Storage of Top Off Wine - argon gas or no??

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Hey all - I'm having a debate as to how best to store our pinot noir in the glass bottles that we're using for top-off. By way of background, we've filled a 1 year old oak barrel with ~60gallons of pinot noir made from grapes we picked up in the Anderson valley. It went into the barrel early-mid october.

For topping off, we have a 6 gallon carbuoy, plus one or two 1-2 gallon glass bottles. All are stopped with a release valve.

Co-winemaker insists that, after each top off from the smaller bottles we should transfer the remaining top off wine into containers such that ALL containers are completely full.

I think that we can achieve the same (or better) results insofar as minimizing oxygen contact with the top-off wines by using the argon gase (or equivalent) in the bottles. I think this would be just as effective and a whole lot easier than constantly having to re-clean and re-bottle our top-off stuff to make sure we have the bottles totally full. (We can certainly do this, as we have a bunch of different sized bottles to use and we can just make sure we keep mixing and matching bottle size).

Any thoughts/suggestions?

Thanks, and I'll let you know how everything comes out next year!


Wine Maker

Jun 9, 2007
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I think either way will work. However, I prefer to keep 4 187ml bottles on hand. After topping off simply transfer the remain wine from the 750ml bottle to the 187ml bottles. If you end up with less than one of the small bottles filled then share it between yourselves to get a really good taste of the wine.