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I made wine!!! Now a bottling question...

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DIYer

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OMG it worked!! I'm SO completely pleased with myself right now. LOL This is the WE Gewurztraminer kit I started on June 2 (10L, 4-week kit). I just took a tasting sample, and I don't know if it tastes like Gewurztraminer, but it tastes like a very drinkable white wine, at a minimum. Woohoo! I did half the f-pack in the primary so it is pretty dry, although not completely so. The opaqueness in the first pic is from the chilled glass (I had the sample in the fridge to chill). The pic from the top shows how clear it is. I'm so happy!! Thanks to everyone here who provided info and answered questions! :hug

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Now, my bottling question: I just corked a practice bottle filled with water. I have a double-lever (Italian?) handheld corker and #8 corks. Is it normal and ok for the corker to leave a "dent" in the top of the cork, forming a ridge around the edge? Sorry if that's a dumb question, but this is my first time corking.

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jgmann67

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OMG it worked!! I'm SO completely pleased with myself right now. LOL This is the WE Gewurztraminer kit I started on June 2 (10L, 4-week kit). I just took a tasting sample, and I don't know if it tastes like Gewurztraminer, but it tastes like a very drinkable white wine, at a minimum. Woohoo! I did half the f-pack in the primary so it is pretty dry, although not completely so. The opaqueness in the first pic is from the chilled glass (I had the sample in the fridge to chill). The pic from the top shows how clear it is. I'm so happy!! Thanks to everyone here who provided info and answered questions! :hug

View attachment 55308

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Now, my bottling question: I just corked a practice bottle filled with water. I have a double-lever (Italian?) handheld corker and #8 corks. Is it normal and ok for the corker to leave a "dent" in the top of the cork, forming a ridge around the edge? Sorry if that's a dumb question, but this is my first time corking.

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Normal, yes. Nothing to worry about there. It looks great. I would only suggest that you give your wine a little more time to clear and degas before putting it in the bottle. If it tastes “drinkable” now, it will be even better in 6 months to a year.

Search “poof test” on the forum to see if your wine is truly degassed.

As far as clarity: is it clear like glass in the carboy?

I know, I know - but, you want to drink it now!!! Just have a little more patience... it will pay huge dividends.

While you’re waiting to drink this wine you could always... make more wine!
 

Rocky

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Congratulations! As Jim says above, be patient and you will be glad you were.

Of course, you are free to do as you please, but I would suggest the following:
  • Be sure the wine is totally degassed and then let is stand in the carboy under airlock for at a month or two minimum. Personally, I bulk age my whites for 6 months and reds for 12 months, minimum.
  • You have a two handed corker and you are using #8 corks. I have never used one but I suppose that #8's are easier in that apparatus. I use #9 x 1 3/4" for all my wines but I have a floor corker.
  • If you do age the wine a little longer, keep it away from sunlight. I cover my carboys with the cardboard box in which they are shipped and cut a square out of the bottom for clearance for the airlock. If you have a cool and even temperature place, e.g. a cellar, keep the carboy there. I have seen people cover the carboys with a variety of items such as a dark T-shirt or sweat shirt.
  • After the wine has aged for a period, rack it one more time before bottling. It may look totally clear but you would be surprised at the fine sediment that you will find.
Good luck.
 

DIYer

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Thanks for the reminders about degassing. I did use a wine whip with a drill when I racked from primary into the carboy 2 weeks ago, but I just pulled another sample (dang, have to drink another glass! LOL), did the jar test, and there is indeed still quite a bit of gas. As for clarity, I used the clarifying agents in the kit and was very clear within a couple of days of adding them. It has been sitting in the corner, with a black T-shirt over the carboy, since then (2 weeks ago). I will be racking to a bottling bucket to get it off the sediment in the carboy.

I appreciate the advice about further aging (really, I do!), but this is my first batch, and I deliberately chose a lower-end (10L) kit that would be drinkable sooner rather than later. I understand it would be better in 6 months, but I am not interested in waiting 6+ months to start enjoying the fruits of my new hobby. Some of this batch will undoubtedly bottle age for 6-12 months, but the majority of it will probably be enjoyed in the next few months, before summer is over (here in Texas, that extends thru October...).

I have two other batches in the works already: an Australian GSM that will be in EM for 4-6 weeks, then aged at least 6 months, and an Island Mist kit that I plan to start drinking soon after bottling. I also have a limited release red on order (supposed to ship soon) and another GSM kit that I will age even longer than the first. The plan is to have both wines for aging and some quick drinkers to keep me happy while waiting for the others. Best of both worlds, in my opinion. :)

Re the corks: Thanks for the confirmation that the dent is ok. Everything I read online said #8 for hand corkers; #9 for floor models. The practice corking went well--I am rather clumsy, so I was somewhat concerned I would break the bottle or something, but so far, so good!
 

Jal5

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I second the idea of aging at least some of it...we went thru the exact same thing when I started several tears ago.

Look online here and elsewhere for a used floor corker. One of the best pieces of gear that I have. Makes corking two cases easy and simple. Joe
 

Scooter68

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One question regarding the picture of the cork with dent in the top. Was that cork wet when put into the bottle or is that moisture from wetting it later?

Normally you should not be corking with wet corks and of course don't soak corks extensively before using. IF, IF you going to sanitize your corks before use in a solution, it's probably best to do just a quick dip, swish and then set them aside on a clean dry paper towel.
 

DIYer

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One question regarding the picture of the cork with dent in the top. Was that cork wet when put into the bottle or is that moisture from wetting it later?

Normally you should not be corking with wet corks and of course don't soak corks extensively before using. IF, IF you going to sanitize your corks before use in a solution, it's probably best to do just a quick dip, swish and then set them aside on a clean dry paper towel.
The cork was spritzed with sanitizer, yes, and placed in a sanitized bowl. I'd read that slightly wet (not soaked, but damp) corks go in easier. It sounds like maybe you disagree?

