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Intheswamp

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I'm thinking of going ahead and biting the bullet and buying a floor corker before I try tackling my 3-gallon carboy of seven-year-old traditional mead. The one that I'm looking at is the red Portuguese floor corker. It seems to have been well thought of and recommended over the last several years. Are the current ones still decent corkers? I know how quality can change over time and just making sure it's still a good one.

Also, corks... I've got some corks but I had bought them when I pitched the yeast for the mead so they're seven years old, too. From what I've read they've probably dried out too much for sealing wine bottles. Looking around I'm not sure what to buy...seems there's several brands and whatever. I'll go with #9 non-synthetic. Any recommendations on what and where to buy some. Or, could my old corks still be good?

Thanks for the feedback! I'll quit asking all these questions...in a few years. ;)
Ed
 

cmason1957

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I am a fan of the Blue Italian floor corker. Brass Jaws, longer handle, slightly taller. A bit more expensive, but you can usually find it for under $100. Corks, I like the #9, bidisc corks. They are high quality corks on either end and an ammolgorated cork in the middle.
 

Intheswamp

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Thanks for the feedback! So the current red Portuguese corkers haven't been cheapened down build wise, eh? I'm not going to bottle but maybe 25-30 bottles a year so the Portuguese should work well for me, I was just wondering about recent reviews of it. If there were horror stories I was going to look up the food chain at a higher-end corker. I like the Italian corker, but it's overkill for what I anticipate doing with a corker. I haven't seen one of the Italians for less than around $115. If I could get it down to $100 or so I'd probably have to go for it.

robert81650, when did you purchase your Portuguese?

cmason1957, I looked at Morewine and found a pdf on what I think are their bidisc corks. I was looking at these corks on MoreWine:
Wine Corks - 1 3/4 in Agglomerated 1+1 and noted a pdf file with details on the corks. One thing that got my attention is that they recommend using all of the corks within 6 to 9 months of the production date on the bag and *all* the corks in the bag should be used upon opening the bag. I figure I'll be corking 5-10 bottles at a time. Hmmm, maybe I need to figure on capping the bottles.<sigh>
 

Jal5

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Don’t rule out looking fir a used floor corker. I got the Portuguese one at a very reasonable price in good condition last year.
Joe
 

Intheswamp

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In my area Craigslist, etc., are a desert region...not much there. But, I've found one listed I've inquired about but haven't gotten a reply back.

I've seen a Portuguese corker that is a darker red color than the regular one...more of a maroon color. I've only seen it listed a few places and it's billed as being "better" than the red one. I believe it is a couple of inches taller, maybe a longer handle, and maybe another different feature or two. And it's usually about $20-25 higher priced. Of course when you move up that much in price you start approaching the Italian floor corker's price so it's kind of in a no-man's zone in regards to price point.

I may just bite the bullet and order a red Portuguese from one of the vendors.
 

Intheswamp

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Ok, the regular red Portuguese corker has four nylon/plastic jaws for compressing the cork. From what I can find the maroon colored Portuguese-type corker is the "Excelvin Floor Corker by Distrivin"...and it (from what I can tell) only has three jaws. It seems to me that the Excelvin is slightly larger and maybe a bit heavier. But it seems to me that four jaws would center up a cork better than three jaws could. The three jaws would be a simpler construction, I suppose, which could be a better thing...but, I'm thinking the fourth jaw is better. Any thoughts on this?
 

Rocky

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If I were talking about only bottling 25-30 bottles a year, I am not sure I would invest in a floor corker unless I got an absolute steal, pricewise.

I would just get one of these: https://labelpeelers.com/portuguese-double-lever-corker/

I had one years ago when I got back into making wine again and did not get a floor corker until my bottling exceeded about 200 or so.

As regards corks, I use the bi-disc described by cmason1987, above, #9 by 1.75".
 

Intheswamp

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Thanks for the feedback, Rocky. I want to age some of the wine I make for an extended period of time so I was interested in using #9 corks, thus my interest in a floor corker. I went ahead and punched the button on a Portuguese corker last night. The bi-disc corks sound good, but as I was reading the description of the ones on MoreWine it appears that you're supposed to use all the corks immediately after opening the bags. The smallest bag is 25-count so with my three gallons of mead I'd have possibly 10 left over if I didn't make mistakes while corking. Can they be resealed and stored at least a few months and still be ok to use?
 

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I use the double levered Portuguese corker and it works well for me bottling 12-25 bottles at a time. It does tend to put a dimple in the cork though. Not a problem to me, but some my not like that.
 

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II was not aware that one must use the bi-disc immediately after opening. I normally buy in bags of 1000 and break them down into "Ziplok" bags of 100. I have not noticed a problem with this procedure but I may have a time bomb on my hands!

