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How to Rack Wine

Overview

Learning how to rack wine is a key skill that the wine maker must master in order to efficiently transfer wine from on container to another.

Racking wine is done to transfer wine off of the particles that fall to the bottom of the carboy or barrel (known as lees).



It is important to rack wine rather that pouring wine, as racking wine (if done correctly) transfers the wine with aerating the wine. Pouring wine from one vessel to another may introduce too much oxygen into the wine, and risk oxidation of the wine.

To rack wine, you will need the following equipment:

  • A siphoning tube
  • A container to rack the wine into
  • A counter, table, or stand that is higher than the container that you are transferring the wine into.

How to Rack Wine

  1. Sterilize your siphon tube with meta solution.
  2. Place the carboy or container containing the wine that you wish to rack from on a counter, table or stand (the from carboy)
  3. Place the carboy or container that you wish to rack to on the floor below your counter table or stand (the "to carboy”).
    • It is very important that the “from carboy” be higher than the tallest portion of the “to carboy” or else the wine racking process will not work.
  4. Insert one end of your siphon into the “from carboy”.
    • Tip: Assure the bottom of the siphon tube is located just above the sediment layer that is deposited on the bottom of the "from carboy"
  5. Suck on the other end of the tube (like your are drinking from a straw) until the wine begins to flow.
  6. Quickly place the siphon tube in the “to carboy”.
    • This takes a little practice to do without getting a mouthful of wine or spilling.


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