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Hits 20804 | Created 2007-12-20 | Modified 2007-12-20

As your wine ferments it will gather a layer of sediment, or lees, on the bottom of the fermentation jar. Whenever you get a good inch of so of the stuff, you should rack the wine off to avoid the possibility of spoiling the wine.

You should never leave fermenting wine on sediment for more than four weeks without racking.

When your wine has finished fermenting, you should rack it off and leave it to clear before bottling it.


You will need:

Another sterile gallon container (preferably another fermentation jar).
A length of sterilised plastic tubing.

Place the fermentation jar at a level higher than the new jar (or container) being careful not to shake up the sediment too much.

Put one end of the tube into the jar full of wine, and lower carefully until about an inch above the sediment layer.

Ensuring that your head is below the level of the bottom of this end of the tube, suck on the other until the wine approaches your lips, at this point, allow the wine to flow into the new jar, not into your mouth...

If you have the jars at the correct levels, the new jar will fill up, and the old one empty.

You can suck up the wine until just above the sediment layer, but be careful not to go too close.

Fix a fermentation lock onto the new jar and continue fermentation as normal.

If you used a temporary container, you'll have to cover it, clean and sterilise your original jar, rinse, let it dry a while, then transfer the contents back into it using the same method.

Wine Making Index

Comment Racking comment by Michele Hits | Last Modified 2008-11-15
Hi - I know this is a really dumb question but how do you tell when your wine has stopped fermenting? Is it when it stops bubbling? I put some strained apple pulp into some demi-johns 1 month ago and it was bubbling away nicely but has now stopped. Does it continue fermenting even if it isn't bubbling? Thanks
Comment Racking comment by Ralpharama Hits | Last Modified 2008-11-15
Wine will start to clear from the top to the bottom when finished. A month sounds too soon.
Try these links:
Comment Racking comment by Trudy Hits | Last Modified 2009-10-05
My pulp is really thick so after hours of trying to filter through muslin, cooking sieves etc I have decided to add double the water and add the oranges and lemons that I didn't put in in the first place to add a bit more flavour. Bubbling like mad. I am not adding the chemicals ie nutients and enzymes etc will it matter too much?
Comment Racking comment by Ralpharama Hits | Last Modified 2009-10-05
Trudy, only time will tell, but hopefully. Another way to do this is to use some sterile cloth and squeeze the pulp in it by twisting.
Comment Racking comment by Regenia Hits | Last Modified 2009-10-12
I do not like lemons, are the lemons and oranges needed? Is there a substitute? This is my first ever batch and have started it sort of on the spur of the moment when I had to many apples to can. This sure sounds fun.. I cant find a fermintation jar around where I live what is the best common thing I can buy to use and how do I use it?? thks a bunch
Comment Racking comment by Regina Hits | Last Modified 2009-10-12
You need the citrus fruits in some recipes - don't worry, it won't taste of lemon or orange really. A fermentation jar alternative? You can make it in anything you can make sterile, a plastic bucket with cling film over the top would be okay - secure it tightly (with rubber bands perhaps) and if the pressure looks too intense, puncture with a pin to let pressure escape. Any other suggestions people?
Comment Racking comment by Julie Hits | Last Modified 2010-10-13
Hi, this is my first time at making wine and like all things new i am very wary.

I had and inch of sedimnet at the bottom of the demi-johns so have just racked it off for the 1st time, but now the fermentation seems to have slowed right down. Is this normal?
Comment Racking comment by Ralpharama Hits | Last Modified 2010-10-13
I'm not aware of racking causing the fermentation to slow down. Is it the same temperature as before? Is the wine starting to clear? It is normal for fermentation to gradually slow as the wine progresses...
Comment Racking comment by paul Hits | Last Modified 2013-02-19
I've racked wine before and noticed the fermentaion dramaticaly decreased is this normal?

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