Bad cork job

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reefman

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Every batch I make, has a few bottles that the corks just don't go in right.
I'm at a loss as to why I have this problem. I use a double lever hand corker.
Any ideas why?

bad cork job.jpg
 

wpt-me

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I too use the same type of corker. What I have read is you need
to have the bottle firmly planted and cork centered in corker barrel. Push the cork in one steady push not stopping till all the way inserted.

bill
 
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Kraffty

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Don't know if this helps but I dip the corks in warm water before putting them in the corker. I also use the levers to force the core into the cylinder about 1/2" and make sure it's lined up square and centered on the drive piston before putting it on the bottle and corking.
I've never had them do what you're showing. I do often get a crescent like sliver of cork cut off one side of the very top edge. Think it has to do with alignment of the piston. Floor corker is my next investment once I finish my "shed".
Mike
 

reefman

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I've corked over 100 bottles with this particular corker, and always take my time, lining it up and trying to press with one quick push.

I spritz my corks with Kmeta a few minutes before installing them, maybe I'll try dipping them next time. I'm also going to buy better corks as well.
Floor corker is on my short list of things to buy also.
Thanks for the responses.
 

grapeman

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You could try the number 8 corks. They are a bit smaller diameter so they go in easier.

If you want to eliminate them ending up like that, get a floor corker, especially the Italian floor corker.
 

roger80465

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I'm not sure I have the definitive answer for you but when I was using a double lever cork, I found I tie to work too fast sometimes. I think I stopped downward pressure too soon. When I slowed down the process a little, I seemed to eliminate the problem
 

cintipam

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My portuguese floor corker is quite a bit cheaper than Italian, and does an excellent job.

Pam in cinti
 

Wiz

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I use the same corker and going to #8 corks solved the problem. Right before corking I also put the corks into a pan of sanitizer. Sanitizes and the water acts as a lubricant.
 

jojabri

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I totally second investing in a Portuguese floor corker. It makes it so much easier and quicker, plus no pesky lining up.

They're so easy even my 11 year old can do it
 

dralarms

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I was having a similar problem, I'd insert them and they would back out. Turns out that spritzing them with kmeta ain't helping. Put them in dry and onceyou start dont ease up until the handles are down.
 

peaches9324

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I put them in a bowl with k meta and water for a few min it seems to fix that problem. I was having the same issue
 

beggarsu

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Every batch I make, has a few bottles that the corks just don't go in right.
I'm at a loss as to why I have this problem. I use a double lever hand corker.
Any ideas why?
Yes, I use a two handed corker - happens to me once in a while.

Yeah it is more than annoying because I like the ullage between 1 and 1.5 inches a bad corking job leaves the ullage too much or drives the cork too close to the wine- I even got a chopstick with markings on it to check it all the time - but my eyeball is now getting really good - I rarely use the chopstick anymore for checking.

First question is : are all your bottles the same? - sometimes my batches of bottles are a motley crew and the problem happens consistently with the same kind of bottles. or it might be one particular bottle of the same type is ultra resistant.

Several times I decorked and did it again ...and again.. finally giving up on that particular bottle or type of bottle or bottle - sometimes the new corking worked.

Now I'm fortunate - there are now a a lot of beautiful blue bottles (ZaZen) at the bottle depot and I'm only getting those I've discovered with the proper hand skill I can cork them perfect every time.

I've learned to recognize the problem types of bottles for corking and I avoid them or return them.

Dry corking and the two handed corker don't go together - that's for sure there is less control with hand skill with the dry cork - too much resistance.

Ullage doesn't seem to matter - no the corker and type of bottle always seems to overrule that - either mushrooming it or putting it in too deep irrelevant of the ullage. Though you might try making sure the ullage is not too high I'm pretty sure the problem is usually it's the bottle type or bottle variance (small difference in hardness or opening width).


I use #9 corks and won''t switch to # 8 because.. well the store... the only store , doesn't have them - lol (easy decision) and I prefer mushrooming to loose.
...
Of course a floor corker will do perfect but you don't have one and neither do I.
The question is about making the best with what we've got. Anyway. it's a good apprenticeship - it's good learning experience.


The two handed corker has screw adjustments for depth but lotsa luck on relying n that...because the best adjustment and most useful constant is is hand pressure skill - with a certain type of bottle , I must do maximum pressure and speed, (and if that didn't work - - it's probably guaranteed that a second time won't either) with others I must go easy on the last plunk otherwise I will get the "deep well" - so I actually vary my speed and pressure from start to end on the same cork depending on the type of bottle.


Also check your corker - are the rubber guards still on the corker? - I've lost the rubber on mine. I make sure the bottle is dry - I then wrap a small piece of rubber around the neck - from an old inner tube, I hold this in place with a pony tail band then the metal of the corker grips is firm to lock on the rubber to prevent the corker from slipping - which might be happening to you when yours mushrooms.

Then the rubber band gets wet, because the cork was wet and you have to wipe the rubber off - dry it (usually on my work pants) to get it dry to place around the neck of the next bottle,
The devil is in the details, eh? And there are so many of them.
 
