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Didn't soak the corks - what to do now?

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I just bottled my first batch of wine. I have a hand cork device, the kind that works similarly to a beer bottle capper. I just loaded the dry corks into that and inserted them into the bottles. Most of the corks went in just fine, though a few are sticking out about 1/4". I didn't realize I was supposed to soak the corks first. Is this going to be a problem? Should I remove these corks, buy a new package, and redo the corking step with the soaked corks? Thanks!
 

TonyR

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You will be just fine, what I have read you should only soak corks if you use a hand corker like you did, but it is only to make it easier for the corks to go in.:h
 
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Excellent, thanks! So it's not a problem that some of the corks are sticking out about 1/4" either? Is there any way to push them in the rest of the way?

Also, why do so many internet sites recommend soaking? Is the soaking detrimental, or simply not necessary?
 

dralarms

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I use a floor corker and sometimes I have some that don't go in all the way. I use one of those hand corners with the plunger and a rubber mallet to seat them all the way.
 

dralarms

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Excellent, thanks! So it's not a problem that some of the corks are sticking out about 1/4" either? Is there any way to push them in the rest of the way?

Also, why do so many internet sites recommend soaking? Is the soaking detrimental, or simply not necessary?
Soaking removes the kmeta that is on the corks and if wet when going in they don't always stay. Dry the air that you displace can escape around the cork, wet it "seals" and the air can push your corks out.
 

JohnT

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I insert my corks dry. I do, though, give them a quick spritz of k-meta solution.

Most of the folks here are not cork-soakers!! :)
 

bkisel

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Before getting my floor corker I'd get the same issue as you... Some corks a bit high off the bottle top. When I wanted to shrink cap one of those high cork bottles I'd carefully - so I wouldn't cut myself - trim the cork flush using a razor knife.
 
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drainsurgeon

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If you're going to be in this hobby for a while, do yourself a favor and buy a floor corker. You'll throw that hand corker right out the window! If you do a search on cork-soaking, you will get a mix of opinions. Some feel it necessary to "sanitize" corks when bottling. Most don't, but there are a few cork-soakers around here. ::
 

Floandgary

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The term "SOAKING" implies thorough permeation. NOT necessary!!!! As JohnT mentions, simply wetting them a little is all it takes to help (not gonna finish the rest of the sentence:) ).
 

Scooter68

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Ah the old Do I Soak corks or not debate.

I cast one vote for a short (5mins or less) dip in K-meta solution - simply because I cannot be sure who has handled these corks and because once open, even if clipped shut, spore etc could potentially get on the corks. In any case a 5 minute dip in a K-meta solution is not going to weaken the corks or wipe out any k-meta coating on the corks nor should any wax be bothered . Err on the side of caution.
 

wineforfun

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I am more of a "cork wetter". I let them sit in a kmeta/water solution for 15 - 30 seconds at the most. Just enough to wet the outside. They fit much better in my bottles that way without any sticking out.

I am a hand corker though. Anything to get an extra workout in. :)
 

Mismost

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I'm a floater! Small bowl of StarSan, pitch in 5-6 corks...fill 5-6 bottles...cork...repeat.

Never had any problems, and don't want any problems with sanitation. Just couldn't get past the "don't worry about it, it'll be OK mentality"....even on the last step, I'm gonna sanitize.

BTW...floor corker or AIO pump...toss up between which one I like best...but, plan on keeping both!
 

wineforfun

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After reading @Mismost post, I guess I would be considered a "floater". I do exactly as described. "Small bowl of StarSan, pitch in 5-6 corks...fill 5-6 bottles...cork...repeat."
 

kevinlfifer

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I use a gallon ziplock bag, give the corks a couple of spritz of K-Meta, shake the bag and have at it.
 

Noontime

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I don't have any issue with sanitizing corks, but I'm a firm believer that corks should be completely dry when inserted into the bottle. Please note that there are no commercial wineries that use kmeta on their corks before bottling (that I know of anyway...full disclosure). The cork seals by expanding and making contact with the glass; by trapping liquid in between, you are adding long term risk by creating a path for your wine to wick up, outside stuff to work their way in, and not creating as good a seal between the cork and glass. To me it is mitigating short term risk by adding long term risk.

On the rare occasion I want to sanitize corks, I put them in a colander with kmeta in a sealed bucket (it's the sulfur dioxide gas (SO2) that sanitizes, not the liquid) so they stay dry.
 

wineforfun

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The cork seals by expanding and making contact with the glass; by trapping liquid in between, you are adding long term risk by creating a path for your wine to wick up, outside stuff to work their way in, and not creating as good a seal between the cork and glass.
David,
Interesting, as the few times I have had "wine creep" on my corks, were the times I put the corks in dry. I attributed the cork dryness to allowing the creep to happen. Now I may be way off base on that.

I will say that my corks aren't soaked by any means, just "wetted" on the outside(as described in above post) and they sit upright for 5-7 days before laying down. I can definitely see if the corks are "soaked", that becoming a potential problem.

Have never had any issues with my way so far.
 
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