Friday, November 20, 2009

Young Oak Vineyards: Volume 46 - Rackin' the Lees

Hi all:

The wine making process does have its "starts" & "stop! So, starting at about 48 hours after pressing, the wine should be "Racked" to remove the "Gross Lees". The Gross Lees are all the dead yeast cells, tiny bits of grape skins and other solids that have settled down to the bottom of the Carboy container after Pressing. And Racking involves siphoning off the wine from one container to another leaving the Gross Lees behind to be discarded, which you can see me doing into my kitchen sink.

I read in one source about pressing the Gross Lees to get more wine volume, but the volume of my Gross Lees is only a couple of quarts with a liquid component of a cup or two. And the reason you want to remove the Gross Lees is because the yeast cells and other solids are organic matter that can start to decay and give you foul off flavors & odors!

During the first Racking, the siphon tube should be place near the top of the new container so that the wine flows down the surface of the Carboy, which you can see happening in the picture to the left. This allows for aeration of the wine one last time. Depending who you talk to, Racking is done several more times, at intervals of at least three weeks. However, unlike the first Racking, the siphon tube is placed at the bottom of the new container to avoid aeration of the wine.

The next "start" is malolactic fermentation, but we'll save that for next time!

Here's to "Beaujolais Nouveau" for Thanksgiving!
John

P.S. - Hey, Young Oak Vineyards Honey will be available at MoreFlavor! (formerly Fermentation Frenzy) right next to Armadillo Wille's, while it lasts!

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