Racking is the process of siphoning the wine or beer off the lees into a new, clean barrel or in the case of beer off the trub. Racking allows clarification and aids in stabilization. Wine that is allowed to age on the lees often develops "off-tastes". A racking hose or tubing is used and can be attached to a racking cane to make this task easier. The racking process is repeated several times during the aging of wine. Racking may be referred to using the French term soutirage.
A racking hose is a flexible, clear plastic hose, usually 3/8 inch in inner diameter, used to siphon wine from one vessel to another. It is used in both racking and bottling operations. A racking cane is a stiff, plastic tube, usually "L"-shaped, that is attached to the racking hose to make racking easier. A protective cap is placed over the lower end of the cane that allows liquid to be drawn into the cane from above rather than below while keeping most large solids out. The cap allows the tip of the cane to be lowered close to the lees without unduly disturbing them. The lower tip of the racking cane should initially be held about midway between the surface and the lees and gradually lowered as the volume decreases due to the siphoning.