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mhopkins

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I am a relative newbie, having made only 3 batches of red wine (a 4th is in clarification). A few bottles from the 2nd batch suffered from cork taint, so for 3rd batch I went with (inexpensive) synthetic corks to avoid the problem going forward. I have second-guessed that decision out of concern for a diminished (or non-existent) oxygen transmission rate; fearing that the wine won't age properly. For batch number 4, which I will bottle in a week or so, I have opted for Nomacorc synthetic corks in light of their claim to manage the oxygen transfer rate in ways similar to cork. Two questions. First, does anyone out there have an opinion to offer about how Nomacorc synthetic corks perform? Second, what are the implications of re-corking the 3rd batch to replace the cheap synthetic corks with (superior?) Nomacorc synthetic corks? Thanks for any input.
 

balatonwine

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IMHO, If you are going to bottle age the wine for 3 years or more, then high quality real cork is ideal. Just soak them in a K-meta solution for a few hours before bottling. And I can not stress this enough -- get high quality corks to avoid problems.

Again, IMHO, if you are going to bottle age less than 3 years, then using either synthetic or composite corks of any type is fine. I personally would not over think the benefits of micro-oxygenation for a short time period.
 

dralarms

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IMHO, If you are going to bottle age the wine for 3 years or more, then high quality real cork is ideal. Just soak them in a K-meta solution for a few hours before bottling. And I can not stress this enough -- get high quality corks to avoid problems.

Again, IMHO, if you are going to bottle age less than 3 years, then using either synthetic or composite corks of any type is fine. I personally would not over think the benefits of micro-oxygenation for a short time period.

I disagree with soaking the corks. It is acceptable to spray them with a Kmeta solution (lightly), but you should NEVER SOAK CORKS it will cause them to break down prematurely.
 

balatonwine

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but you should NEVER SOAK CORKS it will cause them to break down prematurely.
One does not "need" to pre-soak of course. It is just an option to santitize. A quick dip in Kmeta solution is also an option if one wants. Or insert dry if one wants. But a bit of Kmeta I find reduces cork taint.

Otherwise, corks are going to be soaked in wine for years with the bottle on its side. Why would a soaking in water and a little bit of Kmeta cause them to break down? I have never had any cork fail that I pre-soaked. My cellar has high humidity. The only concern is drying out on one side versus the other. But that should not be a problem either as the cork should equalize with the wine inside rather quickly unless one really is storing the bottle in a very dry place (which is generally not a good idea).

Note, one should not soak in hot water or boil of course, just cold water. Hot water is not good. So to clarify, don't use hot water. Some say to soak in warm water for 15 minutes, but I don't thinks this is good either. Even warm water can leach out chemicals from the cork that upon bottling ends up in the bottle's contents.
 
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dralarms

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One does not "need" to pre-soak of course. It is just an option to santitize. A quick dip in Kmeta solution is also an option if one wants. Or insert dry if one wants. But a bit of Kmeta I find reduces cork taint.

Otherwise, corks are going to be soaked in wine for years with the bottle on its side. Why would a soaking in water and a little bit of Kmeta cause them to break down? I have never had any cork fail that I pre-soaked. My cellar has high humidity. The only concern is drying out on one side versus the other. But that should not be a problem either as the cork should equalize with the wine inside rather quickly unless one really is storing the bottle in a very dry place (which is generally not a good idea).

Note, one should not soak in hot water or boil of course, just cold water. Hot water is not good. So to clarify, don't use hot water. Some say to soak in warm water for 15 minutes, but I don't thinks this is good either. Even warm water can leach out chemicals from the cork that upon bottling ends up in the bottle's contents.

The cork comes presanitized so soaking is not necessary. A quick spritz with kmeta is enough to assure the cork goes in properly with a little less effort. And I agree, boiling g, or soaking in hot or warm water will cause them to fail early
 

JohnT

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The debate is an old one (to either be a cork soaker or not).

I used to soak, even boil my corks in the past. After seeing the soaking water afterwards, I wonder if there is a benefit by not having that residue wind up in my wine.

Currently, however, I only soak them in k-meta solution for just a minute or two (more like a rinse). I find that this lubricates the cork and makes it a bit easier to glide into the bottle.

The reason I no longer soak my corks is one of convenience. I normally bottle 30 or 50 cases at a time. Soaking all of the corks prior to bottling is simply too impractical.

One question I would ask: Are you sure that you have cork taint?? If you are, then are you using bleach or any form of chlorine that might have been exposed to your wine? If a kit, are you using city water that might have been chlorinated?

Chlorine is one of the three items required for cork taint, so it should never be used near wine. Using high quality corks, as was said earlier, would also diminish the chance of cork taint occurring.

For more info on soaking cork, here is a brief video about this subject
(you guys KNOW this was coming up).

http://www.nbc.com/saturday-night-live/video/cork-soakers/n11823?snl=1
 
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tjgaul

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I switched to using a cork-a-dor a few months back and skip the dipping and spritzing altogether. I figure if I pull back the lid and it smells strong then the corks are getting a continuous dose of K-meta the whole time they are stored.

I agree that chlorine should always be avoided.
 

Scooter68

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Since I stopped soaking my corks (Cheap Natural cork) i haven't had one push back out nor have I ever had any problems with wine going bad or leaking etc etc. The first few times (When I soaked in warm sanitizer) I had several corks push back out anywhere from 1/8 to 1/2 inch. A simple dip or spritz just to kill an surface germs should be more that enough. Soaking softens cork - not a good idea.
 

garymc

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Everybody has an opinion. Here's mine. I never get my corks wet if I can help it. I use a corkidor. In order to prevent misunderstandings I'll specify that I keep the corks in it for at least 15 minutes up to an hour or so, whatever time I'm bottling. I say this because someone reported keeping them in a sealed container with a k-meta solution for months and they rotted or had stuff growing on them. I spray a sanitizing solution of k-meta on the bottom, sides, and inside surface of the lid of a plastic bucket. Then I put the corks in a colander and put it in the bucket and put the lid on, so they don't touch the wet sides or bottom, but can get surrounded by the sulfite gas given off by the k-meta. Spraying it on the inside surfaces of the bucket gives a rapid release of sulfite gas due to the large surface area. The gas will sanitize the corks in about 15 minutes. I've never had one of the 1200 or so bottles of wine I've made go bad or have a cork problem.
 

FTC Wines

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I also use a cork a dor, usually putting my corks in a day in advance. When I used to spray my corks I noticed that my corker "rusted/got dirty more" . Now it stays much cleaner. Roy
 

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