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How to Bottle Wine with a Cork

How to Bottle Wine with a Cork
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Wine is great to have around when you’ve had a rough day at work. So many people love to come home and have a nice glass of chilled wine when they’re trying to unwind.

Perhaps you even make your own wine as a bit of a hobby. You know that you’re supposed to bottle wine with a cork.

However, many people don’t understand how to go about doing this. Is there a specific method you’re supposed to do when bottling wine with a cork?

Keep reading to learn how to bottle wine with a cork the right way. After reading this information, you’ll feel confident that you can bottle wine using a cork very easily.

Make Sure You Choose an Appropriate Wine Bottle

Before moving forward, you should know that your choice of wine bottle will play a role. You want to start by choosing a wine bottle that is right for you.

Some types of bottles aren’t meant to be corked. You don’t want to try to cork a bottle that isn’t designed to be corked.

When choosing a wine bottle, you’ll have to specifically look for one that has a cork finish. This means that it’ll have a ¾ inch opening and be designed to take a cork.

Trying to cork a screw-cap bottle would lead to terrible results. Finding what you need should be easy enough since you can get them from various online retailers as well as certain local shops.

Once you have the right type of bottle, you’ll be able to proceed. Now you just need a cork so you can get the job done.

Choose Your Cork Carefully

Choosing the right type of cork is an important part of the process, too. You want to get a cork that is easy to use since you’re new to this process.

To get the best results, it’s recommended to use a straight cork. Straight corks have a cylindrical shape that gives them the highest amount of sealing surface.

You can also buy tapered corks but those won’t be as easy to use. Straight corks make it so the sealing surface is the entire length of the cork.

A tapered cork seals only where the cork meets the glass. You should always choose a straight cork to get the best results.

This is especially true if you plan to store the wine that you’re making for longer periods of time. Anyone who wishes to store wine for one year or longer is better off using a straight cork.

Some Corks Are Easier Than Others

There are some straight corks that will be easier to use than others. As a newcomer to the hobby, it’s best to use corks that make things as simple as possible.

You already know that straight corks are preferable to tapered corks. There are different types of straight corks that can make your life easier, too.

Some straight corks have a mushroom design. These are known as mushroom corks.

They’re straight corks that have a plastic top that makes them easier to grip. You can push them into the wine bottle by hand and they fit pretty tight.

These are great choices for wine bottles that you plan to open within eighteen months. They aren’t the best for wine bottles that you want to store for several years, though.

Standard straight corks are a better option when you want to store wine for a long period of time. They give you a tighter seal than the mushroom corks described above.

You need that tight seal when you’re storing wine for many years. Be sure to get a cork that will work well based on your expectations.

There are different grades of wine corks that you can purchase from various manufacturers, too. So you’ll want to buy the grade that suits your needs depending on how long you plan to store the wine that you’re corking.

Different Cork Materials

Did you know that corks can be made out of different materials? There are quite a few options to consider.

Below, you’ll get a bit of information about the various cork types. This should help you to choose an appropriate cork for your wine.

Synthetic Wine Corks

Synthetic wine corks are made out of oil-based plastics, in most cases. There are synthetic corks being made out of more experimental materials as well.

These corks will last for a very long time. You won’t have to worry about cork taint when using these corks for your wine bottles.

Also, it allows you to store wine standing up. You’ll get a tight seal that’s very reliable if you go with this option.

On the downside, some enthusiasts say that these corks add a chemical flavor and odor to the wine. It’s up to you to decide if this is a good option or not.

Natural Wine Corks

Of course, natural wine corks are the types of corks that you expect to use in most situations. They come in many variations, too.

You can buy one piece natural corks that are perfect for storing and aging wine for long periods of time. Multi-piece natural corks are better for wine bottles that you don’t plan on aging.

Colmated corks fall in the middle and are often used for wines that will be aged for no longer than three years. Using natural corks for your wine will be the most standard option to choose.

If you want to do things traditionally, this is the recommended path to take. You’ll have a good experience if you choose a natural wine cork.

Agglomerated Wine Corks

You might not have ever heard of agglomerated wine corks before if you’re new to the hobby. This is a type of hybrid cork that uses natural cork material as well as some synthetic parts.

These are dense corks that are rather affordable. If you plan to consume the wine that you’re bottling within a few years, they’re going to be good corks to consider.

Agglomerated corks aren’t the best when you want to age wine for longer than two years, though. Their low cost will be appealing for many who are planning to consume homemade wine fairly fast.

These aren’t bad corks by any means. You just need to use them for the right purposes to get the best experience.

Preparing the Corks

Before bottling the wine, you’re going to need to prepare the corks. When you get the corks from a retailer they should be rather hard at first.

