 1 inch sediment.

Or I rack 4 times in a year, every time there is 1/4 inch of sediment. In total, I also get rid of 1 full inch of sediment.

Both way will get rid of the same amount of sediment. Why bother to rack it back and forth for so many times? And by doing just once, I avoid risking exposure to oxygen, and I also reduce the need to top up.

I guess there must be other reasons I don;t know. Please share.
Your explanation sounds logical, but not necessarily correct. Setting on lees/sediment for extended periods can change the flavor and aroma of the wine. In some cases, it can cause spoilage.

The term - surlies, is French for - lees aging. Lees aging is sometimes done on purpose; it definitely changes the flavor of the wine. It is a common practice with chardonnays.
 

ejiang

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Your explanation sounds logical, but not necessarily correct. Setting on lees/sediment for extended periods can change the flavor and aroma of the wine. In some cases, it can cause spoilage.

The term - surlies, is French for - lees aging. Lees aging is sometimes done on purpose; it definitely changes the flavor of the wine. It is a common practice with chardonnays.
Hi Robie

Oh..that's why.

So in Chardonnay's case, I purposely leave the leas contacing the wine body for aging?
 

Turock

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Nearly all wines benefit from aging on the fine lees. We rack off the gross lees one time and that's it, except if we use bentonite in the primary.
 

Hokapsig

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rack with a Allinone pump and you can rack in the absence of oxygen, especially when you are racking the heavy sediment wines many times. No sense in oxygenating the wine when eliminating sediment.
 

TonyP

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I believe the common practice is to rack every 3-4 months. I have not heard of anyone bulk aging wine and not rack from time to time. However, I think this is an important question. Is it possible to get some sort of consensus opinion. There are definitely a few potential downsides to racking: oxidation, need to top, potential for introducing microbes or dirt, not to mention time. Are there more than equal upsides?

Tony P.
 

surlees

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I believe the common practice is to rack every 3-4 months. I have not
heard of anyone bulk aging wine and not rack from time to time. However, I
think this is an important question. Is it possible to get some sort of
consensus opinion. There are definitely a few potential downsides to
racking: oxidation, need to top, potential for introducing microbes or dirt, not
to mention time. Are there more than equal upsides?
Wine should be racked only to remove it off gross lees which is the heavy sediment that drops out early on after fermentation. Light lees (1/4 - 1") or so is not harmful so long as the sulfite level is maintained at the correct level. During aging wine will continue to drop some lees as solid particles settle out. Ever wonder why wine can be aged in barrels for 1 - 2 years or longer? During that time there are light lees on the bottom of the barrel, but regular topping up and checking sulfite prevents oxidation and spoilage.
 

BobF

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Question - Is there a difference between ox and redox environments?
 

surlees

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Question - Is there a difference between ox and redox environments?
Technically there is, but wines under redox conditions become less reductive whenever they are exposed to oxygen whether it be through racking or barrel aging. The greater challenge for home winemakers is avoiding oxidation rather than avoiding redox. This is why sulfite is so important as it helps avoid oxidation.
 

BobF

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I understand the role of sulfite. I'm thinking about the potential for beneficial oxygen exposure during maturation provided by intermediate rackings.
 

surlees

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I understand the role of sulfite. I'm thinking about the potential for
beneficial oxygen exposure during maturation provided by intermediate
rackings.
My belief is that wine gets ample exposure to oxygen even if minimum rackings are done. Bottling plus the airspace in the carboy or other storage container during aging provides all the O2 wine needs. Why do professional winemakers spend big bucks to use variable volume tanks and top with inert gas? It's to minimize O2 exposure. Also, their bottling equipment pulls a vacuum on the bottle or injects inert gas for the same reason. O2 following fermentation is one of the main reasons home winemakers end up with VA, browning, and other oxidation related problems. I don't think redox is a relevent issue with them and they should be encouraged to rack as few times as possible.
 

BobF

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I've been really curious lately about why I have wines, bottle aged for 2 & 3 years, that don't taste much different when first opened than they did when bottled.

