Last Words, for now, on Topping Off

The only definitive thing learned about topping off is to do it. Whether you are a winemaker at a winery or at home, toping off barrels and carboys is a necessary task. There were different opinions on what to use to top off. Many wineries have excess wine after fermenting in bins and filling barrels. This excess wine is often placed in a variable capacity tank or a carboy. It can then be used for topping off barrels. Depending on the size of the winery, they may have tanks or carboys for each varietal wine they are making. So a Zinfandel in a barrel will be topped off with a Zinfandel. Smaller wineries may not have the space and may place all the extra wine in one container. This generic blend is used for topping off.

There are other practices also used. One is to use a wine that is closest to the wine you are making for topping off. This wine could be purchased at a wine store or perhaps be from a previous vintage that you made. You can also top off with distilled water that has the same pH and sugar level as the wine. But water should be a last resort.

Of course if you have extra wine to use to top off, once some of it is used the container that it is in has to be topped off. Rather than topping off you can simply put the remaining wine in another smaller container. Another possibility is to add sanitized marbles to the container to raise the liquid level. I like the idea of using a previous year’s wine assuming that you are trying to create a similar taste profile. You can simply drink the wine that is left over from topping off.

If you have other ideas please share.

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