Wine Word of the Week: Racking

By Kori ~ September 25th, 2012.

This week’s Wine Word of the Week is racking.

Official definition from Jancis Robinson’s The Oxford Companion to Wine:
Racking is the wine-making operation of removing clear wine from the settled sediment or lees in the bottom of a container. The verb to rack has been used thus at least since the 14th century.

Racking is usually achieved by pumping or siphoning the wine away from the sediment into an empty container but special large racking tanks are used by some large wineries (and breweries). ….

Racking, or soutirage as it is known in French, forms an important part of the annual cycle of cellar work, or elevage, in the production of most fine wines matured in small barrels. ….

Racking is not only part of the clarification process, it also provides aeration, which, in the case of red wines, is essential to the formation of pigmented tannins and is beneficial to the sensory properties of the wine.

Layman’s terms from Kori:
Racking is the process of moving a wine off its sediment or lees.

Filed under: Wine Word of the Week

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