Making Wine is Just Like Raising Kids … You Gotta Put in the Time!

13 Jul

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“Bon élévage”

The French use this term with reference to both wine and children! It translates to “A good upbringing” or “Being well raised”.

For kids this covers life before adult hood begins. For wine the period of time following the initial alcoholic fermentation right up until the point of bottling.

Every week I taste the Filthy Good Vino Bathtub Cabernet, just like every day I read my daughter, Genevieve, stories. I listen to the wine to see if it needs something from me. Sure I’ll look to see if there are problems, has it contracted Wine Flu AKA Brettanomyces or did the Flu Shot I gave it early in life help. Is it reduced, smelling of rotten egg gas? Is it oxidised, needing a sulphur addition?

More importantly I focus on the little things that I can do to help it grow up into a well rounded kid. After the last taste, I thought:

It needs to get out! It needed a little oxygen!


Why? To help the aromas and flavours develop, shift them away from primary fruity characters to more intriguing complex characters and allow the tannins to see a little air soften and lengthen.

So, it’s racking time …

Doing QC before racking the #FilthyGoodVino Bathtub Cabernet!


You can see a layer of pink lease at the bottom of the glass container at front.

Racking will take the clear wine from the top and we’ll get rid of tge sediment. It will introduce oxygen to help the wine develop & blend the new oak, old oak & glass stored components together.

If you’re interested in being a part of the Filthy Good Vino Bathtub Winemaking Project let me know. We’ll be locking in fruit for next year shortly.

Here’s the lees from racking a glass storage vessel.

It’s mostly dead yeast & bacteria coloured by the wine. Depending on what wine you’re making you can choose to keep the lees with the wine to get flavour and texture fromthe autolysis, break down of the cells. Lees is “reductive” it chews up oxygen too and can help keep the wine fresh. One the best examples of the potential impact of lees is in the production of Champagne. After the second fermentation in bottle the wine is left in contact with the yeast lees. Over time as they break down the impart patisserie characteristics & a creamy mouthfeel. Same principles apply to white wines in barrel.

The #FilthyGoodVino Bathtub Cabernet is looking good and I perceive that it won’t benefit from further lees contact. Admittedly the wine has already been racked so most of the lees have already been removed.

Interestingly Gaia Gaja mentioned that they keep their lees and use them to top their barrels.

Syphoning off lees from our Demijon – Clear hose makes it easy to see if you’re sucking up the lees!

Racking the Filthy Good Vino Bathtub Cabernert 2015 by Paul Kaan

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