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Second racking: topping up

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yaeyama

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\Hi, I just did my 2nd racking after a 10 day sit on the lees, as recommended by my recipe book. HOWEVER, there was a *lot* of sediment, and I ended up having to compensate for about 3 litres of wine (3/4 of a gallon!). Mind you, my original wine level when going from primary to secondary was lower than I would have liked, but I was worried about blowing foam, so I gave it a bit of head room.

I compensated by adding several bags of marbles (which, surprisingly, didn't really seem to do much for me :p ) followed by a full 2 litres of water. :( I was really tempted to draw over some of the lees to avoid throwing so much away. But, I stopped myself. :p

My starting gravity when I made the must was between 1.110 and 1.120 (I was supposed to shoot for 1.100, but I had a hell of a time using my hydrometer on my first go of it), and prior to reracking earlier it was between 0.960 and 0.970. (By the way, is that about 16% ABV?) I didn't take another reading after adding all that water, so I assume it is down about 1% point after topping up.

My recipe book mentions that the recipes therein were designed to specifically allow for topping up with cold water, and so I shouldn't be worried about dilution. Plus, the recipes allow me to top up at every racking, but I didn't need to do so when I went from primary to secondary. So, even though I have added 2 litres this time around, some of that is a "freebie" since I didn't do it last time.

The thing that I am worried about though is, the book doesn't mention how much I would be expected to top up. I was hoping for 1/2 litre or so, not almost a gallon!! The wine is still a rich, dark peachy colour so perhaps I haven't overly diluted it yet.

My next racking is planned for 3 weeks from now. Next time I will have to be very careful when I re-rack. If possible, I do NOT want to top up next time around. However, I don't think I will be able to afford the truckload or so of marbles that I would need to avoid it.

Your thoughts, advice would be appreciated.
 

Sacalait

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Get yourself a gallon (glass) of relatively cheap wine from the corner grocery and use that for topping up. When you're done with the top-up gal. you've got a dandy 1gal carboy for small batches or use it on over runs.
 

yaeyama

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Get yourself a gallon (glass) of relatively cheap wine from the corner grocery and use that for topping up. When you're done with the top-up gal. you've got a dandy 1gal carboy for small batches or use it on over runs.
I like the idea in general (I am definitely interested in getting a gallon jug for future small batches), but I'm somewhat averse to pouring commercial wine into my pure, 100% natural, using top quality ingredients selected by myself, made with the utmost care, peach wine. :)

Besides, wouldn't it alter the flavour of what I'm trying to go after? :)
 

Sacalait

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Yes it may depending on how much you add. I try keeping a gal. of the wine I've made from other batches just for topping up since it seems I've always got wine going in different stages. If you want a gal carboy I think my method is the most economical but you can purchase them empty.
 

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Rocco
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Topping Off

Personally I have never topped my wine off with water. I use a commercial wine similar to the type of wine I am making to avoid changing the flavor. Whenever I have to top my wine it is usually with less than 2 or 3 oz. However, if you need to top off with 3/4 of a gal I would recommend transferring the wine to smaller vessels, perhaps a 3 gal carboy and two 1 gal jugs this way you will need to top off less. Adding 3/4 gal of water will certainly dilute your wine. I am basing my assumption on a 5 - 6 gal batch of wine.
 
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