Racking – CLK winery

CLK winery is the name my friends gave to the house/garage “winery” we have.  It is really more of a place for three wine loving hobbyists to make a home made wine.  And yesterday was “racking” day # 1.

Racking is a process whereby the wine is siphoned away from its lees (lees are the dead yeast cells that SLOWLY fall to the bottom of the wine and form a bit of a sludge.  This is a process that must be done several times throughout the wine making process.  It is often done with pumps, and sometimes done using gravity – as we did (pictured above).  Just one of the many manual activities necessary for wine making – all activities that contribute to the cost of wine.

After many rackings and before bottling many “professional” wineries will put the wines through one or both of two other processes to remove any solids from the wines.

The first is known as “fining”.  Fining is a process whereby an additive is put into the wine that bonds with the solids and makes them heavier so that they sink rather than float around.  This minimizes the number of necessary rackings by getting these minuscule solids to drop (where they can then be racked) whereby they might otherwise be floating around in the wine.

The second process is called filtering.  This is generally done immediately before bottling.  Basically, a thin pad is inserted into a mechanism while the wine is being pumped towards the bottling machine.  This pad is supposed to catch the minuscule solids before the wine is pumped into the bottles.

Many wines these days advertise “unfiltered”.  There are those who believe that this filtration process strips wines of some of its flavors.  However, skipping this process may also lead tro a wine dropping sediment at a young age.  This sediment is not a flaw – but it is generally undesirable.

OK, been a bit all over the place in this post.  I guess all I’m trying to say is I was racking wines yesterday.  It was not too much fun, especially considering the COOOOLD temperatures.  But it was necessary, and I’m glad racking # 1is done.

Happy NO MANUAL LABOR FOR YOU wine tasting!


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