Quantcast

Corks drying out

Wine Making Talk

Help Support Wine Making Talk:

dcbrown73

Clueless Winemaker
Joined
Mar 28, 2016
Messages
1,219
Reaction score
902
Hey all,

I pulled some 2 year old wine I bottled a year ago out and when I've been trying it and I've noticed that the corks are drying out at least in the upper portion of the cork. I've left them laying on their side this whole time and I'm not sure how to prevent this as I suspect the station won't improve with time and is likely to get worse. Likely ruining the wine or causing leaks.

I've left the wine in the boxes the wine bottles came in. You don't suppose that is the cause? They've been sitting in a closet laying on their side.
 

sour_grapes

Victim of the Invasion of the Avatar Snatchers
Joined
Sep 19, 2013
Messages
11,654
Reaction score
10,037
Location
near Milwaukee
I've noticed that the corks are drying out at least in the upper portion of the cork.
What exactly do you observe? (I.e., what do you mean by "drying out"?)

It is possible that the relative humidity of the closet is too low. There is an "ideal" RH for long-term storage, although I think "normal" ambient conditions in a home in most of the US would be fine.
 

Scooter68

Fruit "Wine" Maker
Joined
Aug 29, 2015
Messages
3,397
Reaction score
1,904
Location
Northwest Arkansas
Agree with Sour_grapes - In your area the humidity shouldn't be an issue unless you run a dehumidifier all the time. Unless you see leakage, I would not worry about it. The wine will keep the inner end moist and tight unless the cork itself has deteriorated or the cork was too small.
 

dcbrown73

Clueless Winemaker
Joined
Mar 28, 2016
Messages
1,219
Reaction score
902
The cork was dry in the upper half of the cork causing (2) of the four opened to break. (it breaks up unlike a new cork that is spongy, not to mention the winter it gets quite dry in the house and I sometimes use a humidifier at night) The other two were opened by using the corkscrew that pulls it straight up.

I keep my house at 72F (AC could be making the house more dry) so I'm unclear as to why it's happening, but it's happened to more than one set of bottles.

I'm finally moving to a house and I intend to store the wine in the basement now which is definitely more moist than my house is. Hopefully this resolves the situation.

The corks are the 9 x 1 3/4 premium corks from Label Peepers.
 

ibglowin

Moderator
Staff member
Administrator
Joined
Jul 7, 2009
Messages
22,205
Reaction score
14,517
Location
Northern Nuevo Mexico
If your buying corks a 100 or so at a time from a LHBS you have no idea how old the stock was when it was shipped to you or how it was stored before being sold to you. Chances are that they were stored in a bin open to the air or perhaps in a plastic ziplock bag in a bin for easy pull. You might try storing them in a corkador when you get them. At least they will be under much better conditions (humidity wise) until you are ready to use them.

I buy 1000 at a time from Lafitte and store them in a corkador and have gone out to two years in a corkador without issues. I am opening wines from 2011 and 2012 now that are still soft and pliable with zero breakage and in overall excellent condition. My cellar is at best ~30% RH most of the time. it does go up to ~50% RH during our monsoon season for a couple months.
 

Kraffty

Member
Joined
Aug 8, 2012
Messages
1,924
Reaction score
3,424
Location
Northern Arizona
If the corks were fresh to begin with I don't think you'd be seeing problems within 2 years. based on a similar experience I'd second the thought they were already drying out or dry before you used them.
I bit the bullet when it happened and pulled and replaced the batch before they became too brittle to pull from the bottles.
Mike
 

meadmaker1

Member
WMT Supporter
Joined
Jan 21, 2017
Messages
764
Reaction score
394
Location
Oregon
If you are cooling to 72 in a warm climate you are drying the air considerably.
Dehumidification is why Mr. Carrier invented ac in the first place. He was a printer by trade and needed ink to dry faster.
 

rustbucket

Senior Member
Joined
Aug 19, 2015
Messages
417
Reaction score
456
Location
The Villages, Florida
Hey all,

I pulled some 2 year old wine I bottled a year ago out and when I've been trying it and I've noticed that the corks are drying out at least in the upper portion of the cork. I've left them laying on their side this whole time and I'm not sure how to prevent this as I suspect the station won't improve with time and is likely to get worse. Likely ruining the wine or causing leaks.

