Racking & Blending
Racking stands for syphoning the wine out of a barrel, cleaning the barrel and then moving the wine back into the barrel. Wine is racked for multiple reasons. First and foremost to remove sediments in a barrel. Secondly to aerate the wine to remove dissolved gasses left over from fermentation and to accelerate ageing in very tannic wines. Thirdly, racking always precedes mixing wines from different barrels or moving the wine from one barrel to another. Wine can be racked by sucking it out with a pump or force of gravity, or by pushing it out with an inert gas. We do not use pumps as some argue that even the gentlest pumps can be detrimental to wine. We use gravity flow whenever possible and inert gas in rare circumstances.
Racking is always followed by cleaning the barrel. This is described on page “Tank & Barrel Management”.
The following picture shows the steps in racking two different barrels while moving the contents between the barrels. The pictures illustrate a barrel switch which we decided to do for the 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon in early 2015, to give the wine in both barrels some exposure to new oak.
For blending we rack different barrels into a blending tank, let the mixture integrate for a few days and then moving the blend back into barrels or the bottling machine. Blending is essential in large wineries where the winemaker has access to a multitude of barrels of various qualities which may complement each other. In our case we did not have that many options to blend up to now because we produce max. 2 barrels and only in 2012 had Merlot in addition to Cabernet Sauvignon. This changed in 2016 as the second vineyard started to produce Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot – we start harvesting Merlot in 2016 which should make it into the blending tank by 2020.
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Last updated: February 28, 2018