A racking cane is simply a hard plastic tube used to siphon wine from one container to another. Despite their simplicity they can be a bit tricky to use.
The most difficult part of using this device is getting the flow of wine going. While you could suck on the end of the tube like a straw to get the siphon started this is hardly a sanitary way to make wine.
I’ll show you the best way I’ve found to use the racking cane. It takes a little practice but once you get the hang of it it’s really easy.
To get your siphon going:
0. Sanitize all you equipment.
1. Coil the flexible tubing in a container of clean water.
2. Close the tube clamp or put your finger over the end of the tube to prevent the water from leaving the racking cane.
3. Place the end of the racking cane below the free surface of the water in the pitcher and open the clamp. This will allow water to flow from your pitcher to a waste bucket or sink.
4. Once the racking cane and tube are filled with water close the tube clamp.
5. Place the racking cane into your fermenter or carboy such that the end of the cane is 2 – 3 inches off the bottom. This helps prevent sediment from being siphoned.
6. Place the end of the flexible tube into the waste container and open the clamp.
7. Let the racking cane and tube fill with wine and close the clamp again.
8. Place the end of the flexible tube into the container you are filling and open the clamp.
It looks like a lot of steps but it’s really not that bad. This is the most sanitary method I’ve found of filing a racking cane.
Remember to always keep the container you’re filling below the free surface level of the wine in the container you’re emptying. If you don’t the flow of wine will stop and you’ll have to start the siphon over again.
The Equipment I Use
Here are links (affiliate) to the racking equipment I used in the video in case you’d like to work with the same stuff:
- racking cane (comes with the black tip)
- 3/8″ Tubing (sold by the foot. I recommend starting with four or five feet. You can always shorten it to meet your needs)
- small tube clamp
Most equipment kits will come with all the racking equipment you’ll need.
They do make auto siphons which are devices designed to help you get the flow of wine going without going through all these steps. I haven’t used one yet and cannot attest to how well they work. However, I have had them recommended to me from more experienced winemakers. I also wanted to start with just the basic equipment and move into fancier equipment as I go.
If you’d like to check one out here’s a link (affiliate) where you can read about the auto siphon. I do plan on getting one and will provide a tutorial once I’ve used it.