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Third Racking

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selbynina

Junior
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We started our first wine (Cabernet) last fall. I used "The Way to Make Wine" by Sheridan Warrick and followed his instructions very closely. However, after the second rack, Warrick's book calls for a third racking within a few weeks to remove the tartrate crystals and to add some oak. I do not plan to oak my wine but I am concerned that I should have performed the third racking closer to the second. The wine has been kept at about 55 degrees and the second racking took place in the beginning of December. My question is, have I made a major mistake not doing my third rack soon after my second? Also, should I do the third rack now and then wait for the fourth? How long should I wait for the fourth? Thanks for any help. I really want to get this as right as possible because we worked so hard on it in the beginning. Thanks again

Mike
 

Sacalait

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I'm unfamiliar with Warrick but I'd guess that his main focus was to get the oak into the wine at an appropriate time (his timeline). As for racking , you should be just fine if you're a little late.
 

Luc

Dutch Winemaker
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I am not familiar with the book either but are there any dates mentioned, like months or seasons ???

Tartrate crystals will drop out in the cold.
Now if the temperature rises the crystals are likely
to dissolve again in the wine.
That is maybe the time-schedule the book describes.
Racking in the cold december or january to get the crystals out.

When the crystals drop out the acidity of the wine will
drop also. So maybe that is the clue here.
Watch the acidity, and when it is at the desired level rack the wine.

Luc
 

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Rocco
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I usually only rack my wines 3 times. Once fermentatation is completed. I transfer the wine to a 5 gal carboy, let rest for 7 to 10 days and rack off the gross less (heavy sediment). After about 30 -45 days I do a second racking to remove the fine lees and let clear. If you are not cold stabilizing your wine you can bottle after this step once the wine has cleared. If cold stabilizing the wine then you would want to rack one final time to leave the tartrate crystals behind.

Just as a side note: I don't cold stabilize my red wines and have not had a problem with tartrate crystals developing. My red is usually stored at 60 degrees so the chance of the tartrate crystals developing is not that great. However, I do cold stabilize my white wines so that the tartrate crystals can be removed because I store my whites at about 45 degrees. White wine may take several months to clear after racking off the fine lees so that an additional racking may be needed once the wine is clear.
 
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