Dandelion Wine-Racking the Wine

    Published: 06-16-2009
    Views: 20,420
    Wine Expert Phil Tonks discusses racking dandelion wine.

    Phil Tonks: Hi! I am Phil Tonks, owner and wine maker at the Grandview Winery in East Calais, Vermont. We've been making dandelion wine. We added all the ingredients to the bucket. We gave it a chance to get started fermenting. Next thing we want to do is put it in a nice controlled environment like this glass container and we're going to do that by racking, that is we're going to use a siphon tube into the bucket, siphon it down into the wine and let it sit. Put the air lock on the top and let it sit for a while. Now it's been sitting now with the yeast for a couple of days. We're starting to get some bubbling on the top of the surface. You do want to put a cover over this so insects don't get into it. It can either be cheesecloth or cover for the bucket, it could even be saran wrap but just something to keep the insects from getting in. After about three days to a week, we want to transfer it from the bucket into this glass carboy. What I'm using is I'm using a siphon tube. This is piece of 5/16" tubing which I've added a little stick to it so that it will stay on the bottom of the bucket. I am putting it into the bucket and I'm going to siphon it into this container. So it's down lower this. I put this up on this bucket because this bucket has to be higher than this bucket so the siphon will work. Now again, in wine talk that's called racking, it's what we're going to do. So what I'm going to do is pull here, get it started coming down through the tube, get it to go into here. You see it coming. Now it's starting to flow into the other container. I will continue to let this flow into the container till I've moved all of this sweet fermenting juice from here into the wine container. If it turns out I'm not quite full, I'll just top it up with some regular old water to bring it up to the top. Once it's filled up completely and I'm ready, I'm then going to put the air lock back in. Now this air lock as I said, is designed to let the gases out but keep air from coming back in. In fact, you can see there is a little line of water right here on it. Once I put this in, I'm going to set the container in a room that's about 65-75 degrees and I'm going to leave it alone for maybe a month. At the end of the month or maybe two months, once the bubbling has stopped, now the bubbling come back again to the equation for fermentation, Sugar = Alcohol + Carbon Dioxide. So the bubbling is actually the carbon dioxide coming out and that should take anywhere from about ten days to about six weeks to stop bubbling. You do need to leave it in a place that has a fairly consistent temperature. We don't want big spikes and changes and it should be in the upper sixties as a minimum. At the end of that time, what I'm actually going to do is then transfer it out of the glass container just like this by racking it back into a bucket, clean the glass container, transfer it from the bucket back into the glass container, put the air lock on it and leave it for like three or four months. At the end of that time period, it could be ready to bottle. I prefer to have my wines go almost a whole year before I bottle them. But it is wine at that point because the fermentation has done all the conversion. So at that point the wine has sat. You should see it settling and it should start clearing so the cloudiness comes out. You may want to do one more racking before you bottle it. That's again, this container gets put up high, this container gets put down low, we take the hose, we rack it into the bucket, we then clean the glass out, switch places, rack the bucket back into here, then let is sir for another month. Racking is good. Now each time you do that, if you recall I put one of those little Campden tablets in, each time we rack it, we want to crush up a Campden tablet and add that to it. So at this point now we've got finished wine. The next thing we're going to go into is putting it in the bottle and corking it up.