Racking or Bottling Wine:
Racking wine or beer is simply the process of siphoning the beverage from one vessel to another in order to leave sediment behind. Siphoning is quite different from pouring. Pouring it will just mix the sediment back in. Siphoning leaves the sediment at the bottom of the vessel and also serves to aerate the beverage.
The first time you rack your wine will be when you transfer it form the 5 gallon bucket to a carboy. How often and when you rack depends in part on what you are fermenting. Hard apple cider has more sediment than honey wine for example. Just go with your gut, rack it when you see a fair amount of sediment at the bottom of the carboy. Then do it again in a month or two if you feel like it. Don't rack too much or you can disturb the flavor. Racking three times for the typical brew is perfectly reasonable. Racking is not necessary but if you want a clear and crisp beverage I recommend it at least once after the initial transfer to the carboy
|Carboy on the table with a racking tube resting inside attached to a hose.|
I am pouring water into the hose to get the siphon started.
3. Once the hose is full, with your finger on the end to keep the water in, aim the hose down then start emptying the water into a bowl. It will start to draw the wine into the racking tube and then the plastic hose. Once the wine hits, the first thing you should do is fill a glass for yourself to enjoy then start the transfer. Just pinch or bend the tube to stop the flow between vessels.
|First thing is first, poor yourself a glass to check on the flavor!|
That's it, once you get it started, siphoning is not that tricky. If you don't quite get it on your first go, try again, you'll get it! When you get to the bottom of the wine where all the sediment is the suction will be lost. Sediment is packed full of nutrients, I hold onto it and use it in soups and roasts.
Corking Wine Bottles:
To cork a wine bottle you will need to buy a corker. I have a double lever corker which I spend $36.00 on. You will need some corks. I save all the synthetic corks from store bought wine, as long as it hasn't been punctured all the way through, and reuse them which is an extremely uncool thing to do in the wine world just so you know. I also bought a ton of cheap corks from the brew shop which I think are even a little too cheap in quality for me, I actually prefer my used synthetics.
|Double Lever Corker|
1. If you use real corks, soak them in water prior to corking.
2. Slip the cork into the corker.