Hi, I just did my 2nd racking after a 10 day sit on the lees, as recommended by my recipe book. HOWEVER, there was a *lot* of sediment, and I ended up having to compensate for about 3 litres of wine (3/4 of a gallon!). Mind you, my original wine level when going from primary to secondary was lower than I would have liked, but I was worried about blowing foam, so I gave it a bit of head room.
I compensated by adding several bags of marbles (which, surprisingly, didn't really seem to do much for me ) followed by a full 2 litres of water. I was really tempted to draw over some of the lees to avoid throwing so much away. But, I stopped myself.
My starting gravity when I made the must was between 1.110 and 1.120 (I was supposed to shoot for 1.100, but I had a hell of a time using my hydrometer on my first go of it), and prior to reracking earlier it was between 0.960 and 0.970. (By the way, is that about 16% ABV?) I didn't take another reading after adding all that water, so I assume it is down about 1% point after topping up.
My recipe book mentions that the recipes therein were designed to specifically allow for topping up with cold water, and so I shouldn't be worried about dilution. Plus, the recipes allow me to top up at every racking, but I didn't need to do so when I went from primary to secondary. So, even though I have added 2 litres this time around, some of that is a "freebie" since I didn't do it last time.
The thing that I am worried about though is, the book doesn't mention how much I would be expected to top up. I was hoping for 1/2 litre or so, not almost a gallon!! The wine is still a rich, dark peachy colour so perhaps I haven't overly diluted it yet.
My next racking is planned for 3 weeks from now. Next time I will have to be very careful when I re-rack. If possible, I do NOT want to top up next time around. However, I don't think I will be able to afford the truckload or so of marbles that I would need to avoid it.
Your thoughts, advice would be appreciated.