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I just created my first 5 gallon batch of white wine, and it turned out pretty good. However about a month ago I reracked it with sparkolloid powder allowing the lees to settle at the bottom, but have since been having trouble separating the lees from the liquid.

After waiting for the wine to clear I poured it out for bottling, but a ton of lees got mixed in with the wine. I got rid of a lot of the lees and reracked, but unfortunately it took over two weeks before I could try again (partly because it got foggy again after I moved the carboy). This time I tried putting a coffee filter over the top of the carboy and poured it out. The problem with that is that the filter makes it very difficult for any air to get into the carboy, causing it to pour out one drip at a time.

Is there an efficient way to solve this problem?

  • Why not to siphon your wine? – Mołot Nov 24 '15 at 16:30
  • @Molot Wouldn't that just suck up all the lees? Haven't tried it. – JSideris Nov 24 '15 at 18:16
  • It requires precision. Either suck all the lees first, and just dump it, or suck gently from above. Or suck as much lees as you can, and next day suck wine gently. But that's what I heard. No experience, so Im not posting an answer. – Mołot Nov 24 '15 at 18:18
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You need to upgrade your equipment by a few dollars. Get yourself what's called a "racking cane". Your siphon tubing attaches to it. Because it is stiff you have better control of the end of the tube, as well they come with caps to help redirect the pull from upward rather than sucking up all the less.

It's ok to suck up a tiny bit if you put the racking cane in and let it sit still it shouldn't move and only suck up a half dollar size of lees off the bottom.

I also like to tilt my carboys so the lees settles down into a corner a bit more which allows me to get more clear fluid.

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The first time I read the question, I didn't realize that you where pouring the wine directly from the carboy...

Escoce answer is good, a racking can is a must have, but I would like to add a few more tips:

  • When you last rack your wine, leave your carboy where you need it to be for racking, if possible (at some sufficient height and already tilted if you want, ready for gravity siphoning). This way, you won't need to move it before bottling. Hence, less chances of disturbing the sediments...
  • Use the clip that comes with the racking cane (to attach the racking cane to the carboy or bucket) so it won't move during the bottling process and disturb the sediments.
  • Use the cap at the bottom of the racking cane, so the cane will set at the bottom of the carboy, but will only suck the liquid just above the sediments (there are caps that will raise the racking cane more than others). Take a look at how thick the sediment layer is and choose the appropriate cap.
  • If you have to move the carboy before bottling, do it gently. If you disturb the sediments, you will have to wait a few days to let them settle again.
  • Of course, don't forget to sanitize the racking cane properly.
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