How To Bottle Your Wine

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Senior Member
Jan 2, 2010
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How To Bottle Your Wine

Once your wine has aged and you have made all the adjustments necessary, it’s time to bottle. Start by using clean and chip/crack free bottles. You will need five 750ml bottles per gallon or ten 375ml bottles per gallon of wine.


Fill a bucket or tub with warm water and add the appropriate amount of sulfite to sanitize the bottles. Immerse the bottles into the solution followed by using a bottle brush to clean them out one more time. You may allow them to soak a few minutes as well. Remove them and place on a bottle tree or prop them upside down on a clean towel to drain dry. You may sanitize your hands in this solution as well.


Collect the number of corks you will need and place them into a container or a funnel as pictured. Spray them with a water/sulfite solution, (or prior to immersing the bottles into your bucket or tub sanitize them in your buckets solution) then allow them to drip dry.

Place your filled carboy on a counter/table and carefully remove the bung and airlock. Take a clean paper towel sprayed with some sulfite solution and carefully wipe the inside of the carboys neck without touching the wine.

Place your cleaned/sanitized bottles side by side underneath your carboy. Sanitize your siphon tube and place one end into the carboy and the other in a bottle. If you are using a carboy cap blow into the open vent to create pressure inside the carboy which will force wine through the tube (be sure the plastic clamp is not closed). If you are using only a plastic tubing, suck from the opposite end to start the flow of wine through the tube.


Place the plastic tubing all the way into each bottle touching the punt or bottom of the bottle being filled. As the level of wine approaches the neck of the bottle squeeze the plastic clamp slightly to slow the flow of wine. Fill every bottle to the very top. Once the wine has reached the top of your bottle, squeeze the clamp completely to stop the flow of wine. With a little practice you will get very good.

Remove the tube from the bottle and notice the level of wine decreases as the tube is removed. The amount of space remaining is a perfect displacement for your corks. Proceed with filling all of your bottles. Keep the tube in your carboy in the wine and as it approaches the bottom angle forward the carboy with a bung or piece of wood. Should you have a small amount of sediment in the bottom be careful as to not transfer this to your bottles. Fill all of your bottles.

Now take a clean paper towel with a little sulfite solution on it and wipe your corking device. If you are doing just a few bottles you may use a hand corker, for many bottles it is well worth it to borrow, rent or purchase a bench or floor corker. Pictured is my Portugese Floor corker (@$70.00). Wipe around the jaws where the corks will be placed as well as underneath where the bottles will be touching.


Now comes a very exciting part of your wine making experience, corking your very first bottle of wine. Take one bottle (if still damp inside it’s okay) and place it on the tray of your floor corker (counter if using a hand corker). And exert a little pressure to push the tray down then align the top of the bottle with the underside of the jaws allowing the bottle to fit snugly between the tray and the corking jaws.


Now place one cork (if still damp inside it’s okay) into the jaws of your corker (inner tube if using a hand corker) and with downward pressure pull the handle forward all the way. This will cause the jaws to squeeze the cork and the adjustable pin to push the cork into the bottle.



(For a hand corker you will exert inward (to hold bottle) and downward pressure to squeeze then push the cork into the bottle).


There is no need to hold the bottle during the actual corking. Raise the handle up, grab your bottle and push down slightly to remove your first corked bottle of wine. After marveling at your success, check to see that the cork is seated correctly in the bottle. The cork should be slightly below or level with the top of the bottle. If it is too far in, or is sticking out adjust the depth pin on the corker and cork another bottle. Recheck.

Once you have the correct depth, cork all of your bottles. When finished wipe down your corker and your bottles. Place your bottles of wine upright for a few days to ensure that the corks have seated properly in each bottle. Store each in a cool dark place. After a week you may lay them on their sides to keep any natural corks used moist. Synthetic corks need not be kept moist.


Label or mark and even top off your bottles with a plastic/foil capsule applied with a heat gun at your convenience if you like. Allow your newly bottles of wine to rest for one month before opening any. By compressing wine and air together wine can go into what is called “bottle shock” and may have develop an off taste. Don’t panic, after a few weeks this will go away on it’s own.

For that portion of wine that was left over because it wasn’t enough to fill a whole bottle it’s time to sample your creation. If you had a little sediment in the bottom of your carboy you may wish to take the last bottle corked and set aside for yourself at a later time when any small amount has settled out and pour carefully when opened. No need to waste it.
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I know this is an old thread but it was a big help this past weekend, first go at bottling. I did want to add that the fine folks at Sicilano's (a fantastic brew shop) recommended using #8 corks when using a hand corker and #9 corks for a floor corker.