Wine Word of the Week: Topping up

By Kori ~ September 27th, 2011.

This week’s Wine Word of the Week is topping up.

Official definition from Jancis Robinson’s The Oxford Companion to Wine:
Topping up, ouillage in French is the operation of refilling any sort of wooden container to replace wine lost through evaporation. The container should be kept full or nearly full lest the ubiquitous acetobacter use oxygen from the head space to start the process of transforming wine into vinegar. The well-run winery will have a strict regimen of topping up all wooden containers on a regular basis.

Layman’s terms from Kori:
Topping up is the process of adding wine to a barrel to replace any wine that was lost through evaporation.

Filed under: Wine Word of the Week

Reader's Comments

  1. The Sediment Blog | September 27th, 2011 at 7:17 am

    Topping up for us is when your glass is half empty, and your host kindly replenishes it….

  2. Kori | September 27th, 2011 at 11:26 am

    Love it! That’s definitely the best definition I’ve heard for topping up. Cheers!

  3. James Stripes | September 27th, 2011 at 4:23 pm

    According to The Billionaire’s Vinegar, topping up with a lesser wine was a technique employed to take nearly empty bottles of an ancient and possibly valuable vintage, so as to sell them at auction as rare wine in pristine condition.

  4. Kori | September 27th, 2011 at 4:33 pm

    Thanks for sharing that interesting tidbit from “The Billionaire’s Vinegar”. Unfortunately, things like that certainly do happen. But thankfully, most of the time, topping up is done in a legitimate manner. Cheers!