Cork Sanitizer or "Corkador"

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sluff

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I am planning to put together a cork humidor to sanitize my corks for bottling. Any thoughts on this and photos of what you are using would be greatly appreciated. Also - would a 10% SO2 solution work for this? Thank you!
 

Johnd

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I am planning to put together a cork humidor to sanitize my corks for bottling. Any thoughts on this and photos of what you are using would be greatly appreciated. Also - would a 10% SO2 solution work for this? Thank you!
I use a two gallon bucket with a lid. Have a plastic colander in it to hold corks, and about an inch of K-meta solution, works like a charm, the fumes do the work, corks never get wet.
 

GreginND

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First, I will say that this really isn't necessary. Corks stored clean and dry wine should not need any additional sanitation other than a having your wine properly maintained with SO2.

The problem I have with corkadors and/or soaking wine is they can become too hydrated and soft and suffer a shorter life in the bottle. If you want to dose them with SO2, don't keep them too long in your corkador. Also, you will get a lot more SO2 if you also add some citric acid to the sulfite solution.
 

sluff

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First, I will say that this really isn't necessary. Corks stored clean and dry wine should not need any additional sanitation other than a having your wine properly maintained with SO2.

The problem I have with corkadors and/or soaking wine is they can become too hydrated and soft and suffer a shorter life in the bottle. If you want to dose them with SO2, don't keep them too long in your corkador. Also, you will get a lot more SO2 if you also add some citric acid to the sulfite solution.
Thanks! I've heard that citric acid helps. I'm thinking I would just sanitize the corks immediate prior to bottling. Any thoughts on how long is long enough - or too long? Thanks again!
 

sluff

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I use a two gallon bucket with a lid. Have a plastic colander in it to hold corks, and about an inch of K-meta solution, works like a charm, the fumes do the work, corks never get wet.
Thanks! Do you use the "corkador" just prior to bottling or do you store your corks long term in the corkador. Thanks again!
 

Rice_Guy

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The fumes/gas is the active ingredient, salt form is basically useless, an acidic K meta solution will ALWAYS evolve more free SO2 than a tap water solution (for background google pKa)
Thanks! I've heard that citric acid helps. I'm thinking I would just sanitize the corks immediate prior to bottling. Any thoughts on how long is long enough - or too long?
I am primarily a Nomacork user and shake corks in acidic K meta at the same time i sanitize bottles. I have seen some black develop on corks left wet in the plastic container (mold?)
For natural cork the risk of mold growth is higher, high humidity will promote mold, a high percentage active chemical in the system will discourage mold, organic material will consume SO2.
I agree with @GreginND that it isn’t really necessary, and actual contact with moisture is bad.
 

bstnh1

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I am planning to put together a cork humidor to sanitize my corks for bottling. Any thoughts on this and photos of what you are using would be greatly appreciated. Also - would a 10% SO2 solution work for this? Thank you!
I use a crockpot with a veggie steamer basket in it. K-meta on the bottom; corks in the basket, cover with saran wrap. I only leave them in a day or two before bottling.
 

Fencepost

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I use an extra "Cajun Flip-an-Fry" I had hanging around... Heavy duty plastic container/lid and strainer... the "strainer"/separator already in place (original use was for coating fish with flour/cornmeal then shaking cormeal to bottom of container)... put the kmeta solution in the bottom, insert "strainer" then corks on top. Do this as I am preparing to bottle and when finished filling one set of bottles (in the milk crate), with the AllinOne... corks are ready to go. Works great.
 

sluff

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I use an extra "Cajun Flip-an-Fry" I had hanging around... Heavy duty plastic container/lid and strainer... the "strainer"/separator already in place (original use was for coating fish with flour/cornmeal then shaking cormeal to bottom of container)... put the kmeta solution in the bottom, insert "strainer" then corks on top. Do this as I am preparing to bottle and when finished filling one set of bottles (in the milk crate), with the AllinOne... corks are ready to go. Works great.

Yes - like the "breaded bowl" - Thanks!
 

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I’m a newbie here. Can you just take the amount of corks you need and put them in a StarSan solution for a few minutes at bottling?
 
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I’m a newbie here. Can you just take the amount of corks you need and put them in a StarSan solution for a few minutes at bottling?

Soaking corks is not a recommended best practice. I generally open up my package of corks which was sealed and then, if my wife is helping, squirt some sanitizing solution nearby, then into the corker and into bottles they go.
 
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Soaking corks is not a recommended best practice. I generally open up my package of corks which was sealed and then, if my wife is helping, squirt some sanitizing solution nearby, then into the corker and into bottles they go.
When you say squirt sanitizer solution near by what do you mean? And I should have said I don’t soak them. I sort of dip them in the solution. Is that still not a good thing?
 
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When you say squirt sanitizer solution near by what do you mean? And I should have said I don’t soak them. I sort of dip them in the solution. Is that still not a good thing?

I meant it mostly as a my wife and I disagree over whether to sanitize corks or not. She thinks they should be, I think probably don't need to be. So if she is helping, too appease her I squirt some kmeta sanitization water over the corks we will be installing. About three or four squirts and we are usually doing 60-90 bottles. I wouldn't do corks into star san, it might help them go in easier, I guess, but it also makes it easier for them to come back out on their own.
 

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Keep corks as clean as possible. I always keep a little glass of cheapest vodka I can find next to corker and just give cork quick dip in vodka before inserting into corker. This has always worked well for me
 

dmw_chef

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Just order the number of corks you need for a particular bottling run from widgetco.com. They'll sell you anywhere from 1 to 1000+, that way you're always bottling with fresh corks.

I've stored corks for several months in a cork humidor with no apparent ill effects.
 
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I meant it mostly as a my wife and I disagree over whether to sanitize corks or not. She thinks they should be, I think probably don't need to be. So if she is helping, too appease her I squirt some kmeta sanitization water over the corks we will be installing. About three or four squirts and we are usually doing 60-90 bottles. I wouldn't do corks into star san, it might help them go in easier, I guess, but it also makes it easier for them to come back out on their own.
Thank you for the advice!!
 
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I do like @cmason1957, I do not sanitize corks at bottling time. I keep them in the original bag, and double the loose plastic over several times and secure with a binder clip. I've been doing this since 1990 with no problems.

Keep in mind that commercial wineries cut open the bag of corks, drop them in the hopper, and start bottling.

That said, sanitizing doesn't hurt anything.

But don't boil the corks. When I started that was the advice, and it's bad advice, as that makes the corks brittle.
 

sour_grapes

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I do like @cmason1957, I do not sanitize corks at bottling time. I keep them in the original bag, and double the loose plastic over several times and secure with a binder clip. I've been doing this since 1990 with no problems.

1990? Bryan, it may be time to buy some new corks! :) :) :)
 
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