Sunday, June 11, 2006

2nd racking of '05 Chez Ray wines

OK, now there's some real work to be done. The carboys have been in the basement with the wine sitting on its light lees. Been a couple of months. Time for a second racking to pull wine off its lees and get a bit of potassium metabisulfite (preservative) into the mix. Here's a picture of the overall setup.

Gosh, what a mess. Ignoring that for now, focus on the full carboys sitting up top of the refrigerator, the tubing and the empty carboy on the floor. The idea is that a siphon from the top carboy will bring wine to the lower carboy. A tube in the upper carboy reaches ALMOST to the bottom of that carboy, stopping just above the sludgy layer of lees at the bottom.

What I use in the upper carboy to get the siphon started is this contraption:

This rubber stopper with two tubes is an inexpensive item I purchased from Presque Isle Wine Cellars that lets me start the siphon by blowing air into the little tube, forcing wine into the longer siphon tube.

The wine (in this case dry blackberry wine) heads towards an empty, clean, sanitized lower carboy:

The inside of the carboy is immaculate. Everything around it... well, that's another story. In the bottom of the clean 3 gallon carboy is a scant 1/4 teaspoon of potassium metabisulphite. It will be mixed into the wine as the siphon begins:

Wait a while for this carboy to fill, unhook the siphon, top up the lower carboy, clean the sludge from the upper carboy, then sanitize it. Then repeat this whole process 14 times and you get: 1) a basement full of clean, racked, preserved wine still aging in oak:

and: 2) a pair of tannic, stained, impossible to clean hands, characteristic of the busy home winemaker:

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