In need of cork education

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Zintrigue

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I need to buy corks and now find myself with more questions than answers.

I've been using the #8 "22mm" corks (I think 22mm) that came with the first kit I got. Now that I have to buy more, I was looking at #7 because the hand corker I use requires lots of sweat and shaking arms.

Then I run across all these other things that are spinning me for a loop.

1.) Are tapered corks usable for bottling wine? So much cheaper, look easier to apply...
2.) Is the #7 cork only for 1-2 months storage? Stick with thicker corkers for longer storage? Or was one lonesome reviewer talking out of their ***, as people do?
3.) Is there a secret fountain of corks you guys go to? Cause I'm thinking $20 for 100 of them, plus $11 shipping is ridiculous. It's cork.
4.) Can I reuse old corks? I mean, see above...
5.) Why do we cork instead of using screw tops or those beer bottles with the pop tops? What's the chemistry?
6.) Why do we park on a driveway and drive on a parkway?

All I've got for now. Thanks everyone.
 

Scooter68

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My local Supplier has #8s for $15.99 / 100 Still not cheap but I understand. Corks are just one of those things you do. As to using #7s - I don't think I'd go there. I'd look at a better corker. Again I'm not into spending $$$$ on this hobby but somethings are just too tough to do without. My mind was made up for me recently when I almost couldn't get even the first cork into a bottle with my little plastic corker. The last one never did get pushed all the way and is currently sticking up about 1/8"

So I understand but I don't think the #7s are going to be the solution unless you are certain the wine will be stored upright and consumed in a very short time. Why risk your time and effort.

Same goes for re-using corks. 1) Possible bacterial contamination and 2) If a screw type remover was used then that cork is compromised already.

I will say unless you have helper or you want to build a support base to hold your bottles while corking, the two handled corkers are probably not your answer either. I saw many many of them new and USED on Ebay. That said if you build a support to keep the bottle from kicking out you probably could use a two handled corker but....

As number 6) I'll drive past your question and say - I never really got the term "Freeway" until I spent some time in Chicago driving on the multitudes of Tollways.
 
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3274mike

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One other question is are putting in corks dry many say to steam with sanitizer I just put them in a bowl of water and a little sanitizer shake them off then use them. I use an inexpensive table corker it's all plastic but works well best is a floor corker. I have dry corked it is more work and have blown some tops of bottles doing this not fun. Even dip and shake in water works just not sanitary.and I use #9 corks.
 

richmke

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1.) Are tapered corks usable for bottling wine? So much cheaper, look easier to apply...

I wouldn't use them. You want the best seal you can get.

2.) Is the #7 cork only for 1-2 months storage? Stick with thicker corkers for longer storage? Or was one lonesome reviewer talking out of their ***, as people do?

Yes. My #8 corks will weap. #7 will be even worse. You really need #9 to get a good seal for multi-year storage.

Note: 375ml bottles are slightly smaller, so #7 is like a #8 cork for a regular bottle.

4.) Can I reuse old corks? I mean, see above...

No. The cork is deformed, and will not seal well.

5.) Why do we cork instead of using screw tops or those beer bottles with the pop tops? What's the chemistry?

Screw top is fine, but you need the right screw top. Screw top bottles designed for the home brewer is fine. The threads are different between commercial vs home brew. Commercial bottles need a commercial machine to screw them on.

Beer bottles/caps are designed to be consumed in a few months. They are not designed for long-term storage.

If you are making an Island Mist type wine that will be consumed in a few months, then any of your options would work. If you want to age a big red for a few years, you will need a floor corker and #9 corks.

6.) Why do we park on a driveway and drive on a parkway?

How many days are there in a light year?
 

jburtner

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Where to get the extra long very dense and nice corks I pull out of the nicer wines? I would like to use those for most reds I'm starting these days. Regular #9's for the whites. Gonna drink those quickly.

Cheers!
-johann
 

pip

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I dont cork all my wine. I use swing clip lids for fruit wine i plan on drinking in the near future and only cork the wine that needs aging. It saves a lot of dollars. But then again, making a really outstanding wine is secondary for me, i'm mostly motivated by making a nice alcoholic fruit wine that can be drunk a month or two after starting and in this case, provided its degassed ok, the swing clip lids seem to work fine for me.
 

hounddawg

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I've got both screw top 28mm poly cone caps, expensive
Flor corks #9 x44mm or 1 an 3/4 inch even more expensive,
I'm going to Norma corks #9 x 1 & 3/4 synthetic about $29 per hundred on e bay
I don't like 1 plus 1 or aglamated corks, as for corker if you're in for the long haul and Italian floor corker around $150 but more then worth it, I bottle very little just under a couple hundred gallons a year, to much family, some I never new were kin,, lol
Dawg
 

Johnd

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Where to get the extra long very dense and nice corks I pull out of the nicer wines? I would like to use those for most reds I'm starting these days. Regular #9's for the whites. Gonna drink those quickly.

