Dear EC Kraus:
I just started my first batch of wine using the "California Connoisseur Necessities Box" (Chianti option). In 6 days, I will be racking the wine.
When racking into glass jugs, I understand that I need to leave behind the sediment created during the primary fermentation. However, the plastic fermenter is NOT transparent and it will be difficult to see when I will start encountering the sediment as I drain the wine in to my glass wine carboy. Naturally, I would like to get as much of the good wine as possible and leave behind the sediment. Any suggestions on how to achieve.
I wouldn't make too big a fuss about the first racking. If you get some of the sediment along with the wine in to the wine carboy, that's just fine.
All you are looking to do at this stage is to leave the bulk of the sediment behind--most of it, not all of it. If you attempt to eliminate all of the sediment during this particular racking, you will be loosing too much wine, unnecessarily.
During the first racking you are much better off focusing on the wine as opposed to the sediment. Get as much wine as possible, regardless of the amount of sediment that comes with it into the wine carboy.
When you do the last racking, before bottling, this is when you want to focus on eliminating all the sediment, even at the expense of a little wine. Fortunately, by the time you get to this stage the amount of sediment to deal with will be very minimal, so the amount of wine lost is very small.
Happy Wine Making