hist-brewing: Re: racking/decanting

Jack C. Thompson tcl at teleport.com
Thu Jul 1 00:42:42 PDT 1999

>I wrote:
>> >Nope.  Rack from primary vat to amphora or cask.
>> >Decanting off lees(although shown in a 14th cnetury
>> >woodcut) has never been a proven pre-1700's wine
>> >making method.

The following text is taken from an English translation of a Italian text
which was published in London in 1596.  The translator is known only as W.P.

I've reprinted the entire pamphlet as: _A Booke of Secrets: Instructions
for ordering of wines_

A person can probably safely ignore the advice about the wind, phases
of the moon, and stars....


"When you shall draw or rack wine, and open the vessels.

"You must racke wine when the wind is in the North, but never when it is in
the South, the weakest in the spring time, the strongest in the summer, but
those wines that grow in dry places, shall be racked after the sunne is in
the equinoxiall hivernall.  When wine is racked the Moone being in the
full, it maketh it sharp: when wine is taken from his lees it maketh it
more subtill and weake: it is necessarie to racke wine when the Moone
increaseth, and is under the earth, and to observe the rising of the stars,
because the lees (when the stars rise) doth move & stir up, especially when
roses bud forth, and vines begin to spring, when the vessell is opened, it
is good to spend the wine that is on the top of the vessell, and that which
is in the bottome, and to keep that which is in the middle thereof, because
it is of more strength, and continueth longest, for the wine that is neer
unto the mouth of the vessell, as being neerest unto the aire, is weaker,
because it casteth foorth a vapor from it, & that which is in the bottome,
is in the lees, doth soone decay.  It is requisite when the wine is drawne
into other vessels, not to let it run at the mouth of the vessels, but
somewhat lower, that it stop not at the mouth, but have some aire in the
running out, least you feare it will become soure, which if you doubt, let
it not take any aire, but make the vent of greene willowes, the bark or
outward peele scraped cleane away: if you open the vat by day, you must
beware that the heat of the sun touch not the wine, and if you open it by
night, you must keepe the light of the Moone from it, and when the vats are
emptie, you must wash them presently with salt water, and ashes, or drie
them with clay earth, if the wine be weake, but if it be very strong, it is
sufficient to close it up on all sides, because the smell and strength of
the wine preserveth the vessels."

Jack C. Thompson
Thompson Conservation Laboratory

503/735-3942  (voice/fax)


To unsubscribe from this list, send email to majordomo at pbm.com containing
the words "unsubscribe hist-brewing" (or unsubscribe hist-brewing-digest, if
you get the digest.) To contact a human about problems, send mail to
owner-hist-brewing at pbm.com

More information about the hist-brewing mailing list