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kevinlfifer

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I read here to warm the damp corks in a microwave, and they go in softer and smoother. I agree you need to press it one smooth fast motion. Too slow and the enertia stops and you get that mushroom cork. # 8s instead of #9 helps, especially if they 1 3/4 long
 

Runningwolf

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Folks, everything you mention might work well for you but if you are planning on aging your bottles, you're setting yourself up for failure. You are compromising the integrity the cork. I understand not everyone has the $55 to buy a floor corker but maybe consider synthetic corks.
 

reefman

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Folks, everything you mention might work well for you but if you are planning on aging your bottles, you're setting yourself up for failure. You are compromising the integrity the cork. I understand not everyone has the $55 to buy a floor corker but maybe consider synthetic corks.
Definitely have the floor corker on the short list...although I've not seen it for $55. Cheapest in the LHBS is $79 ...and no more cheap corks either.
 

Runningwolf

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At Presque Isle Wine Cellars they are about $64. Around Christmas they can be had for much less. I was a bit off a $55.
 

beggarsu

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Folks, everything you mention might work well for you but if you are planning on aging your bottles, you're setting yourself up for failure. You are compromising the integrity the cork. I understand not everyone has the $55 to buy a floor corker but maybe consider synthetic corks.
The search for perfection and professionalism can be a type of tyranny and I am very unfond of it. I am not selling wine nor do I care about imperfections , or maintaining an image or brand reputation, nor am I making it for the emperor just the boys down the street and my circle of friends who are quite happy with my amateur wine made in my amateur way.
...
And most of the advice I read about needing to age my fruit wine 16 months in the carboy and and another year in the bottle was totally misrepresentative since one month in the carboy and 4 months in the bottle and it was delicious , I couldn't care less if it gets "more delicious" as a matter of fact I am so fed up with hearing that stuff that if any bottle of mine should ever dare to make it to the three year mark I will trash it without tasting it out of sheer pique and to make sure I don't get hooked into that mindset.
 

ibglowin

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For you folks that "soak your corks" in KMETA before inserting them. I have some bad news to tell you. I used to do this, repeat, used to do that……..

What happens is yes, it does make the cork slide in a little easier. But then over time, the water evaporates around the inserted cork and what you have left is a nice solid dried white KMETA ring around that cork that the longer it sits, the harder it dries and the harder it becomes to remove the cork. It becomes almost like it was "glued" in place. I broke several cork screws opening the bottles I corked using this "wet method"

Luckily I changed to a floor corker fairly quickly and then equally important I switched over to storing my corks in a "corkidor" with an open jug of KMETA around the corks and inserted them dry.

No more "stuck" corks or broken cork screws! :db
 

beggarsu

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For you folks that "soak your corks" in KMETA before inserting them. I have some bad news to tell you. I used to do this, repeat, used to do that……..

What happens is yes, it does make the cork slide in a little easier. But then over time, the water evaporates around the inserted cork and what you have left is a nice solid dried white KMETA ring around that cork that the longer it sits, the harder it dries and the harder it becomes to remove the cork. It becomes almost like it was "glued" in place. I broke several cork screws opening the bottles I corked using this "wet method"

Luckily I changed to a floor corker fairly quickly and then equally important I switched over to storing my corks in a "corkidor" with an open jug of KMETA around the corks and inserted them dry.

No more "stuck" corks or broken cork screws! :db
It's not bad news to me. First my two handed corkscrew is indestructible and merciless and relentless with corks with a sharp point which I can keep sharp - worst case scenario is I pick out the cork in pieces which has never happened.
Second I don't "soak" my corks in anything.

The corks come in a sterilized package and it's germ killing finished alcohol - no need to K-meta them as well as soaking would expand them - that would be bad news. .

Sometimes I drop the corks in a solution of a little K-meta with mostly water - not as strong as a sanitizing solution - only enough to say you've been there.
The idea is simply to get the corks wet -, just water will do which I also do - I drop them in the water or slight sulphide solution and immediately pick it out again - shake it a few times because it has too much water and insert it into the corker. Too much water drips down from the corker on the bottle and makes the grip on the rubber infirm.

You just got to get it wet enough to make it relatively frictionless.

If things were as bad as you say no one would buy the two handed corker and there would be a flotilla of complaints which there aren't.

You just needed to change your hand skill - your wetting method , not the corker.



I bottled over 450 bottles and time is now over 1.5 year - no problem with cork seals or decorking.

Only problem I got is who am I going to give all this wine away to I gotta get rid of it to justify making more or make smaller batches - It's lasting too long.

I'm the Johnny Appleseed for wine in my neighborhood, family and friends.
 

Runningwolf

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The search for perfection and professionalism can be a type of tyranny and I am very unfond of it. I am not selling wine nor do I care about imperfections , or maintaining an image or brand reputation, nor am I making it for the emperor just the boys down the street and my circle of friends who are quite happy with my amateur wine made in my amateur way.
...
And most of the advice I read about needing to age my fruit wine 16 months in the carboy and and another year in the bottle was totally misrepresentative since one month in the carboy and 4 months in the bottle and it was delicious , I couldn't care less if it gets "more delicious" as a matter of fact I am so fed up with hearing that stuff that if any bottle of mine should ever dare to make it to the three year mark I will trash it without tasting it out of sheer pique and to make sure I don't get hooked into that mindset.
If you want to drink your wine young and green that's fine. If you want to settle for just mediocre for you and your friends that's fine too. We try to help members to make the best wine they can. Some wines, like white grape can be drank early. Most fruit and reds require aging.
 

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