Racking is a winemaking term for siphoning. The reason for siphoning from one container to another is that the solids which settle on the bottom remain in the first container and the result is a clearer liquid. Above is the pear wine I started last month in a 3 gallon carboy. The first few days it had a much more creamy color. The airlock was no longer bubbling and a half inch of sediment (lees) had collected at the bottom.
On the left is the carboy with the sediment remaining after racking. The three newly filled containers are on the right. After a couple more rackings, the wine will hopefully end up looking like last year’s which is shown below. It cleared nicely without filtering or fining, just racking a few times. And if I put a nice label on it and called it chardonay, it would fool a lot of people. Its flavor is similar to the buttery chardonays that were popular in the 80’s. Making a palatable wine from organically grown backyard fruit could be happening again. Racking day is time for tasting. Its still very yeasty, but no off flavors and almost completely dry (what I’m going for).
While I had the equipment out, I also racked my Norton grape wine. I just have a gallon and a half of it. The flavor on that was also yeasty and dry so both fermentations I started last month went well. We’ll see how they age. The grape did have a noticeable jam/dried fruit flavor which could be a good thing. The before and after racking shots: