Topping operation with a barrel group on the source side

This feature was added in vintrace Version 6.1.1

In countries outside of USA, a Work Order is referred to as a Cellar Note. In keeping with regional terminology differences, please substitute Work Order for Cellar Note below.

This example will show you how to schedule a topping operation to instruct a cellar hand to use specific barrels in the group and then complete the operation from vintrace. Firstly, we will create a work order for a topping operation where the topping material is in a barrel group.

Go to File – Work order from writer to bring up the work order writer. Click on Add job and select Multi topping.

Add job

This will bring up the Multi topping operation screen. Select a barrel group in the vessel field of Top From section then click on the barrel config icon.

Topping 2

In the Barrel group list screen, select the barrel you want the cellar hand to use as the topping material and then click on Ok button. The selected barrel is highlighted yellow in the screen and will show up in the printed work order.

Topping 3

Click on Add to work order to add the job and then save the work order.

Topping 4

Let us assume that the job has been performed by the cellar hand, so we go into vintrace and complete the operation. Bring up the work order for the topping either by using the barrel scanner to scan the barcode on the work order or typing the TWL number into the barcode entry. In the example below, we have clicked on the barcode icon and entered the TWL number into the barcode entry field.

Topping 5

Click on Complete button on the work order.

Complete 2

Click on the barrel config icon beside the barrel group in the Top From section.

Topping 7

This will bring up the Barrel group list screen, and the barrel that was selected as topping material during scheduling is highlighted in yellow.

Topping 8

Let us assume that a quarter of the barrel was used as topping material, so we want to set the new volume of the barrel that was used for topping to three quarters.

Firstly, you need to select Work out volume from Barrel details option. In this mode, you can specify the fill status (Full, Three quarters, Half, Quarter) of each individual barrel at the end of the topping job.

Topping 9

Next, since a quarter of the barrel was used, set remaining volume in the barrel by setting the the Fill state of the selected barrel to Three quarters (this will be the status of the barrel at the end of the topping operation).

Topping 10

After setting the Fill status of the barrel to Three quarters, the Volume out is updated automatically to 15 gal (quarter of the barrel’s current volume). Click on Ok button to save.

Topping 11

In the multi topping operation screen, the Out (gal) is set to 15. Click on Apportion Out(gal) button to apportion the volume out among all the barrel groups to be topped. Then click on Now+Save button to complete the operation.

Topping 12

Topping without updating wine composition

Please note: this article explains how you can use vintrace to track topping without updating a wine’s composition; you should understand that using this method of tracking topping jobs could conflict with your government’s / region’s particular reporting requirements.  You will need to determine if you are allowed to track topping operations in this manner. Please consult with your Compliance officer or your state’s Alcohol control board.

While the multi-topping operation in vintrace helps streamline your topping work orders, there are some wineries that might not prefer to have the composition of the wine they are topping into updated as in some cases it will lead to tracking very small percentages that only have a negligible impact on their wines.

Rather than use the multi-topping operation, you can achieve a similar result by setting up a Topping treatment under Winery Setup – Treatments – Treatment (Product).  Set the name to “Topping” and check the “Wine/Juice” box (for the “Applies to” field):

Now, instead of using the multi-topping operation, you can record a topping as a treatment and select Topping from the treatment list.  This can be done for an individual barrel group, or you can create a work order for multiple barrel groups from a Product Search (search for the wines you want to top, highlight them then select “Work order” – “Treatment (Product)” from the options under the search form:

vintrace will then ask you which type of treatment you want to use for the work order.  Select Topping from the drop-down list then click OK.  This will create a work order with a topping job for each of the wines in your search.  Just complete the job like you would any other treatment operation in vintrace.

This will show up in the history for each of these wines as a Topping.  There are reports such as the Operation Throughput report that will also allow you to filter on the treatment type if you need to look at all wine lots that have been topped in a period.

The last step is depleting the level of wine in the tank / barrels / kegs that you used as topping material.  Here you just need to record an adjustment against the vessel, and select an appropriate loss reason (such as Evaporation, or a custom Topping reason).

One thing to consider from an accounting perspective here is that the cost related to the topping material will not flow through to the destination wine automatically.  You can either spread a topping cost across all your wines in barrel at the end of the month using our Overheads Console.  Another option could be to assign a nominal cost to the topping treatment which will move to the wines you are topping when the treatment is performed.

