Raking the wine - how often ?

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adrianvas12

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Greetings winemakers - love this place and thank you for all the valuable feedback.
I am making wine from juice and grapes depending of availability; recently I noticed that some of the juice kits end up with a bitter, funny after taste.
I was told that it may be due to not raking often enough - that is we should rake the juice within 10 days after fermentation started and several times after.

The ideea is that the dead yeast, organism are causing the after taste and raking should help with this. I did not add anything to the juice - this is a Riesling.

What do you think - how often should we rake the juice?
Thank you.
AV
 

cmason1957

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This is what I do YMMV. Rack when down to about 1.010 or lower. Wait 10-20 days (if fresh grapes that becomes a day or two) rack. Rack every three months or so adding 1/4 tsp K-Meta every other time. At 9 months to a year bottle. If there is much in the way of lees on the bottom of the carboy rack before bottling.

That bitter funny taste goes away with time.
 

salcoco

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I follow the rule of threes. Once fermentation is complete and wine is racked into secondary, rack after three days. this removes the wine from gross lees which can give many different aromas and taste to wine. Start MLF if desired if not add K-meta at this point. rack again in three weeks unless MLF is planned. this removes from fine lees. rack again every three months adding K-meta each time.
 

NorCal

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From grapes I press, 1-2 days I rack off gross lees. Rack again post mlf say 3 months, rack in April, rack and filter in July when bottling.
 

Scooter68

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The time between racking depends on how much sediment is left mostly. Unless there's a lot of sediment and the wine is clearing nicely, once every 2-3 months if fine. Normally the first 3 months are when you rack most often, after that just keep the airlock cleaned and topped off.
 

Brickhouse

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The time between racking depends on how much sediment is left mostly. Unless there's a lot of sediment and the wine is clearing nicely, once every 2-3 months if fine. Normally the first 3 months are when you rack most often, after that just keep the airlock cleaned and topped off.
Are you saying in the first 1-3 months of bulk aging it is ok to rack a few times?

My first batch will enter the bulk age phase in about a week. In that first 3 months do you recommend a rack in the middle somewhere?
 

NorCal

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Are you saying in the first 1-3 months of bulk aging it is ok to rack a few times?

My first batch will enter the bulk age phase in about a week. In that first 3 months do you recommend a rack in the middle somewhere?
Depends if it needs it. I suspect with a kit and no mlf, one racking will suffice. More is not always better.
 

Scooter68

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The amount of racking depends on the amount of sediment in the carboy. If you are still getting enough that you can measure on the order of 1/4", 1/2" etc. - Then yes rack it. Racking always disturbs the sediment to some degree regardless how careful you are, so the sooner you get it down to very fine very small amounts the sooner your wine can clear completely. We aren't talking about racking once a week. More like
1) Primary to secondary container (When SG is approx 1.020-1.010)
2) Secondary to clean carboy with addition of K-meta (When Fermentation is completed or you terminate it)

In one sense after 2) you are starting to age the wine BUT you want the lees down to a minimum because they can add in flavors and characteristics you don't want.

3) Rack to remove Lees in 1-2 weeks - if you see significant lees accumulated
4) Rack when more significant lees have accumulated BUT wait until you you don't see a steady increase in the quantity. (2-3 weeks) Add K-Meta
5) The ideal would be to leave this racking for at least 2 months or even 3 but if significant lees are still collecting on the bottom, you may want to rack again in 1-2 months time.
From that point on at least 2-3 months between racking and adding K-meta (Campden Tabs) every other rack.

Keep in mind that IF you are going to backsweeten, you will need to stablize the wine before doing that. I normally add my campden tabs and sorbate to a clean carboy and rack into that.

In about a week after stabilizing I do my back-sweetening starting with 1 cup of wine. Once I determine how much I'm adding, then I put that in a clean carboy and rack the wine into that. Then I wait at least a week before bottling just in case anything precipitates out.

If I plan on filtering I would do that just before bottling.

Bottom line is you will establish a routine for your wine making that works for you and produces the best wine.
 

adrianvas12

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Thank you everyone - very useful information. I guess the conclusion is that raking helps.
 
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