When to rack?

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Jusatele

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I think as we get more experience we change our racking schedules.
When I did my first wine in the 80s, i was told to rack after 2 weeks, again in 2 weeks and every month after that
I now rack the first time according to what I am fermenting, grapes on skins is a week, fruit wines from fruit depends on how the head is developing, usually about 10 days, fruit from extracts or juice as early as 2 weeks, each of those I am balancing getting the heavy must out before it attracts something I do not want.
My second rack depends on how much is settling out. it is normally about a month after the wine started
Racking after that comes from experience with that style of wine and if I am going to use fining agents. Wines that finish quick can get a few rackings before they are 2 months old, wines that take a year can wait a few months before racking as they do not settle lees like quick finishing wines.
In my experience, wines from fruit with high pectin content need a lot more racking unless you use fining agents early.

and, ah, use of fining agents can open a wormhole about when to use them and whether to use them that you need a bag of popcorn to get through.

my advice to a new wine make is to take meticulous notes about everything and let the results you get to create the habits you will use. I think the biggest lessons come from mistakes, and without making mistakes we do not learn.
 

wineview

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If by wine thief, @BigDaveK means one of those three piece plastic ones then I agree. The success of the WT is the ability to create enough suction to cleanly move a small portion wine to test or to taste. I use a single piece glass wine thief that works amazing and creates the necessary amount of suction to move the wine as intended.

BTW, I have a stainless turkey baster (edited) too. It’s my second choice, personally.
I use both depending on how much wine I want to draw out. The wine thief I have is very simple to use. Spray with sanitizer, dip it into the carboy and pull it out. Is there another version out there that I don’t know about?
 

BigDaveK

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I use both depending on how much wine I want to draw out. The wine thief I have is very simple to use. Spray with sanitizer, dip it into the carboy and pull it out. Is there another version out there that I don’t know about?
My wine thief is glass. Bought it 10 years ago when I was making hard cider. Small hole, takes too long to fill, can get clogged. Turkey baster is so much easier and faster that I never looked at different models.
 
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My wine thief is glass. Bought it 10 years ago when I was making hard cider. Small hole, takes too long to fill, can get clogged.
I have 2 thieves. My old one is glass and only takes about 1/2 oz, maybe less. Good for samples.

The other is from FermTech, it is wide enough to hold a hydrometer and is perfect for checking SG with minimal air contact. It's also great for barrel samples where we are really unsure regarding quality and have to make several tests .......
 

BigDaveK

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I have 2 thieves. My old one is glass and only takes about 1/2 oz, maybe less. Good for samples.

The other is from FermTech, it is wide enough to hold a hydrometer and is perfect for checking SG with minimal air contact. It's also great for barrel samples where we are really unsure regarding quality and have to make several tests .......
Bryan, I wasn't familiar with the Fermtech, had to search. Looks handy dandy! HomeBrew Ohio has them for less than 10 bucks so I may add that to my next carboy order. (I should have just bought 20 or 30 carboys to begin with and be done with it. 😄 )
 

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