Re-corking?

Winemaking Talk - Winemaking Forum

Help Support Winemaking Talk - Winemaking Forum:

This site may earn a commission from merchant affiliate links, including eBay, Amazon, and others.

crushday

grape juice artisan
Supporting Member
Joined
Jul 1, 2018
Messages
1,596
Reaction score
3,468
Location
PNW - South Sound
@winemaker81 said on another thread (one I did not want to hijack with my questions):
So I use Nomacorc Select 900 1.5" #9 corks, which are rated for 5 years. I'm leaning towards recorking the few bottles that make it to the 6 year mark. My heavy reds are bottled at the 12-15 month mark, so a 6 yo wine has a 5 yo cork.

Is there any empirical data to support the advantage of re-corking which would undoubtedly introduce a massive infusion of oxygen vs. leaving your five-year cork alone? Undoubtedly, leaving it as is also introduces oxygen, however, in micro doses. When does re-corking "damage" wine as opposed to gracefully letting wine bottle age albeit in a lower quality cork?

🤔
 
Is there any empirical data to support the advantage of re-corking which would undoubtedly introduce a massive infusion of oxygen vs. leaving your five-year cork alone? Undoubtedly, leaving it as is also introduces oxygen, however, in micro doses. When does re-corking "damage" wine as opposed to gracefully letting wine bottle age albeit in a lower quality cork?
That's a great question!

Major Bordeaux houses such as Chateau Lafite-Rothschild send re-corking teams around the world periodically. In the following article it's commented that wines need re-corking every 25 years or so. I read this or a similar article in that time frame (1992), and IIRC, they add a small dose of K-meta to help preserve the wine.

https://www.latimes.com/archives/la-xpm-1992-05-29-me-167-story.html

Which makes me question my comment about recorking. I'm not going to make a wine that I expect to last 25 years, so is there any value in re-corking? Granted, C L-R is using far better corks than I am, but it makes me reconsider the entire idea.

My mentioned timeframe (re-cork at 6 years) is incorrect. Nomacorc Select 900 are rated for 5 years, so I expect to get 7 years due to liability, e.g., premature cork failure in a batch could ruin a cork vendor due to lawsuits, so corks are designed to last longer than the stated time. Since I bottle heavy reds around the 1 year mark, if I was going to re-cork it would be at the 8 year mark.

Which raises another question -- how much wine will I realistically have at the 8 year mark? And if the cork starts to allow greater O2 ingress at that point, how many years will it take for the wine to go bad? And will I realistically have any wine left at that point?

Considering my situation and the corks I use, this line of thought has turned my thinking round -- re-corking is probably not a useful tool. Besides, once I realize a wine is turning because of the cork, it's already too late to fix, so just use it up.

Am I missing anything in the line of reasoning?
 
That's a great question!

Major Bordeaux houses such as Chateau Lafite-Rothschild send re-corking teams around the world periodically. In the following article it's commented that wines need re-corking every 25 years or so. I read this or a similar article in that time frame (1992), and IIRC, they add a small dose of K-meta to help preserve the wine.

https://www.latimes.com/archives/la-xpm-1992-05-29-me-167-story.html

Which makes me question my comment about recorking. I'm not going to make a wine that I expect to last 25 years, so is there any value in re-corking? Granted, C L-R is using far better corks than I am, but it makes me reconsider the entire idea.

My mentioned timeframe (re-cork at 6 years) is incorrect. Nomacorc Select 900 are rated for 5 years, so I expect to get 7 years due to liability, e.g., premature cork failure in a batch could ruin a cork vendor due to lawsuits, so corks are designed to last longer than the stated time. Since I bottle heavy reds around the 1 year mark, if I was going to re-cork it would be at the 8 year mark.

Which raises another question -- how much wine will I realistically have at the 8 year mark? And if the cork starts to allow greater O2 ingress at that point, how many years will it take for the wine to go bad? And will I realistically have any wine left at that point?

Considering my situation and the corks I use, this line of thought has turned my thinking round -- re-corking is probably not a useful tool. Besides, once I realize a wine is turning because of the cork, it's already too late to fix, so just use it up.

Am I missing anything in the line of reasoning?
Great explanation and loved reading the article from the LA Times. Very interesting...

Personally, I use Nomacorc Reserva, rated for 25 years. Sure they cost a little bit more (0.30 cents each) but I don't have to trifle with keeping track of what needs to be re-corked eventually. As I finish bottling, I set aside a couple cases for long term storage and keep those separate in my cellar. Additionally, I also bottle magnums (six for every 50 gallons) for every heavier red. These too are for long term storage (10+ years, reserved for special family events).

Thanks, Bryan!
 
Last edited:
These too, are for long term storage (10+ years, reserved for special family events).
I suspect you're the outlier, holding wines a lot longer than most folks. For your wines, using a significantly better cork is a requirement. Certainly a better choice than recorking a lesser cork.
 
With all this discussion on corkng/recorking has anyone thought about waxing the cork end of the bottle? What would the effect be on the wine? I am no expert on wine making as in all the years I have making wine, the oldest bottle ever had was a 7 yo elderberry that got lost.
 
With all this discussion on corkng/recorking has anyone thought about waxing the cork end of the bottle? What would the effect be on the wine? I am no expert on wine making as in all the years I have making wine, the oldest bottle ever had was a 7 yo elderberry that got lost.
That's a good question. I suppose it depends on the O2 permeability the wax used.

One drawback is that the wine benefits from slight O2 ingress, up to a point. The wax may prevent that, which isn't a problem for ready-to-drink commercial wines and a fair amount of homemade wines, but would be for long aging wines.
 

Latest posts

Back
Top