Austrian winemaker Lukas Markowitsch from Carnuntum shows how, after fermentation, he separates the wine from the lees, especially fermentation residues and precipitated tartar that accumulate at the bottom of wooden barrels.
Text and image Austrian Wines, Robert Herbst 


The French term for this act is soutirage. Contrary to what you might expect, siphoning here is not done with a pump. Lukas: 'The wine is pushed from the barrels directly into the tanks with filtered compressed air. This leaves the yeast residues behind.' Returning to the cleaned barrels is also not done with a pump, as this can be disruptive to the wine. Gravity lends a hand: the stainless steel tanks are elevated, allowing the wine to flow through a hose to the barrels. 'We use 225-litre barriques in our cellar, which is equivalent to three hundred bottles of wine,' says Lukas, who together with his brother Johann owns old vines in prime locations in Göttlesbrun, not far from the Doanu below Vienna in the Carnuntum DAC.


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