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Pouring instead of siphon

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orejunky

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I planned on using my wine thief to top up my demijon before I left for 2 weeks, but my wine thief doesn't fit in my 1 gallon jugs. And I'm not too confident with the siphon without contaminating the wine. Can I just pour from the 1 gallon jug to the demijon. Obviously being careful not to transfer the sediment over.
 

Mismost

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I have done it many times bottle to carboy when topping up....keep thing clean, you'll be OK.
 

BernardSmith

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Pouring ensures that you add oxygen with the wine and the addition of oxygen can result in oxidation. Siphoning helps ensure that you transfer the wine with the least amount of added oxygen. Should you pour? You decide, but perhaps not if you are intending to age the wine for any length of time.
 

bkisel

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I believe that if your pour wine that has not been degassed you'll be okay. Like from primary to secondary and secondary to degassing and stabilization. After those phases/stages I would not pour.
 

Mismost

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Pouring ensures that you add oxygen with the wine and the addition of oxygen can result in oxidation. Siphoning helps ensure that you transfer the wine with the least amount of added oxygen. Should you pour? You decide, but perhaps not if you are intending to age the wine for any length of time.
Bernard...I am not disputing what you say at all in fact i agree with it. But, I have also read that oxidation is a key part of the aging process that makes wine better...I know very small amounts passing through/by the cork.

I almost always splash rack my wines to help degas them. I often open a bottle an hour or so early to let it breathe and/or decant it. Both seem to help the wines.

I came to wine through beer brewing. There oxidation is a huge problem....beer just seems to really bind with oxygen and creates these lovely smells and tastes of soggy wet cardboard! Have never experienced that in my wines....yet. Wines just seem to be "tougher" than beers in my limited experience.

Would love to learn more about this....can you suggest any books or articles I could read? Thanks!
 

Scooter68

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After fermentation you want to limit exposure to oxygen. Degassing is best done using whipping without introducing oxygen or better yet using a vacuum system to pull the gas out - again - without introducing oxygen. And while small, unless your air in the room is pure there is always that fun risk of bacteria floating in there as well. Given the longer aging times of wine those small organisms have plenty of time to multiply. The Alcohol and Acidity help protect the wine but are not a rock-solid guaranteed protection.
 

JohnT

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If you have a decent PH/TA, and a decent level of SO2 you stand VERY little risk of oxidation just by pouring wine in to top off.
 

BABRU

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Pour or siphon?

I have never had a problem topping off by pouring but if you are concerned, find a small plastic funnel and some 1/4 or 3/8 inch tubing and push it in the bottom of the funnel. Tubing should be long enough to reach the level of the wine in your jug or carboy. Just pour into funnel with tube in wine and you should be able to minimize any air getting into wine. You could also put tubing on a turkey baster so you can suck in wine then transfer in same way to your jug but some will drip from the tube as baster suction is not enough to keep some from dripping out so this can be a little messy. Just sanitize your funnel or baster and tube before you start.
If you are trying to re-rack wine from small primary to another I would get about 6 feet of 3/8 tubing and about 18 inches of stiff stainless steel wire. Push the wire into one end of the tubing leaving about 1/2 inch of the wire sticking out of the end of the tubing. Now you have an excellent siphon tube that you can keep above the level of the sediment in the bottom of the secondary jug. Suck on the other end of the tube like a straw until wine is seen in tube lower that your jug then lower the end of the tube to your new jug and let it flow. Of course, sanitize tube by siphoning some sanitizer first. You can rub a little sanitizer fluid on your lips if you want to be extra careful but I would not worry much about my lips contaminating the wine. Someone to help by holding the siphone tube/wire at the bottom of your jug may be a good idea but I can manage it on my own. A healt inspector may disagree but I'm not making wine for sale.
 

whippetgood

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I haven't noticed any negative affect pouring. Though I usually siphon. If you barrel age you are exposing the wine to a lot more oxygen then you are going to get from pouring once. I would say white is a little more susceptible then red to oxygen but as long as you sulfite levels are good. You should be fine. In fact if I have a small carboy of wine that is to small to fill a barrel, I will pour it to another carboy just to put oxygen on it, once every 6 months. That seems to help the nose and bring it to maturity a little faster.
 

