Racking Wine

What is Wine Racking?

It’s simply the process of transferring the wine from one container to another. Winemakers typically do this in one of three ways. Either with a siphon, pump or with pressurized gas.

The different ways to Rack Wine.

Siphon: When working with small volumes of wine one of the easiest and low-cost solutions is to use gravity and create a siphon between vessels. This does require the filled wine container you’re racking out of be situated higher than the vessel you’re racking the wine into. So you will need the ability or a way to lift the filled wine container safely.

Pumps: When you’re working with larger volumes of wine a simple siphon is just not feasible. A wine pump can be very helpful and convenient in these cases. A pump allows you to quickly move large amounts of wine easily and even vertically. Pumps do however introduce some level of physical agitation to a wine. Very high levels of agitation can become damaging to wine. So it is important to use the right pump and make sure it’s setup correctly as well.

Pressurized Gas: When working with large amounts of wine especially in barrels the most ideal system is a barrel transfer tool and pressurized gas. Using pressurized gas to rack wine is very gentle and fairly easy to work with. When moving wine with pressurized gas it’s important to understand the process and safety steps involved.

Want to learn More! about racking and transfering wine? Click here, to read our article on the subject. If you have any questions about wine racking and what equipment is right for you please give us a call or email by clicking on the “Contact Us” link at the bottom of the page


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Understanding the Wine Racking and Transferring Process

Many first-time winemakers are confused by the term racking. This is an essential process in winemaking, but some instruction books aren’t helpful when it comes to clarifying it. Learn more about this process and find out where to go to order the essential racking equipment you need. Don’t let a lack of gear prevent you from enjoying excellent wine made right in your own home.

Racking Defined

This process simply involves moving wine from one container to another. There are a wide range of ways to perform this essential process. It typically needs to occur between two and four times when making wine. It’s important to handle this process carefully, or the fermentation process may not occur correctly. This could affect the quality of your wine or cause a dangerous buildup of gases in a sealed container. Learn more about and explore the tools of the trade.
Racking allows you to siphon or pump wine in order to remove sediment. By transferring wine from one container to another, the leftover sediment is separated and the fermentation process can occur in an air lock.
This is an important step in the process because this slows down the fermentation process. The first racking should occur after approximately five to seven days of fermentation. The next racking is typically performed after the fermentation process is complete. This can take anywhere from four days to five weeks. Any additional racking steps are simply to remove leftover sediment.

Common Ways To Transfer Wine

There are three common ways to transfer wine from one container to another. Proper racking doesn’t have to be complicated, but it does require a few pieces of equipment. Compare each one before ordering the essential racking equipment:
  • Pumping
  • Siphoning
  • Barrel transferring
A common way to handle large quantities of wine is a wine pump. These systems come in many sizes, shapes and specifications, but they all are capable of pumping wine from one container to another. Use a pump if gravity transfer isn’t possible in your winemaking situation.
Compare pump types before purchasing one for your winemaking project. Some pumps aren’t designed to handle sediment, so they are only used for racking. Other pumps are capable of transferring all the contents of a wine barrel to another.
A wine pump may be a fast and convenient option, but there are a few limitations to this option. An air pocket can create a situation known as cavitation, which prevents your pump from operating effectively. Pumps also disturb the wine as they transfer them, which can affect the characteristics of your wine’s structure.
Siphoning is a traditional and affordable alternative. As long as you have a setup where one vessel can be higher than another, this process works well to gradually separate liquid from the sediment with minimal disruptions. Using a siphoning technique may not be possible or practical if you have a large vessel, so your large batch may need a wine pump or a barrel transfer tool.
Pressurized gas is the secret behind the final wine racking system. A barrel transfer tool uses pressurized gas to gently move wine from one barrel to another. This system can be more costly due to the amount of gas involved, but it’s a great racking technique for large batches if you’re not willing to disturb your wine as you transfer it.

Order Your Racking Equipment Today

Compare each process and determine the best racking technique for your batch of wine. Whether you’re just getting started as a winemaker or you’re looking for professional tools to upgrade your existing setup, shop for wine racking tools today at MoreBeer! Create a convenient setup for your home project or professional project and prepare to experience wine in a totally different way.