On average, how many times do you top up a single barrel?

Ryan O'Donnell asked
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over 5 years ago in Equipment: Barrels & Oaking

 
 

4 Answers

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Steve Lemley answered
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over 5 years ago

the answer is tricky...  once fermentation is done and malo starts, DO NOTHING.  There is plenty of co2 from the malo to protect you.  Once malo is done, so2, rack and top up.  One of the secrets to making good wine is not pulling the bunk out for any reason unless you have to.  Top up when you have one inch of head space.  As long as you dont open the bung in the mean time, you will be fine and it will limit the oxidation risk even though you are down an inch.

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Eric Gordon answered
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over 5 years ago

Hi Ryan,I top about every 3 weeks.  So depending on how long you keep the wine in barrel before bottling will give you the answer.Cheers!Eric

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Mother Hubbard answered
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over 5 years ago

Also depends on the storage conditions e.g. temperature and relative humidity(ideally 15 C and 70%, although some people like colder... warmer to ensure malo conversion).
3 weeks is a good rule of thumb.
My experience is with barriques. Puncheons and hogheads might be different as would small oak barrels.
Some recommend a 20 degree rotation of barrel(bung 20 degrees from vertical) after filling to eliminate the need for topping, in my experience this does not eliminate that need, but MAY require less frequent toppings.

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David Waldmann answered
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over 5 years ago

I only top if I have to open the barrel for some reason. I check SO2 levels about every 6 months and top up then. So typically, three times over a two year aging period.

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