All racked Up & No Place to Go



limoncello (Photo credit: Shamballah)

I racked my (2) Californians and (2) Italians one last time before bottling in end of April. The (2) whites were so clear I could see through them clearly. They all tasted great. I will bottle in April and then into cold storage for aging. The Lemoncello was so yellow! I added sugar water and rest of vodka and it is now a little cloudy. It needs to sit until end of April. It should get a good yellow color by then. Then I will strain out lemon peels and bottle it. Lemoncello must be drunk iced in freezer for months. It won’t freeze but it will get syrupy and take the harsh edge off the vodka. Enjoy. Let me know what you are making.


Tis a Good Time of Year

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This is a great time of year for wine making. Not much to do except rack and taste your creations. The wine making process is over and the new wine is aging and maturing. Each time you rack it you get more clarification and you can taste the maturity of your wines. Racking does have a negative side. Racking too often introduces oxygen to your wine. oxygen is wines arch-enemy. It with turn the color of your wine brown and give it a bad flavor if it is allowed. Adding some sulphites at each racking will help fight off the enemy.

It’s a Good Time of the Year


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My Californian juices and Rioja kits are finished fermentation and have been moved to cold storage (a room that stays at 55 degrees F for wine aging) along with my bottles of wine from previous years. My Italian juices are still in secondary fermentation. The specific gravity is around 1.000. After it gets down to .996 or lower, secondary fermentation will be finished. I will then rack off the wine and get rid of any sediments, add water to bring juice back to 6 gallon level and add a 1/4 teaspoon of Potassium Metasulfite to help it age longer. I enjoy drinking my wines 3 years old or older. I typically set aside 5-10 bottles of the 30 for long-term storage (Reserve bottles). I have drunk some of these as old as 6 years. Once the Italians are moved to cold storage there isn’t much to do. I will rack at least one more time to ensure a clear crisp wine. In the spring I buy my Chilean juices and bottle the Californians, Rioja and Italians. The process starts all over again. Home made wine is so much better than most wines to buy commercially.

Aging Wines


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I always love a trip to my wine cellar to choose a wine from my reserved rack. I had a 6-year-old wine last night that was so good. It makes we want all my wine to be 6+ years old but then maybe I wouldn’t love them as much or appreciate them. Home made wines can be so good. You get to make the type of wines you really enjoy drinking. You get to age them or drink them young as you prefer. Most of all you don’t have to pay as much for them. Drink wine and enjoy life.

Wine Making Problems


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The new home winemaker will find many potential problems with his/her wine making. Most are do to a temperature too high or too low, unsterilized equipment or poor techniques. I found a great site that discusses many potential problems and gives advice on how to resolve your problems. You should know what you like in wines and what you don’t. Here are some wine conditions to discuss:

  • Do you like Red, White or Blush wines
  • Do you like sweet, semi dry or dry wines
  • Do you like traditional wines from grapes or wines made from other fruits
  • Do you like aged or new wines
  • Do you like the taste of oak in your wines

Wine making should be enjoyed: the process of creating your wines, storing them, drinking them and sharing them with family and friends. Leave comments and share with my readers what wines you are making and enjoy. Do you have any unusual techniques? Above all please vote on my poll on the Home Page of this BLOG. Thanks for reading!

Snowy Day to Rack my Wine


Tempranillo varietal wine bottle and glass, sh...

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On this day with snow and ice falling, I decided it was a good day to rack my wine. I have two industrial strength wire tables that hold 3 carboys/demijohns each, so I can rack 6 bottles at a time. I first sterilize each piece of equipment I will use. I place a plastic bucket (from the Must) below each bottle and siphon out the wine. I look for clarity as the wine moves into the bucket. The siphon prevents the last bit of wine to be moved with the sediment in it. I then wash the glass bottle and siphon. I use a standard drill with a wine stirrer (you can buy these in any wine making supply store or on the net. I stir the wine to release gasses. If it starts to foam up, STOP or it will overflow onto your floor. I make note in the cellar log of how much gas I find in the wine. You NEVER want to bottle with gas or it will never escape (unless you are making Champaign). I place the bucket of wine up on the wire table and the empty carboy/demijohn below it. Now I re-siphon the wine (clarified) back into the glass bottle. I move the racked wines to the floor and put up any other bottles to be racked on the wire table. I normally leave them settle on the table for 4 to 5 days. This allows the sediment to settle to the bottom of the bottle. Do not move or shake the bottles or the sediment will go back into the wine. I normally taste my wines as I rack them to get a feeling of how they are progressing. They are getting closer to bottling day and then they can be enjoyed.

Home Wine Making


I have been an avid wine maker for about 7 years now. I buy Must (grape juice) from Italy, Chile and California and do some kits as well. I have made a wide variety of wines both red and white from these locales. I have made many kits but mainly do the Spanish Rioja since I have found it hard to find in a Must. I enjoy dry red wines but also enjoy dry whites and ports. I usually add French Oak to my wines for taste.

I will BLOG on the process and my experience as we go forward. I do the Must from Chile in the Spring and the Italian & California Musts in the fall. Kits, of course, can be done any time of year. I have over 1,000 bottles in my cellar mainly so I can drink 3-4 year old wines or later.

If there are any wine makers in South East PA, North East DE or south NJ let me know.

Comments are always welcome. Enjoy your wine.