I have the Italian floor corker and my son-in-law has the Portuguese model. We are both happy with our machines. I find that maintenance is important in either case. After using the corkers, is spritz it with K meta solution, rinse with clear water and blow dry with my compressor. I have had my corker for about 8 years and have bottled 1000's of bottles of wine with it. It is wearing and is getting a little loose so I have ordered some bearings to fix the problem from a suggestion by NorCal.
 

sour_grapes

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The smallest bag is 25-count so with my three gallons of mead I'd have possibly 10 left over if I didn't make mistakes while corking. Can they be resealed and stored at least a few months and still be ok to use?
I have not had any problems using corks that sat open for months and months.
 

Intheswamp

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II was not aware that one must use the bi-disc immediately after opening. I normally buy in bags of 1000 and break them down into "Ziplok" bags of 100. I have not noticed a problem with this procedure but I may have a time bomb on my hands!

I have the Italian floor corker and my son-in-law has the Portuguese model. We are both happy with our machines. I find that maintenance is important in either case. After using the corkers, is spritz it with K meta solution, rinse with clear water and blow dry with my compressor. I have had my corker for about 8 years and have bottled 1000's of bottles of wine with it. It is wearing and is getting a little loose so I have ordered some bearings to fix the problem from a suggestion by NorCal.
I'm definitely going by what I've read. It just seems that if you use the other corks in the bag within a reasonable length of time (whatever that is) that they should be ok. I mean it's not like we're gonna throw'em on a table we cleaned a mess of fish on last night to sort'em in piles to pack in smaller units. ;)

It is interesting that you mention spritzing your corker with k-meta. I've read folks say not to do that for possible corrosion issues. I do see your rinsing with clear water. I may forego the k-meta on mine. Maybe wipe the punch-pin/corker-pin/(or whatever it's called) with some k-meta or Star San. No more bottles that I'll run through in one batch I can hopefully take my time and keep things neat and clean. It seems the suspect area would be the surface of the compression jaws that come in contact with the corks...plastic doesn't corrode but I'm not sure how one would really sanitize them inside the capper without getting it on metal surfaces. We'll see how it goes.

Anybody want to mention where they get there corks from? I've read review after review and it seems like it's a crap shoot between "the ends tear and leave bits of cork in the wine" to "they work great for long term aging". And...reviews...can they even be trusted these days.<sigh>
 

bstnh1

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If I were talking about only bottling 25-30 bottles a year, I am not sure I would invest in a floor corker unless I got an absolute steal, pricewise.

I would just get one of these: https://labelpeelers.com/portuguese-double-lever-corker/

I had one years ago when I got back into making wine again and did not get a floor corker until my bottling exceeded about 200 or so.

As regards corks, I use the bi-disc described by cmason1987, above, #9 by 1.75".
I used the double lever corker for years. Best move I ever made was getting a Portuguese Floor Corker to replace it. It's so much easier and does a much better job. No comparison at all.
 

bstnh1

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I am a fan of the Blue Italian floor corker. Brass Jaws, longer handle, slightly taller. A bit more expensive, but you can usually find it for under $100. Corks, I like the #9, bidisc corks. They are high quality corks on either end and an ammolgorated cork in the middle.
Where do you buy the bi-discs? I've been getting mine from Widgetco, but the last batch I got don't look that great - lots of open areas in the discs.
 

cmason1957

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Where do you buy the bi-discs? I've been getting mine from Widgetco, but the last batch I got don't look that great - lots of open areas in the discs.
I believe I got my last batch from my LHBS. For some reason they always have the best prices on corks. Also, and take this for what it is worth. I always buy a bag of 1000, split it into three containers when I open it and sprinkle some K-Meta in there with the corks. Then use them as I bottle. I haven't had an issue doing it that way in over 4 years.
 

Intheswamp

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Does anybody have an opinion on LabelPeelers or MoreWine's bi-disc corks?

Btw, I looked up widgetco.com and checked the corks out. The photos sure are pretty, eh? ;) What caught my attention was that the description stated good for "4 years". If I want to age some wine for possibly 10-15 years are the bi-disc corks my best option or ?????

One day, when I croak, I'll stop asking questions. Hmm, I need to start thinking about an epitaph. <grin>
 

cmason1957

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I think it might be time for me to look closer at these corks. Wine Corks - 1 3/4 in. Acquamark Corks.

The words say - These corks have the ageable lifespan of Natural Cork, but are closer to the price of an agglomerated or overrun cork. Price seems to be reasonable to me, much less than I remember buying from my LHBS for the bi-disc ones.
 

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