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Racking wine with a vacuum?

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How far can a vacuum pull wine? Planning for cold stabilization this winter. Need to move wine roughly twenty feet between supply and receiving vessel.
 

Rice_Guy

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On a horizontal I would see no issue with 100 feet, note it will create some bubbles.

Vertical is another issue. Straight water will hold a column of 15 feet (one atmosphere) but when you are racking you will have CO2 in the wine which will want to come out. The only way to get an answer is to test it.
 

Rice_Guy

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I think @Rice_Guy, who rarely misses ANYTHING ❤, got psi and ftH2O confused!
Come on Paul the food engineering courses were 50 years ago and not really useful/ used information since most factory pumping operations never gets close to the maximum. ,,, Put a few more decade on you and RARELY becomes an increasing probability. ,,, typing I debated 32 feet H2O and used the safer number, with dissolved gas he will never get close to maximum.
Thanks 😘
 
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Sorry. Not enough of an engineer to decipher a 34' column of water and extrapolate that to moving wine from one point to another.

The set up looks like this: Some shelves will be placed in a stairway that leads from the basement up to ground level. The stairs are covered with old fashioned Bilco style doors. The bottom of the supply vessels will be approximately eighteen inches above the receiving vessels. The receiving vessels will be located twenty to thirty feet inside the basement.

There are several vacuum pumps available. One is attached to a fifteen amp motor. Another is smaller, originally used to pull a vacuum on a veneer bag, capable of clamping a four by eight sheet of plywood.

Any thoughts as to which pump to use and basic design would be helpful.
 

Rice_Guy

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1) you will have a problem moving up the stairs, the CO2 which is in the wine will make bubbles of gas which will fill the tubing
2) you will not have a problem going flat, yes there will be bubbles but you will manage
3) you can minimize the problem by keeping the change in height to a minimum, example in the garage have the carboy at floor level and in the basement on a milk crate on the work bench
 
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The supply vessel will be above the receiving vessel. Will there be challenges in this configuration?
 

KCCam

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The bottom of the supply vessels will be approximately eighteen inches above the receiving vessels.
If the bottom of the source vessel is 18" above the top of the receiving vessel, you only need enough vacuum to lift the wine out of the source vessel (a few inches?) for a moment, then gravity will take it as far as you want horizontally. A syphon relies on the difference in altitude to maintain the necessary vacuum. The greater the difference, the faster the flow. Attach your long hose to an autosyphon, and one pump should be all you need to get it going, no electricity or vacuum pump required.
 

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If the bottom of the source vessel is 18" above the top of the receiving vessel, you only need enough vacuum to lift the wine out of the source vessel (a few inches?) for a moment, then gravity will take it as far as you want horizontally. A syphon relies on the difference in altitude to maintain the necessary vacuum. The greater the difference, the faster the flow. Attach your long hose to an autosyphon, and one pump should be all you need to get it going, no electricity or vacuum pump required.
Also, note that your hose can even run along the floor of your basement and into the receiving vessel, but when the source is empty, any hose below the level of wine in your receiving vessel will be full of wine, so you need to progressively raise the hose above the level of the receiver as you walk toward it, OR, keep the entire hose gradually sloping toward the receiver for the entire distance.
 

Aleatoric

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I have a strong opinion about this, and after using the Allinone vacuum pump for over 2 years, I can say my opinion is based on working theory, and my results suggest (not prove, but suggest) that I'm correct.

In general, a syphon (siphon) as it relies on atmospheric pressure to function, is basically pushing the liquid into the receiving chamber. As this liquid flows into the receiving chamber, it displaces the air around it, and expels the displaced air out the mouth of the receiving vessel (carboy).

The benefit of syphon is that all you need to is to make sure that the origin vessel is higher than that of the receiving vessel's liquid, and it is silent.

The downside is that you are, no matter how carefully you work, mixing some part of your wine/mead/beer/whatever with oxygen, as O2 is most certainly in the carboy until it is expelled, and some small amount of splashing WILL take place as you transfer.

Now, for vacuum racking, consider that you are sucking a large majority of the oxygen-and-microbe-laden air out of the receiving carboy and replacing it with excess CO2 pulled out of solution from the source carboy. THis protects your wine/beer/mead.

In fact, I have noticed two things while vacuum racking/bottling.

Thing 1: The larger the receiving carboy, the longer it takes for it to start actually sucking liquid. This is because it takes longer for the vacuum pump to evacuate enough of the air in the receiving carboy and create enough negative pressure to allow the atmospheric pressure above the source liquid to flow up in ain. Yes, this is both with and without the source and destination carboys at the same height differential. It's a huge difference observed between, say, bottling into a 12-24oz bottle, or racking into a 1-gallon jug, or a 3/5/6 gallon carboy.

