Leigh Erwin: Racking A Rosso Fortissimo

Carboy Being Filled With WineHey all!
Just a quick update in case you missed my last entry: my Gewurztraminer wine ingredient kit seems to be going along well, though it’s just a little bit slower coming out of secondary fermentation than the instructions that came with it predicted. It probably has another day or two to go, so I’ll just check the specific gravity every day. By the way, it tastes great for this stage…
On the other hand, the Rosso Fortissimo wine ingredient kit, had a specific gravity of 0.999 which is less than the 1.000 recommended in the instructions that came with it, so it is ready to move into secondary fermentation. This is a process winemakers call racking. That’s where I left off my last post, so I’ll pick up from there!
I gave the Rosso Fortissimo a little taste while I was checking the specific gravity, and I think it’s tasting pretty nice for this early stage. I got a lot of bright cherry character, while my husband made note of some good tannin structure. We’ll see how it develops — but I’m optimistic at this point.
The next step for this wine was to transfer or rack it from the primary fermentation vessel to the secondary fermentation carboy. I had cleaned and sterilized all equipment prior to getting started, so I was all ready to go after checking the specific gravity.
Fermenter Faucet With HoseI was debating whether or not to use the siphon tube and hosing for the racking, or if I should just hook the hose up directly to the spigot at the bottom of the fermentation vessel. At first I thought I’d use the siphon tube, and had it all clean and sterilized, but then I decided at the last minute it would be a heck of a lot easier, quicker, and probably less messy to just hook the hose up directly to the spigot. I mean, what else would there be a spigot there for, right!
shop_wine_kitsThe racking went really well, and I stopped it right at the point where I could see all the lovely dead yeasts and other gunk at the bottom of the fermenter. I’m sure a little bit snuck in the secondary fermentation carboy, but I’m sure it was minimal based on the stuff that was leftover in the first tank! There an excellent post about racking wine on this blog that’s worth noting. It explains how to minimize wine loss during the procedure.
These wine ingredient kits didn’t come with any enzymes or anything, which normally one would add at this stage, so I just closed it up with a rubber bung and fermentation lock and said “nighty-night!”. There already seems to be some gentle bubbling activity in the fermentation lock, so things seem to be progressing nicely. Now it’s a waiting game — I’ll keep my eyes on it every day to make sure nothing starts growing on it, but theoretically I won’t have to do anything with it for at least 10 more days (Day 20). At that point, I’ll check the specific gravity to see if it’s ready to move on to the clearing stage.
Fingers crossed things continue to move along well!
leigh_erwin_bioMy name is Leigh Erwin, and I am a brand-spankin’ new home winemaker! E. C. Kraus has asked me to share with you my journey from a first-time dabbler to an accomplished home winemaker. From time to time I’ll be checking in with this blog and reporting my experience with you: the good, bad — and the ugly.