We are now at part 4 in the wine making process–exciting! So far we have gathered our tools, made the mash for the first ferment, transferred for the second ferment, and now it’s time for another transfer of the wine for the purpose of removing sediment, and if needed, more fermenting time.
Why transfer so many times in the wine making process?
The purpose for transferring our wine from month to month are two-fold. You primarily would transfer your wine every 4 weeks or so because you want to end up with a clear wine. Allowing the sediment to fall to the bottom for a few weeks between transfers will ensure that outcome.
What You’ll Need for This Step in the Process
Steps to Making the Transfer from Fermenting Bucket to Jug
- Sanitize your 1 gallon jug, stopper, airlock, and racking cane and siphon tool.
- Watch the airlock in the filled wine jug to see if there is any fermentation still happening. If you don’t see any in the space of two minutes time, your wine is done fermenting. You will not want to skip this step, because you will need this knowledge for later.
- When your equipment is dry, place the siphon hose into the clean jug.
- Carefully put the racking cane into the wine, being careful not to put it in too far so as to cause overflow. Gently pump some of the wine into the clean jug so that you can get the racking cane down into the jug completely.
- Once you have the racking cane touching the bottom of the jug, begin pumping the wine into the new jug. Be very careful not to move the racking cane around as that will disturb the sediment.
- Once you get to within a few inches of the sediment line at the bottom of the jug, you can carefully tip the jug to get as much of the wine out as possible without kicking up the sediment with the racking cane.
- When your new jug is filled, you will notice that there is more head space in the new jug than there was in the last one. That’s okay, we can fix that.
- IF YOU OBSERVED FERMENTATION ACTIVITY IN THE AIRLOCK (STEP 2): This means that your wine is not yet finished fermenting, and it’s okay to top your jug up with tap water leaving an inch of head space in the jug. This is okay because any oxygen in the tap water will be expelled through the airlock in the fermentation process.
- IF YOU DID NOT OBSERVE FERMENTATION ACTIVITY IN THE AIRLOCK: This means that your wine is finished fermenting, and you will need to remove the oxygen from the water you use to top off your wine before you pour it in. Simply boil some water, then allow it to cool to room temperature before topping up. (make sure to put a clean airlock on the newly filled wine jug to keep out bacteria while you are waiting)
So what’s next?
At this point in the wine making process, we will be waiting a few more weeks to see if we need to continue clearing sediment, or if we can bottle our wine! Stay tuned!