Originally Posted by m_stodd
What's the purpose of racking it so many times? I haven't made wine, but I imagine it's similar to beer in the sense that it doesn't like oxygen exposure
You just rack it off of the lees every 45-60 days or whenever there are lees 1/4" thick or more. After 60 days with no new lees formed, and if it's clear, it's ready to bottle.
It's really important to minimize oxygen exposure so it's crucial to top up the wine and leave no headspace and many winemakers recommend and use campden tablets (sulfites) at every other racking since it is an antioxidant.
Racking the wine often and needlessly will harm the wine, especially if sulfites (antioxidants) aren't used.
And an airlock should always be used, except for perhaps bulk long-term aging (but even then it's a good idea to avoid carboys blowing up if the weather gets warmer and c02 comes out of the wine).