Step 3: Racking, Aging, and Bottling

Racking: Racking is essential in the fermentation phase; this is defined as separating the wine from the sediment throughout fermentation by siphoning off the wine from the top of the fermentation vessel. When to do this can be determined using a hydrometer and evaluating the “specific gravity” of the must. When the specific gravity is around 1.03 it is ready for a separation at the end of the primary fermentation, and after the secondary fermentation, it will also be required before bottling the wine as you want all the yeast sediments to settle out. This can take up to 2 or more weeks to obtain a quality sediment free wine ready to bottle. Most importantly BE PATIENT! The most common mistake for beginning wine makers is bottling the wine too early and allowing gasses and sediments to remain in the final product. Giving your solution ample time to fermentation is crucial when learning how to make wine.

Aging: after you have siphoned off all of the clear wine into an aging vessel (preferably a glass carboy) you should keep the wine under airlock. Aging is an important step and can take anywhere from 6-12 months, so get started today, it is well worth the effort and your family and friends will be impressed by the delicious homemade spirit you have nurtured to perfection!

Bottling: Save your wine bottles! Wash them and store them, you can remove the labels easily using steel wool and hot water, then, when you are ready to bottle all you have to do is fill and re-cork the bottles, and re label with printable labels, store the the rest and enjoy!