I’m finally down to the second-last step in making my first batch of wine!After adding the wine preservatives and clearing agent, and mixing the hell out of the wine to degas it… and letting the solids settle, the kit instructions say you have to rack the wine. This will help to “polish” the wine when you end up bottling it, which (I think) more than anything is for the aesthetic value of having a brilliantly crystal clear liquid in your glass. The taste isn’t likely to be adversely affected, it just might looks a little cloudy. I could however, be very very wrong. Please correct me if that’s the case.
Again, cleaning and sanitizing are paramount in each step you take. Since I only have the one carboy and airlock I had to rack the wine into my primary fermenter, then clean and sanitize the carboy and siphon it back into the carboy. I probably didn’t need to take that extra step. I could have just racked once into the primary and let it sit for another week before bottling with an air tight lid…. but part of the idea of being in the carboy is when it’s properly topped up there is very little surface area exposed which will help prevent or minimize oxidization and spoiling.
I did get a chance to try out my new auto-siphon though. Rather than dipping the siphon rod in the wine and sucking on the other end of the hose to start it going, you operate a small pump with a one way valve and that starts the siphon for you. It helped prevent my stirring up the sediment, which would be bad since the whole idea for racking at this point is to leave the solids behind. It also helps you from getting a mouthful of the wine…. not like that’s a bad thing though I really really like how the auto-siphon works. It made starting the siphon really easy. The only thing that could have made it better was to have a slightly longer hose. After racking twice there was some wine loss, so I topped up the carboy with some cool fresh water, replaced the airlock and heat belt, and now I keep waiting.
One perk of there being a little wine left over in the siphon hose and in the bucket was that I had a chance to try it. I poured it into a glass (it was probably only about 2 ounces), and sampled. It was good. I am really looking forward to sharing it with friends and family.