The Weekly Walla Walla Wine Word for Dummies: Soutirage
Soutirage is French for racking. Racking or soutirage traditionnel is a traditional method in wine production of moving wine from one barrel to another using gravity rather than a pump that we are so use to seeing being used in modern wineries.
Soutirage was developed in the Bordeaux region of France in the 19th century when there was no electricity to power pumps, of course. This Old World method of racking, moving the wine from barrel to barrel, helps clarify the wine by removing sediment, as well as enhancing the aromatic qualities.
Many estates in Pomerol and Ste. Emillion still employ this labor-intensive method. Check out the video below. Ryan Raber, winemaker for Tertulia Cellars in Walla Walla shows a fine example and description of Old World racking.