Thing 2: When racking, especially when doing intermediate rackings, say, Rack 2 or 3 from carboy to carboy, and especially with very young/active wine/mead/beer, I have noticed a significant cloud formation, which I can only say is CO2, that forms in the receiving carboy well before the liquid starts to flow. THis is a visual cue, and it is what started me thinking along these lines, and every time I see it, I am happy, for it means that my wine/beer/mead is not becoming oxygenated (or as much) during racking.

I know it is not a perfect vacuum, and indeed, not only is that impossible to create for the home winemaker, but unfeasible. But I strongly recommend the Allinone (or any vacuum pump) as opposed to a pressure (pushing) pump or syphon to anyone who will listen.

And of course for degassing? Yeah .. no brainer. Suck the air out, gently shake the carboy, let it sit for a bit (with a check-valve in bung), repeat a few times, and you're done. No stirring or potential infection or oxygenation.

Cheers!
 

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I have noticed a significant cloud formation, which I can only say is CO2
It's definitely not CO2. Most likely it's water vapour (like a normal cloud) condensing due to the drop in temperature caused by the expansion of the gas created by the vacuum. That's how a cloud chamber works. It requires the receiving vessel to contain air close enough to the dew point that the water vapour condenses into droplets before it warms back up to the surrounding temperature again.

As for the rest of your comments, I wholeheartedly agree with your love of the AIO vacuum pump. Best purchase I ever made, other than all the equipment required to make wine, lol.
 

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I have a strong opinion about this, and after using the Allinone vacuum pump for over 2 years, I can say my opinion is based on working theory, and my results suggest (not prove, but suggest) that I'm correct.
I don't really disagree with any of your points. However, I would like to point out that the vacuum level needed in the receiving carboy to initiate flow from the source carboy to the receiving carboy is close to nothing, i.e., VERY close to atmospheric pressure. Complete vacuum corresponds to 30-some feet of height difference between the receiving carboy and the source. Other than the CO2 effect that you (correctly) mention, the effect is proportional. So, if you have your receiving carboy 1 foot above your source carboy, your atmosphere (and O2 exposure) would naively be expected to be reduced by ~1/34 or ~3%. You may have a strong opinion on how important 3% is, but I do not.

I agree that CO2 being released from the source carboy mitigates the O2 exposure, but I (and, I gather, you) have no idea how to quantify this.
 

KCCam

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I don't really disagree with any of your points. However, I would like to point out that the vacuum level needed in the receiving carboy to initiate flow from the source carboy to the receiving carboy is close to nothing, i.e., VERY close to atmospheric pressure. Complete vacuum corresponds to 30-some feet of height difference between the receiving carboy and the source. Other than the CO2 effect that you (correctly) mention, the effect is proportional. So, if you have your receiving carboy 1 foot above your source carboy, your atmosphere (and O2 exposure) would naively be expected to be reduced by ~1/34 or ~3%. You may have a strong opinion on how important 3% is, but I do not.

I agree that CO2 being released from the source carboy mitigates the O2 exposure, but I (and, I gather, you) have no idea how to quantify this.
Ahhhh, but it is better than you suggest, I think, for 2 reasons. First, it decreases the time that oxygen is in contact with the wine because the vacuum transfer tends to be faster than syphon. Second, the transfer starts at very little vacuum, but the pump stays on, and the vacuum increases as the transfer continues. By the end of the transfer in my setup, both vessels at the same height, the pump is pulling about 15" Hg, about half an atmosphere. It would also be possible to evacuate the receiving carboy before allowing the wine transfer to start. My AIO will pull about 22" Hg, which still leaves 25% of the oxygen in the receiver, but a different pump could certainly be used to pull close to perfect vacuum before transfer.

I also agree with you, however, that the benefit achieved from the reduced contact with oxygen would be difficult to quantify. I bought the AIO so I don't have to lift full carboys, to help degas, and for bottling. Anything else is just icing on the cake.
 

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My bottling situation frequently has the source carboy significantly lower than the bottles (like 2-3'). For wine and mead, still, this is fine. For somewhat foamy beer, it is not. As it pulls gas out of the liquid as it transfers, it ends up with the receiving bottle being filled with foam at the end, regardless of how slow I go. If I go TOO slow (vacuum adjuster set real low) it is hard to start the transfer to bottle. I've been known to lift the source carboy at intervals, setting it on higher blocks as I go. I do like it to be lower so that the transfer stops precisely when I release the vacuum.

For certain transfers, I find it necessary to put a check valve inline, so that when I release the vacuum, it does not syphon back to source (when I rack, I want the destination to end up topped up as possible, and the backwash stirs up lees)

When I tell people about the AIO, a big part of my spiel (besides the convenience) is my thing about minimizing oxygen contact. I'm glad it doesn't sound like I'm totally off base, but, agreed .. hard to quantify.
 
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What would the effect be on oxygenation if the receiving vessel is sparged with argon prior to beginning the transfer?
 
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