Cheers!
-johann
I get mine from Lafitte Cork. You can choose the quality that you desire, pricing increases accordingly.
 

Zintrigue

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You guys are a riot.

Richmke - It's a trick question, lightyears are distance. (I'm a trekkie!)

Okay, I got a double lever corker after watching a few people on youtube use it. The key isn't downforce as much as it is making sure the grabber has the bottle - like breaking a stick (according to a reviewer). Squeeze, don't push. For $13 it's worth a shot, can't be any worse off than before. Also got the #9 corks, as I'm not sure how long I'll be storing some of my wines.

I'll soak them in sanitizer water for a bit then pop those bad boys in the corker. (resisting urge to make dirty joke)

Thank you guys for answering my questions (even number 6, haha), you've been a real help, as always.

-Zintrigue
 

wpt-me

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If you are using a double corker, make sure the cork is centered in
the corker. they go in pretty straight that way,using #9 corks.

Bill
 

Scooter68

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Zintrigue You had to bring up the cork-sanitizer issue didn't you...

Soak
Dip
Spritz
Fume
Dry

All sorts of approaches are used. Only thing I will be bold and say is that any extended soaking is probably not in your best interest. Wetting them to get them in can work both for and against you. If they slide in easy they can pop out easy too if you have either overfilled or a little gas pressure develops. (Doesn't have to bust a bottle just popping the cork out of a horizontally stored bottle will still make a mess.

Let the cork 'treatment' discussion begin. :)
 

pip

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Well, i'm pretty new to 'treating' my corks. Last year i just stuffed them in fresh out of the packet...they looked pretty clean! This year though, i'm pouring boiling water into a bucket with metabisulfite, standing the corks over in a strainer, covering the bucket and letting them steam for an hour or so. Then let them dry. Low labor level. I have no idea if this actually sanitizes them or not but it makes me feel better.:i
 

jburtner

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I get mine from Lafitte Cork. You can choose the quality that you desire, pricing increases accordingly.
Thanks John! I'm checking those out for next bottling.

Cheers!
-johann
 

Treeman

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Zintrigue ......

Let the cork 'treatment' discussion begin. :)

IMO. Don't treat corks.

If your wine has sulfite in it, your bottle has been cleaned and rinsed with sulfite, and your corking mechanism has been rinsed with sterilizer you are good to go.

The surface of the cork that contacts the wine will be sterilized by the sulfite in the wine. No issues for me in 6-yrs. I do use all of my corks within 6 months of purchase, but no special storage. Just resealable bag.
 

Johnd

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Thanks John! I'm checking those out for next bottling.

Cheers!
-johann
You'll like their product, but you have to call them, IIRC correctly. If you are so inclined, first time around for 100 bucks, they will create a die and stamp all of your corks for you with your winery name. After the initial fee, there is no charge. I've seen quite a few folks here that use the 1+1 corks and really like them............
 

Zintrigue

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Zintrigue You had to bring up the cork-sanitizer issue didn't you...

Soak
Dip
Spritz
Fume
Dry

All sorts of approaches are used. Only thing I will be bold and say is that any extended soaking is probably not in your best interest. Wetting them to get them in can work both for and against you. If they slide in easy they can pop out easy too if you have either overfilled or a little gas pressure develops. (Doesn't have to bust a bottle just popping the cork out of a horizontally stored bottle will still make a mess.

Let the cork 'treatment' discussion begin. :)
Oh damn, I unknowingly started a hot topic. Well, here we go. :sm
 

Zintrigue

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IMO. Don't treat corks.

If your wine has sulfite in it, your bottle has been cleaned and rinsed with sulfite, and your corking mechanism has been rinsed with sterilizer you are good to go.

The surface of the cork that contacts the wine will be sterilized by the sulfite in the wine. No issues for me in 6-yrs. I do use all of my corks within 6 months of purchase, but no special storage. Just resealable bag.
I was kind of thinking along these lines to begin with. :db
 

StBlGT

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Here's what i do:

1. Buy a new bag of corks.....say 120 ct #9's
2. Cork a batch WITHOUT doing anything to the cork.....just pull from the bag, insert into your corker....done.
3. Take remaining 90 or so corks and put them in a "corkidor".....A sanitized bucket with an open kmeta solution. Then, you place the corks inside the bucket around the container holding your kmeta......be careful NOT to get the corks wet (i made that mistake once and will never do it again; they push right back out of the bottle within 30 minutes). Put your lid on tightly....done. The fumes sanitize the corks without getting them wet.
4. When you cork another batch, just open the lid, pull out your corks one at a time until the bottling is done. Put lid back on .
5. After 3 or 4 months and you still have corks left, remove old kmeta solution and replace with a fresh kmeta solution.

Too easy.....and it works great.
 
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