WineXpert question on clarifying & racking

Winemaking Talk - Winemaking Forum

Help Support Winemaking Talk - Winemaking Forum:

This site may earn a commission from merchant affiliate links, including eBay, Amazon, and others.


Sep 18, 2009
Reaction score
OK, my kits have been sitting for 21 days after stirring & adding the clarifyers. I plan on racking them tomorrow. If you look at the attached picture, there is about 1" of sediment sitting at the bottom of the carboy. I asume this is normal, since the clarifiers attached themselves to the solids, and sank to the bottom of the barrel.

My question is, how carefull do I have to be in not sucking up any of that sludge at the bottom? Should I leave maybe 1/4" of good dark wine on top of the sludge layer, to ensure not getting any of it? should I not be that carefull?

Once again, it looks like I will be adding about 1-1/2 bottles to top up. Last time I racked it was 4-1/2 bottles. I want to make sure I am doing this right, but I don't want to waste any of the good stuff.

Any advice you can give would be appreciated.

PB130323 (Small).JPG
The sediment (or lees) look normal to me - I get about the same amount when using the standard clearing stuff that comes with kits (chitosan/kieselsol).

The lees are usually stable enough that I am able to rack all but about a few ounces of the wine out. I am VERY careful not to disturb the lees, and as the level gets to about an inch or so, I GENTLY tilt the caboy toward the wand entrance - you can see the wine as it comes through the wand, and tell whether you are getting debris. I assume you are racking into either a bucket to bottle, or another carboy to age and settle (I rack to another carboy, and let the wine sit for months before racking for bottling). If you are allowing the wine to sit in a carboy for a while, there is no reason to be too paranoid about getting some debris with this racking - it will just settle out.

It sounds like you are losing a lot of wine, if you had to top up with 4.5 bottles. You certainly will lose a lot with the first racking from fermentation to clearing (all the wood chips/grapes/etc), and then you'll lose a bit more with the clearing. I think I usually lose about 8 ounces or so when racking off the clearing lees. I hate to waste/lose wine!

Hope this is helpful. I will be racking some wine to clearing today.

After tomorrow, I will leave it in the carboy for 50 days before I bottle.
What are you using to transfer? Just be careful when transferring as you dont want to disturb the lees. Leave as much as you can.
What kind of wine is it? You may want to rack again before bottling depending on how much more setteling you have. If a white I would rack every 30days till crystal clear.
You are leaving way too much behind. I have made many many kits in my time and yeah the first ones I did as you did but never to that extreme. I have never had to use more then 1 1/2 bottles for any kit. Dont be so concerned about transferring some lees over and worry more about getting all the wine you can. A few more rackings instaed of leaving everything behind and you wont have to use any commercial or left overs from last kit. I dont ever top up anymore and havent in quite awhile. 1 trick is to let the lees compact a little more so thats its not as easily disturbed and another trick is to tilt your carboys so that all the lees build up on 1 side and when ready to rack gently tilt the other way and rack off of the side with no sediment and this will let you get more of your wine and it will be clear also.!
Listen to Wade about tilting the carboys. Its works great. This is my rhubarb that has been racked a few times. I just used some 1x about 10" long. Keeps them very stable.



Gosh..I gotta quit quoting Wade, people are going to start thinking he's my mentor! Heck I've even experienced the same volcano's he has..too many times.:):):)