How many times should I rack my wine? What can I do about this sediment in my bottles? How do I sweeten my wine?
Being a winemaker is a lesson in patience. You will add your additives and wait 24 hours before adding the yeast. Then you sprinkle the yeast and wait 5-7 days before racking it and leaving sediment behind. Then you wait 4-6 weeks for the wine to clear up and you rack it (and again, leave that dirty sediment behind). Side note: don’t forget to use Potassium Metabisulfite or Campden Tablets when racking! Keeps everything sanitary.
If you want to learn about clarifying your wine, click here for our blog post on that.
So, there’s quite a bit of waiting. Never ever rush! I get quite a few phone calls during winemaking season asking me how to get sediment out of bottles and if it’s safe to put it back into a fermenter. We love our customers and we want you to make the BEST wine you can possibly make. We always talk about how we want you to be able to wow your friends — and yourselves — with how clear and delicious your wine is.
So… Can I put it back into the fermenter and rack or filter it again? Please do not do this because there is a likelihood that this will oxidize the wine. Oxidized wine is not clear OR delicious, friends! The best thing to do is to remember for next time: Use potassium metabisulfite when racking EACH time and rack until you have no more sediment and your wine is clear — no floating particles. If you have sediment floating around in your wine, you can add bentonite or another clarifier. Bentonite is great because it not only latches onto the particles, but also can remove off-aromas. AND now it’s time to wait for that to do its work and settle out.
And yes, filtering will take out particles, but it is not an alternative to racking properly.