How do wine losses such as topping or evaporation impact a wine’s costing (COGS)?

We track the total $ value across the whole lot.  When a loss occurs the $ value stays constant.  So the $/gal calculation will increase because the gal is decreasing.

So let’s say we have two wines:

LotA       $1000    100 gal  $10.00/gal

LotB       $2000    100 gal  $20.00/gal

Step 1) Let’s say LotB has an evaporation loss of 5 gal, you end up with:

LotA       $1000    100 gal  $10.00/gal

LotB       $2000    95 gal     $21.05/gal

(note for LotB there are 5 gal less, but the total $ value remains the same)

Step 2) then you top LotB with LotA

LotA       $950       95 gal     $10.00/gal

LotB       $2050    100 gal  $20.50/gal

(In this example, a $ value based on the current $/gal from LotA is transferred to LotB as part of the topping).

Both of these steps occur within the one transaction when topping.  But if you had a general racking / filtration loss, you would just see Step 1 where you have the same $ value across the lot, but the gallons decrease by the loss amount (which leaves you with a different $/gal value).

We have a report under Reports > Management (bulk wine) > Wine/Juice Costing which details the changes in total $ value, $/gal etc when a significant event occurs for a lot.

Topping your wines

Tracking your topping wine material and its allocation to wines in barrel and kegs can be a logistical headache. The answer is the Multi-topping operation which is designed to make this as painless as possible. It allows you to select a barrel group or individual keg, barrel or tank to use as your topping material to top as many wines as you like. You can access Multi-topping from the Operations menu, from the Product overview, using the Bulk wine search or when creating a Work Order/Cellar note.

Top from

Select the vessel containing the topping material here.


If your vessel is contained within a barrel group you’ll need to select the barrel group itself and then use the checklist icon to select the individual vessel within the group. 


Notice that the vessels you want to use as topping material are selected. Assuming that the selected barrels will be emptied, your screen should look like the right hand image.

What do you do if you aren’t using the entire contents of the selected vessels and there is a balance remaining?

This is a common question and you have two options here depending on what you want to do with the balance.

Leaving the balance in the original vessel. In this case you have a 15 gallon keg in your barrel group and you take out 10 gallons to use as topping material, leaving a 5 gallon balance in that keg.

If you prefer, you may break the keg out of the group before completing the topping use the individual keg itself as the selected vessel on the Top Into side of the form.

We have a small article on using the Break barrels function here. Follow this step and then come back to the Multi-Topping operation to perform the topping from the now split out keg or vessel.



Moving the balance to an empty or smaller vessel not already in the originating barrel group. If this is the case in your scenario you can simply select the full keg and then account for the balance on the Top Into side of the form.

You can use the Add line button to add a destination vessel and then after selecting the vessel code to leave the balance in, change the Topping mode to Increase volume by amount. You can then enter the balance remaining in the Transfer In field for that vessel. The net result is the Out amount on the Top from side of the form, minus any balance you have accounted for on the Top into side of the form will be the available amount to use for topping the other selected vessels. They should have their topping mode set to Record per-operation loss. See the screenshot below for an example.

Topping modes explained

As it’s eluded to in the above section the topping modes play a critical role in determining how the topping material is accounted for. Assuming your barrels in VINx2 are considered ‘full’ you would always have this mode set to Record pre-operation loss. What this does is takes the topping material, blends it with the Top Into wines and then writes that amount off – typically as an Evaporation loss. By selecting Increase volume by amount you are instruction the system to blend the topping material into Top Into wines like you would a normal transfer and this will increase their volumes (if already full overfilling them!). So be mindful of the topping mode you select and if any doubt contact us for assistance.

Topping using a search

One useful feature of the Multi-topping operation is the ability to run a Product search by clicking on the From search button. This will open the search window allowing you to quickly find wines In oak, perhaps with a particular Vintage, Color or Varietal. Then select these by individually clicking or using the All button before clicking Use at the bottom of the Product Search window.

A final word

Most day to day topping scenarios can be handled by the Multi-topping operation but if you are working with partial kegs, barrels or amounts and want to account for them individually it is best practice to use the Break barrels function first before then using that broken vessel as the Top Into vessel on the Multi-Topping operation.