You need to soften the cork so you can use it properly. There are a few methods that you can use to soften wine corks.

Some choose to soak the corks during the night in a cold sulfite water bath. Another option involves pouring boiling water over the corks to soften them.

Steaming the corks can soften them up, too. This idea involves boiling a pan of water and then dropping the corks inside.

You close the lid and then steam the corks for several minutes to soften them. This method works very well and doesn’t take a lot of time.

Just don’t heat the corks more than necessary since this can cause deterioration. It could make the corks perform worse than expected if you’re not careful.

Use a Corking Machine

The best way to cork wine bottles is to use a simple corking machine. This is a lot simpler than corking wine bottles by hand.

It’ll save you a lot of time and it’ll make it less likely that you’ll make mistakes. These corking machines can easily be purchased from local brewing companies and wine-making shops.

You can also get what you need online if you’d like to go that route. It really is best to use a corking machine.

There are a few different types of corkers that you can purchase. There are handheld corkers and standing corkers.

Both will work fine to get the job done. You simply place the cork in the device and then position the bottle.

Once everything is in place, you pull a lever and the cork is put into the bottle. Handheld corkers work fine when you’re only corking a few wine bottles.

If you plan to cork dozens of wine bottles, it’ll be better to use a stand corker. As you might expect, stand corkers are a bit more expensive.

Some businesses might allow you to rent a corker if you’d rather not buy one. If you plan to get into the hobby of making your own wine, it’s best to own your own corking machine, though.

Tips for After the Wine Has Been Corked

After the wine has been corked, it’s important to allow the wine bottles to stand up straight for a few days. They should be kept upright for two or three days to ensure that you get a good seal.

After this period of time has passed, you’ll need to store the wine bottles on their sides. The wine should be touching the cork to keep it from drying out.

This is why wind storage shelves are designed to hold wine bottles horizontally. It’s for the sake of keeping the cork seals intact.

So long as you do things right, you should expect the wine bottles to stay sealed and safe for a long time. Store the wine in a low-light environment and keep it in a cool spot.

What’s the Best Temperature for Storing Wine?

Storing wine the right way will ensure that it stays good. You need to make sure that you’re storing wine at the right temperature to keep things safe.

The ideal temperature for storing wine is said to be 55 degrees Fahrenheit. Note that the ideal temperature might fluctuate slightly based on the type of wine that you’re storing.

You never want wine to be kept in an environment that is too hot or too cold. Temperatures below 25 degrees Fahrenheit can be detrimental to the wine.

Storing wine in temperatures above 68 degrees Fahrenheit will also be bad. As such, you will need to take measures to ensure that the wine is kept at the appropriate temperature.

Be sure to keep the temperature of the wine stable, too. Fluctuations in the temperature can negatively impact the cork seal.

This happens because the cork can expand and contract. You can avoid situations like this by simply keeping the temperature stable and monitoring things as necessary.

Buying a wine fridge is likely going to be a good idea. It’s the best bet for most amateur winemakers who can’t dedicate an entire room to storing wine.

You can’t simply use a standard fridge to get the job done. It needs to be a wine fridge because these refrigerators keep the wine cool and dry while keeping the temperature steady.

Watch Out for Humidity Issues

Humidity issues have the potential to be problematic when you’re storing wine. Both low humidity and high humidity can have a negative impact.

Low humidity levels might cause the corks to dry out. This can harm the cork seal and leave the wine vulnerable to oxygen exposure.

High humidity levels can be annoying because it’ll cause the labels to peel off of the bottles. It’s best to keep the humidity level in the right range to avoid complications.

Set the humidity level in your wine storage area between 60 and 68 percent. This will do a good job of protecting the wine so you can have an ideal experience.

Final Thoughts

Corking wine bottles doesn’t have to be overly complicated. Once you know how to approach the process it becomes a lot easier.

You must choose an appropriate wine bottle to get started. It’s necessary to have a bottle that is meant to be corked.

Next, you must take the time to choose a wine cork that makes sense for you. If you want to store the wine for a long time, it’s best to go with a natural wine cork that will stand the test of time.

The process of corking the bottle will involve using a corking machine. You can purchase corking machines online or buy them from local wine businesses and breweries.

There are a few different models to consider. You can buy handheld corkers as well as standing corkers.

The standing models are the best bet when you’re corking dozens of bottles. A handheld corker works just fine when you only have to cork a few bottles of wine.

Once the wine has been corked, it’ll be crucial to store it properly. Be sure to keep the wine at the right temperature and store it horizontally to keep the cork from drying out.

So long as you’re taking the right precautions, your wine should remain safe. You’ll be ready to enjoy the wine whenever the time is right.

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