Pavel314

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If you're making sparkling wine, should you avoid degassing after the primary ferment? Why remove CO2 from solution if that's what you want in the final product?
 

cimbaliw

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Maybe it's just me but I think oxygen gets a little too much respect among home wine makers. Perhaps my taste buds have been eroded over time but for all of the poured top ups, loose bungs, too much head space batches out there, most remain drinkable if not down right tasty. Not to mention Winexpert recommending to stay away from topping up (I still can't bring myself to not do it).

I guess the questions for me are how much exposure is too much and over what time period? For example does x quantity of exposure over one week wiled the same effect as the same amount of oxygen over a much longer period? My wines tend to reach peak flavor between 1 and 3 years. The more tannins I add, the more the peak flavor curve gets pushed to the right.

Sorry for the rant, I just think it's hard to ruin a batch of wine.

BC
 

turkeylipz

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Don't be afraid to siphon. I sometimes prefer it to using an auto-siphon or my vacuum pump just for ease....and the fact that a good swig and swirl of vodka is all it takes to sanitize your mouth. Maybe take 2 just to be sure.
 

onlyreds

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You should also give serious thought to bottle sparging with an Argon/CO2 mix to remove ambient air just before filling. I found a great and inexpensive unit from Evergreen Midwest. I sparge my carboys prior to racking and even my Letina tank. Every commercial winery sparges and I urge anyone that's even the least bit concerned about oxidation to sparge. I intend to enjoy my wines at my kids' weddings. They're just starting middle school. One word: SPARGE.
 

onlyreds

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Wines & Vines is a great monthly trade journal. As to oxidation and contact with air in general, I strongly recommend that you sparge when racking, and absolutely sparge at bottling. I use a 2 bottle sparger from Evergreen Midwest. Super affordable. I added a quick connect and run a line to my Argon/CO2 tank. No ambient air touches my wines till they're in a glass or a decanter. I intend to pour my wines for the next decade. Ok, I keep them properly cellared too.
 

Pavel314

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I sparge my wine using an empty seltzer bottle. After racking to a new carboy, if there's too much head room, I put a cartridge in an old seltzer bottle that I keep in the wine cellar and fill the headroom with CO2.
 

NorCal

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Interesting. I've never given much worry about wine exposure over short periods of time, like topping and racking. I don't see the wine being that fragile. If O2 exposure is a function of surface area X time, then the amount of exposure is negligible when racking/topping. Maybe my thinking is wrong?
 

Johnd

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Interesting. I've never given much worry about wine exposure over short periods of time, like topping and racking. I don't see the wine being that fragile. If O2 exposure is a function of surface area X time, then the amount of exposure is negligible when racking/topping. Maybe my thinking is wrong?
If your thinking is wrong, then you, me, and a lot of others are in big trouble!! Not to bash anyone who is concerned with o2 exposure and takes action, but without O2, wine would grow older, but not "age" gracefully. Understanding oxygen exposure and integrating it based on our own winemaking style and preference, is a choice. Some choose none, some plenty, others somewhere in the middle.
 

JohnT

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IMHO, sparging is expensive and unnecessary for the home wine maker. The single, best, and most effective method in preventing oxidation is to maintain an appropriate PH and SO2 levels before corking, eliminating headspace (or long term exposure to O2), and store the wine under the right conditions (cool, humid, and dark).

Do not fear O2 so much! At a microscopic level, O2 is even beneficial. Micro-oxidation is the basis for a wine's ageing and becoming more mellow and less bitter.

I just want to make sure those that do not sparge do not panic. Sparging really is a ton of prevention for an ounce of cure.
 

Scooter68

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I got into wine making for two reasons -

1) To make wines I can't buy or cannot justify buying even if I can find them.
2) To have fun with a hobby that rewards not just me but family and friends.

If I thought O2 was a major or even a significant headache - I'm afraid that a huge amount of the FUN factor would be gone. There are just too many ways to 'violate' the rules some have about oxygen exposure and the 'dangers' thereof. I do reasonable things and avoid splashing my wine about unless I have a issue to deal with like degassing or SO2 smells. I'm a hobby wine maker with a limited budget in this for fun and enjoyment. Add a ton of costs and 'special' processes or rules and I'm not having fun anymore.

I'm in this for the fun - take that away and I will give this up.
 

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