A glass of pinot grigio wine.

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I racked 5 of my Italian wines today. They were bought in fall of 2010, fermented and have been sitting in cold storage after an initial racking. Today I did the second racking. I enjoy tasting the wines at each step as to how they are progressing. I also look at the color of the wine, especially the whites. I racked an Italian Pinot Grigio that was great tasting even at this early stage and had great gold coloring. The wine was very clear and showed no signs of any residual gas. At this stage if the sediment is low, the wine is clear and there is no gas, I mark it as ready to bottle in the spring. If it needs another racking or shows some gas, I will rack it another time before the spring bottling. It is always amazing how the same wine can progress so differently. I had (2) 6-gallon containers of Italian Brunello, a great aging wine with full body and a dry taste. Both of them tasted good and were clear. Sediment was slight but one had some gas while the other had no gas. I will let the one with no gas go until Spring bottling. The one with gas will get another racking in 6-8 weeks.

It is critical to get all the gas out of your wine before bottling (unless you are making an effervescent wine). I use a drill with a long wine stirrer attached to churn up the wine and release any gas. BE VERY CAREFUL TO NOT OVERFLOW THE WINE ESPECIALLY IF THERE IS A LOT OF GAS! Bottling a good dry wine with gas will ruin your wine. It will feel bubbly (like Champaign) on your tongue. Take the time to do the extra racking(s) as needed. Your wine will be greatly improved.