After leaving an opened bottle for several days with anywhere from 1/3-1/2 bottle worth of headspace, the wines improve tremendously - they become what I wanted them to be when first opened.
 

surlees

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I agree. Wines often improve up to several days after opening. That's why long aged reds are decanted and allowed to breath after opening. Also, why aerators are now on the market. Other than the bit of air that exchanges through the cork, the wines have been in a low oxygen environment all that time. This is not the same as redox, however.
 

J-Gee

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I usually really enjoy a bottle of wine that was opened a couple days prior.I'm glad to hear that affirmation from others.I always had the impression that it should not be as good,days after opening,but this thread helps me see through that misconception I had.
 

robie

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Hi Robie

Oh..that's why.

So in Chardonnay's case, I purposely leave the leas contacing the wine body for aging?
Only if you like what lees aging does for a Chardonnay. Lees aging without stirring will take some of the Chardonnay's typical bite off (smooth it out some). Lees aged and stirred, the wine will take on a yeasty, nutty, biscuity flavor; not a flavor that every Chard drinker enjoys. If the wine is stirred more often while on the lees, these flavors will become much more pronounced. I wish I could give you an example of a lees aged/stirred commercial Chard to try, but I can't; maybe someone else knows of a good one.

I personally like the results of lees aging and stirring. However, I like to do it for only about 6 weeks, then I rack off the yeast/sediment to stop the process. It can get really yeasty tasting, like a heavily yeasted bread can get.

This is really something with which you should experiment. Divide a batch into two. Process one without lees aging and stirring. Taste the lees aged and stirred batch once a week until it gets where you really like it.
 

robie

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I usually really enjoy a bottle of wine that was opened a couple days prior.I'm glad to hear that affirmation from others.I always had the impression that it should not be as good,days after opening,but this thread helps me see through that misconception I had.
Don't assume that each and every bottle of wine of any type will positively respond to being opened for a couple of days. Aeration of some interval will generally help, but two days can have a negative affect on some rally nice wines.

For many kits wines, Ibglowin made a good recommendation awhile back - Open a bottle and take out about a glass of wine, then put the cork tightly back in the bottle. Open the bottle again in about 24 hours and it should be ready and at its best. I would think this will also work well for many commercial wines.
 

BobF

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My examples are wines that went waaaay longer than a couple of days. I'm still researching - there is quite a bit out there on the need for balance between oxidative and reductive techniques. Unfortunately, most of what I've found is mostly qualitative - nothing quantitative that one could a establish process from.
 

jswordy

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Different fruits throw differing amounts of lees. Heavy producers will have to be racked more often. I'll let it build to an inch, but after that even Lallemand says the risk of bad things happening from the yeast eating themselves rises over time.

Also, and this is purely observational so it may not be scientifically or generally accepted, it seems to me that wine that is racked more frequently tends to "mature" to bottling stage faster. It naturally clears faster and comes to a stage where it can be bottled more readily. Even once it gets there, though, it can still be bulk aged, of course. When the lees fall off to the point where there is 1/4" or less in the carboy and they are very light and fluffy, I am less intense about racking.

On BobF's observation, it is an interesting question. I make sure the hose is in the liquid when I rack and take precautions against oxidation, but my process is inherently slower and more open to oxygen because I siphon and don't use the high-level transfer equipment.
 

TonyP

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I am lost when I see people rack for several times.

For example, if I don't touch the carboy in a year I got say, 1 inch of sediment at the bottome. I rack one time. I get rid of the 1 inch sediment.

Or I rack 4 times in a year, every time there is 1/4 inch of sediment. In total, I also get rid of 1 full inch of sediment.

Both way will get rid of the same amount of sediment. Why bother to rack it back and forth for so many times? And by doing just once, I avoid risking exposure to oxygen, and I also reduce the need to top up.

I guess there must be other reasons I don;t know. Please share.
I'm going to give it a try on my red; add 1/4 tsp of k-meta every 4 months and stir it in a bit but not rack for a year.

Tony p.
 

Manimal

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Racking early and often makes sense for sweet wines and some aromatics, however, I agree with the previously mentioned statement that most wines will benefit from storage on light lees... Lees provide protection from oxidation, contribute to protein and tartrate stability and provide increased mouthfeel to the wine. I think the urge to rack repeatedly is due to winemakers feeling the need to "do something" to their wine.
 
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