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Wine Making at Crushpad: Racking Wines

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Hello everybody out there! This is Kian again. And now, I wanted to kind of go over some of the side activities that happen here at the winery. As you can see, we do not have any activity as far as crushing is going on. We are in the middle of June, so at this point, we are what you would consider downtime so to speak, since there is no real harvest activity. But what happens at this point is other components in the wine making cycle particularly with red wines and one big one is racking. Now, why would one rack their red wine particularly their Cabernets. Cabernets are young wines for the most part, they have a lot of sediment that forms and settles to the bottom of the barrel over the course of time and every three to four months, we actually go through and separate the sediment from the wine, kind of a way of clarifying the wine during its aging. What it also helps to do is give the wine so much needed oxygen, because it does need to get out there and stretch its legs out so to speak. Cabernet can become quite still, can be become quite close if you leave it in the barrel for too long. It is unlike a Pinot or a Syrah that can be somewhat fragile and you do not want to take apart too much of the bright fruit components so you do not rack those wines as often. But with Cabernet, you do want to give the wine a good bit of airiation for the first year or so. And then as we move closer to bottling, 12 months, 14 months,16 months down the road, we tend to limit the oxygen pick up and do more of a anaerobic racking which we are going to show you today. The racking that we are doing today actually is a racking to tank because we are getting ready to bottle this wine. This is actually Randy Cunningham’s 2006 To-Kalon and he is actually present here to oversee the racking with us. So, what we are going to do is we are going to have Connor hook it up and you can see the process of the racking. What Connor has here is a bulldog pump system. It does not include a pump which is great because that means the wine gets gentle handling and what it does is, there is nitrogen that is introduced into the barrel that pushes the wine out into the tank. These are variable capacity stainless steel tanks, the lid is already at the bottom of the tank, the tank has been spurged with argon so there is no oxygen in there and the wine is going to slowly go into the tank and push the lid up So, this is our stainless steel tanks that we are using as we are doing the rackings, particularly as we get ready for bottling. These are the tanks that we use for bottling and the lid that you see right here, is actually at the bottom of the tank at the beginning of the racking and as the wine is going into the tank and filling it up, the lid raises up nice and slowly. Keeps the oxygen pick up at a minimum because we do spurge the tank with argon at the beginning so there is a very little oxygen pick up in the wine, which is imperative as you get ready for bottling. So, as I was mentioning there is the two different rackings that we do, we do the airative racking which we can do by gravity and that is where we bring the forklift, lift the barrels up and actually siphon the wine from one barrel to the receiving barrel. And the other type of racking is the racking by nitrogen which basically limits the oxygen pick up but again maintains that softness or that gentle handling of the wine. A lot of our rackings for Cabernets is done barrel to barrel. What we have in our program here at Crushpad is a rotation program when it comes to barrel aging of Cabernets. And the Syrah for that matter, pretty much all our red wines and with the rotation program, a particular client’s wines starts in one type of barrel. And then as it gets going through its racking cycle, will then get transferred to another type of barrel whether it’s another new barrel or whether they want to go into a once used or neutral, depending on the amount of oak complexity they want in their wine. So, as we are doing the racking, you notice that this unit right here, the bulldog pump, has a side glass. It`s very important to monitor the clarity of the wine, because as you start getting towards the end of the barrel, you’ll start to pick up some of the sediment that is already at the bottom. Especially right now close to bottling time. It’s very important that you do a very clean racking, so that if you have a client that wants to go unfiltered with the bottling , you can have a very clean wine and you don`t have sediment forming or settling down on the bottom. Somebody may wanna know if we rack white wines. Now, white wines, a lot of times, they actually sit on their gross lees because we do what is called battonage or steering, where you steer the lees into suspension and allow the wine to become rounder and fleshier and creamier. So a lot of times you don`t want to separate the wine from the lees. You wanna keep the contact with those gross lees right from the beginning or towards the end of fermentation. And you also don’t wanna give the white wine a lot of air, so you really limit the air exposure. So for the most part, we really don`t do any racking with white wines. So once the racking is finished, whether we are doing barrel to barrel early in the wine’s life or as we are getting ready to bottle the wine we do do the topping with the same variety and vineyard, so that we can maintain the consistency and the integrity of that wine. Kian, I really want to thank you and the whole team here at crush pad for working with our 2006 To-Kalon barrel. It’s been an absolute adventure and quite a learning experience and we really… on behalf of our entire barrel team, we appreciate it .

Video Details

Duration: 6 minutes and 1 second
Country: United States
Language: English
Producer: Karen campillay / Marina Galleguillos. translators english/spanish.
Director: Karen campillay / Marina Galleguillos. translators english/spanish.
Views: 210
Posted by: the_best_wine on Jun 3, 2010

Racking is drawing the clear wine off the top of the lees (yeast cells,sediment) which settle to the bottom of barrels during aging. The process is done to clarify wines & move them to new barrels to add extra complexity

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