Cork OK as Barrel Closure?

Wine Making Talk

Help Support Wine Making Talk:

MrTea

Supporting Members
WMT Supporter
Joined
Nov 20, 2019
Messages
12
Reaction score
21
I purchased one of the 20 liter Hungarian barrels from Morewinemaking.com and it came with a wooden bung but wanted to use a silicone stopper to ensure a good seal so I also purchased their solid and breathable silicone bungs for "small" barrels but both are far too large to fit in the hole.

I searched their site and couldn't find a small enough silicone bung to fit the barrel so I purchased a variety of tapered cork stoppers and used the largest one that would fit.

My concern is that I've never seen cork used as a barrel closure and was wondering if it's because possible spoilage organisms could hide out in the crevices of the cork and infiltrate the wine? But on the other hand wine bottles are sealed with cork for years without issue...

So does anyone have any insight on this? Or should I ditch the cork and try to find a proper size silicone stopper? I've attached some pics for reference if it helps.
 

Attachments

Kitchen

Member
Joined
Sep 16, 2020
Messages
74
Reaction score
46
I'd be afraid it would be get stuck and break when you tried to remove it. As the barrel sits, water is going to evaporate out through the wood and create a middle suction.
 

MrTea

Supporting Members
WMT Supporter
Joined
Nov 20, 2019
Messages
12
Reaction score
21
I'd be afraid it would be get stuck and break when you tried to remove it. As the barrel sits, water is going to evaporate out through the wood and create a middle suction.
I was thinking the same, but these corks are rock solid believe it or not, although I'm sure it'll soften with exposure to the wine.
 

Johnd

Senior Member
WMT Supporter
Joined
Jun 10, 2015
Messages
6,810
Reaction score
6,970
Location
South Louisiana
I use the hard silicone / rubber stoppers that come with my barrels, fit tight, stay in place, never had an issue with them. I'd pick the silicone stopper over the cork if I had a choice.
 

MrTea

Supporting Members
WMT Supporter
Joined
Nov 20, 2019
Messages
12
Reaction score
21
I use the hard silicone / rubber stoppers that come with my barrels, fit tight, stay in place, never had an issue with them. I'd pick the silicone stopper over the cork if I had a choice.
Thanks John, I can't seem to find a silicone stopper that will fit this barrel on morewinemaking - any suggestions as to where I can find a suitable stopper? I guess it needs to be food grade?
 

Johnd

Senior Member
WMT Supporter
Joined
Jun 10, 2015
Messages
6,810
Reaction score
6,970
Location
South Louisiana
Thanks John, I can't seem to find a silicone stopper that will fit this barrel on morewinemaking - any suggestions as to where I can find a suitable stopper? I guess it needs to be food grade?
You should be able to find the appropriately sized solid stopper at PI Wine, just measure your hole and get one that fits it, here is a link, I use the solids for my barrels:

 

stickman

Veteran Winemaker
Joined
Jun 16, 2014
Messages
1,770
Reaction score
1,847
This one from MoreWine is on sale, they indicate 1-1/4" for the small end, so as @Johnd said, definitely check the size of your hole before ordering.

 

MrTea

Supporting Members
WMT Supporter
Joined
Nov 20, 2019
Messages
12
Reaction score
21
This one from MoreWine is on sale, they indicate 1-1/4" for the small end, so as @Johnd said, definitely check the size of your hole before ordering.

Thanks for the reply. Unfortunately this is the one I bought and it was far too large for the 20 liter barrel. I actually widdled it down with a razor blade and made it fit as a temporary option but it was hard to get it to seal.
 

mikewatkins727

Well beyond middle age
Joined
Dec 24, 2013
Messages
363
Reaction score
397
Location
Eaton, OH
Food for thought. Make your own bung. Use s small disposable paper cup that fits bung hole and fill it with uncured silicone (RTV, or silicone caulking). It may take >3 months to cure. Alternately, if you find a cork bung, make a mold of it using Plaster of Paris. Coat the cork with plenty of petroleum jelly and insert it into a pot Plaster of Paris. After the plaster cures, remove the cork, clean mold as necessary and coat with jelly before filling with caulk. This something to try.
 

MrTea

Supporting Members
WMT Supporter
Joined
Nov 20, 2019
Messages
12
Reaction score
21
Food for thought. Make your own bung. Use s small disposable paper cup that fits bung hole and fill it with uncured silicone (RTV, or silicone caulking). It may take >3 months to cure. Alternately, if you find a cork bung, make a mold of it using Plaster of Paris. Coat the cork with plenty of petroleum jelly and insert it into a pot Plaster of Paris. After the plaster cures, remove the cork, clean mold as necessary and coat with jelly before filling with caulk. This something to try.
Awesomely creative - I just may do this. Thanks for the idea!
 

winemaker81

wine dabbler
WMT Supporter
Joined
Nov 5, 2006
Messages
1,361
Reaction score
1,763
Location
Raleigh, NC, USA
I'd be afraid it would be get stuck and break when you tried to remove it. As the barrel sits, water is going to evaporate out through the wood and create a middle suction.
This is my concern as well. At times I've had to use serious muscle and wiggling to get the bung out of a barrel. I'd be very concerned about breakage with natural cork..
 
Top