I've left the wine in the boxes the wine bottles came in. You don't suppose that is the cause? They've been sitting in a closet laying on their side.
I live in Florida with A/C running 10 months out of the year and haven't seen any indication of corks drying out over the last 5 years of wine making. Never giving a drying cork problem any thought until David's posting, I'm now wondering if the PVC shrink capsules I use on all the batches I've bottled acts as a moisture loosing preventative.

Like David, my wines are stored in wine bottle boxes lying on their side in a closet.
 

balatonwine

The Verecund Vigneron
Joined
May 9, 2017
Messages
1,011
Reaction score
705
Location
Badacsony wine region. Hungary
Ideal relative humidity for storing bottles of wine is between 60-70%. Less than a cigar humidor (65-75%) But more than you want in the living space of your house (<50%). Not keeping proper humidity can dry out corks over time (and cigars).

Just knowing temperature is not enough. You should have a hygrometer. Since you can pick up a "good enough" hygrometer for about $10 there is no reason not to have one. In fact, get two. Put one where you store your wine. And another one in the house proper to keep living space humidity in the comfort (and no mold growth) zone.
 

garymc

Senior Member
Joined
Sep 12, 2011
Messages
958
Reaction score
214
Did you wet or soak your corks before bottling?
 

jgmillr1

owner, winemaker
Joined
Jun 13, 2017
Messages
598
Reaction score
365
i use DIAM 5 corks, never had issues.
Agree! I only use DIAM corks now. Tried cheaper corks early on but had issues with them breaking when opening or not sealing well.
 

dcbrown73

Clueless Winemaker
Joined
Mar 28, 2016
Messages
1,219
Reaction score
902
Did you wet or soak your corks before bottling?
No, I put them in a bowl then inside a Tupperware container that has a k-meta solution in the bottom and then put the lid on it. I let them sit in there a minimum of 10 minutes, but usually at the start of a bottling session before I've even washed the bottles.
 

trolo

Older Member
Joined
Dec 11, 2013
Messages
84
Reaction score
12
Ok I will bite ..... what is a corkador??
 

ibglowin

Moderator
Staff member
Administrator
Joined
Jul 7, 2009
Messages
22,205
Reaction score
14,517
Location
Northern Nuevo Mexico
An appropriate sized container with a snap on (tightly sealed) lid that you can place a container (like a quart milk jug or similar) filled with KMETA in the center. The corks will be kept at ~55% RH with the lid on and the corks will be sanitized and ready for use when you are. (The corks remain dry and are not soaking in KMETA)
 

trolo

Older Member
Joined
Dec 11, 2013
Messages
84
Reaction score
12
An appropriate sized container with a snap on (tightly sealed) lid that you can place a container (like a quart milk jug or similar) filled with KMETA in the center. The corks will be kept at ~55% RH with the lid on and the corks will be sanitized and ready for use when you are. (The corks remain dry and are not soaking in KMETA)
Wow thanks I never heard of that. So cool now I have to make one.
 

bstnh1

Senior Member
Joined
Jun 6, 2012
Messages
677
Reaction score
475
Location
In the woods of New Hampshire
I buy 1+1 #9, grade A corks from Widgetco ( http://www.widgetco.com/wine-corks-technical-quality-235-45) and have never had any problem with them. I've stored my wine in cardboard wine boxes ,on their sides, in a 50 -65° basement, humidity 50 - 60% for as long as 5 years. I put the corks in a humidor with K-meta for about a week before bottling. No issues with corks drying out, breaking, leaking, etc. 100+ corks are .38 each. Free shipping over $40.
 
Top