Jal5, appreciate the recommendation on a floor corker, but right now I don't have a place to store one. Maybe someday!
 

jgmann67

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If at all possible, find a place. You’ll be glad you did. You can find a decent used Portuguese or Italian model for $50 or less. It makes the bottling process so much better (faster and easier).

Many of us sanitize our corks with a cork-a-dor. Just a sealed container with a bowl of kmeta solution, allowing the fumes to sanitize the corks.
 

Rocky

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DIYer, here are a couple of sites that may be helpful. The first will lead you to a series of videos on making wine from kits. The second is specifically on bottling and corking and demonstrates a way to use the double hand corker. This company is no longer in business due to the death of the owner, shown in the videos.

https://www.youtube.com/user/WineMakersToyStore

 

winojoe

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Congratulations on a successful batch of wine!

Hand corkers are great for doing a small batch.
Seeing that you had a great experience with your first wine, human nature says you will get the bug and start making more batches.
As you ramp up production, a floor corker is an indispensable investment.

The red Portugese Floor Corker is worth the money (around $65) when using regular cork.
If you decide to use synthetic cork, the blue Italian Floor Corker (around $135) is the best way to go.
 

DIYer

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Man, do you guys get kickbacks from the makers of floor corkers? LOL Just kidding, but seriously, I already said I don't have space for one, plus I don't anticipate bottling more than one batch at a time. Continuing to recommend it is a waste of time. :)

@Rocky , thanks for the links/video. I have already looked at some info on corking, but I'll check these out too. FVW was my LHBS for all of 9 months, after I started making cider last spring, until George died. :-(
 

Scooter68

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Corking with damp or wet corks = Easy -n & Easy-out sometimes right before your eyes. The corkers can handle the insertion pressure/compression just fine without the aid of lubrication on the cork and I have personally put corks damp only to seem them slide back our almost half their length and there wasn't any CO2 pressure causing that.

The comments on floor corkers are actually because two handed corkers and the old plastic corkers I used to use are harder to use and folks experienced with two-handers will tell you they have had bottles slide out on them or bottle necks snap etc. The chances of problems are quite a bit higher. I personally use a table top corker which is really just a floor corker without the floor stand. I set it on the counter and it works just fine. I am a low volume wine maker (1 gallon and 3 gallon batches) so I am typically bottling no more than 15 bottles at a time. about every 6 weeks on average.

Keep in mind that folks comments on here are designed to help you succeed and be happy with your results. If you check around on here, there are plenty of stories of disasters in the winery (home wineries) and the comments are typically from folks who have had lots of experiences with a dose of frustration due to unexpected problems.

There are a handful of folks on here to work at or personally sell supplies/equipment for wine making. None of those have posted to your comment.

Good luck to ya - Won't trouble you with any more suggestions.
 

DIYer

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There are a handful of folks on here to work at or personally sell supplies/equipment for wine making. None of those have posted to your comment.

Good luck to ya - Won't trouble you with any more suggestions.
Jeez, I said I was kidding. :-| So much for an attempt at humor...
 

gsf77

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As a beginner maybe I don't understanding "degassing". In my mind I'm thinking if the water in the S-Lock(?) balances out there's no more gas. Do I need to whip it to be sure?

DIYer; When folks looks at me and says "Whhaaat?" I always reply "just another failed attempt at humor".

Btw, everyone, I really enjoy this forum board
 

cmason1957

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The water in your S lock tells you almost nothing. To tell if there is gas in your wine, take an amount of and put it into a tall holder, like the hydrometer test vessel, but anything works, really. Now cover it with your hand and shake it up really well. Uncover and as you do, listen. If you hear a distinct whoosh or pop, you still have gas in the wine that needs to be released.
 

1d10t

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As a beginner maybe I don't understanding "degassing". In my mind I'm thinking if the water in the S-Lock(?) balances out there's no more gas. Do I need to whip it to be sure?
At that point the CO2 has slowed way down but not equalized to atmospheric levels. That takes much more time.
 

Trevor7

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I'm going against the majority of folks here as my first kit is still fresh in my mind.
You've followed directions, now is not the time to start experimenting. Go ahead and start bottling. Number 9 corks do provide a better seal but with your hand corker they will be a bit more difficult to insert. "Try" to avoid the desire to sample "just one more bottle". My first kit was down to ~6 bottles at the end of the three month wait period - the time when I first should have started sampling. Don't wait to start that next kit as you will need to keep the storage area filled with wine that YOU made and then you will have enough to drink your wines that have aged gracefully.
And finally, CONGRATULATIONS! Welcome to the team!
 

DIYer

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I'm going against the majority of folks here as my first kit is still fresh in my mind.
You've followed directions, now is not the time to start experimenting. Go ahead and start bottling. Number 9 corks do provide a better seal but with your hand corker they will be a bit more difficult to insert. "Try" to avoid the desire to sample "just one more bottle". My first kit was down to ~6 bottles at the end of the three month wait period - the time when I first should have started sampling. Don't wait to start that next kit as you will need to keep the storage area filled with wine that YOU made and then you will have enough to drink your wines that have aged gracefully.
And finally, CONGRATULATIONS! Welcome to the team!
Thanks for the welcome, Trevor7! I am *hoping* to have the will-power to open only a couple of bottles a month, so it lasts a while and some have time to age. Plus, I will be able to taste how it ages over time.

And I have 2 other kits already in the works: an Australian GSM started June 23 and an Island Mist started June 26. Plus another GSM in the closet and a Whisky Barrel Cab/Merlot on preorder. Hehehe. I am definitely hooked and trying to get the pipeline loaded.
 
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