Wine Words Demystified: Racking

You know the deal; the more some folks learn about a topic, the more shortcuts/slang/acronyms/initials/technical jargon can be tossed around.  I’m here to help you understand those sometimes mysterious words and phrases, thus - Wine Words Demystified!  Harvest is pretty much done here in Northern California! This will be the last of my harvest focused Wine Words Demystified posts 

This week’s word is Racking..

According to Karen MacNeil‘s The Wine Bible:

A method of clarifying a wine that has SETTLED by siphoning or pumping off solids and particulate matter, such as yeast cells and bits of grape skins, and pouring it into a different clean barrel.  Racking also aerates a wine. 

Not only is the purpose of the process of racking wine to separate solids adn particulate matter such as lees from wine, it also enables clarification and aids in stabilization.

Racking Wine

Image courtesy of wineormous.com

A racking hose or tubing is used to remove the wine from one vessel to another. The racking process is repeated several times during the aging of wine.

Here’s a video of that shows the racking process - How To Make Wine-Step 2-Racking.

Related posts you might like:

 

Wine Words Demystified: Must

You know the deal; the more some folks learn about a topic, the more shortcuts/slang/acronyms/initials/technical jargon can be tossed around.  I’m here to help you understand those sometimes mysterious words and phrases, thus - Wine Words Demystified!  Since harvest is in full effect here in Northern California, I’ll be featuring harvest related terms the next several weeks!

This week’s word is Must...

According to Karen MacNeil‘s The Wine Bible:

The juice and liquidy pulp produced by crushing or pressing grapes before fermentation. 

The solid portion of the must, composed of skins, seeds, and sometimes stems, is called pomace.  Making must is the first step in the winemaking process.

Must

Crushed or pressed grapes create must – Image courtesy of Wikipedia

After the must is created, it is transferred to tanks or fermenting bins to cold soak for a period of time.  The length of time that the pomace stays in the juice is a crucial determinant in the final character of the wine.  It’s a key factor in determining a wine’s color, flavors and aromas. Once the winemaker determines the time is right, the juice is drained off the pomace and fermentation is started. It’s fermentation that turns the juice into wine!

The leftover pomace is typically returned to the vineyard for fertilizer.

Related posts you might like:

Wine Words Demystified: Cap

You know the deal; the more some folks learn about a topic, the more shortcuts/slang/acronyms/initials/technical jargon can be tossed around.  I’m here to help you understand those sometimes mysterious words and phrases, thus - Wine Words Demystified!

This week’s word is Cap…

According to Karen MacNeil‘s The Wine Bible:

The crusty layer, up to two feet or more deep, of grape skins, pulp, stems, and seeds that rises and floats to the top of the juice during a red wine’s FERMENTATION.  The cap mus be kept in contact with the juice by one of several methods…Only if the cap is thoroughly in  contact with the ALCOHOL in the fermenting juice can COLOR, AROMAS, flavor and TANNINS be extracted

A cap is created when grape skins, pulp, etc. are  forced by rising carbon dioxide gas to the top of the fermentation vessel during fermentation.  Especially during the making of red wine, contact between juice and skins allows the wine to develop its rich color, aromas, flavors and enhances its tannin complexity.

Here’s a short vid of a wine cap…

There are two generally accepted methods for keeping the cap in contact with the juice during fermentation – “pumping over” and  ”punching down’.

Here’s a short clip of  what the “pumping over” process looks like…

Here’s a short clip of  what the “punching down” process looks like…

A third more modern and efficient method of keeping the cap in contact with the juice during maceration is called the “ pneumatage process” (click here for a video), in which compressed air or gas is sequentially injected into the juice.

Cheers!