Sanitizing corks

Discussion in 'General Wine Making Forum' started by wineview, Feb 9, 2019.

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  1. Feb 9, 2019 #1

    wineview

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    been reading on this subject on line. Most advice is to soak them in metabisulphite until they give a little. I thought soaking was a no no. I remember reading here about putting them in a colander above a sodium metabisulphite solution. Don’t remember the specifics. Can someone run that by me again?

    Thanks
    WV
     
  2. Feb 9, 2019 #2

    sour_grapes

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    Yeah, you pretty much got it. One option is to put some sulfite solution (Na or K) in the bottom of a 5-gallon bucket, put a colander in there, put your corks in the colander, and put a lid on it. Another tactic is to put a tall vessel, like a mason jar, full of sulfite solution in the middle of the bucket, then put the corks around the bottom of the bucket.
     
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  3. Feb 9, 2019 #3

    wineview

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    How long in the sealed bucket?
     
  4. Feb 9, 2019 #4

    dralarms

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    I store mine in a 5 gallon bucket with a bottle of kmeta. When it’s time to bottle I put however many I need in a colander and using a spray bottle. Spritz lightly with kmeta solution.
     
  5. Feb 10, 2019 #5

    Scooter68

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    I dip my corks in a Star San solution for about a minute then set them out on a clean paper towel while I fill my bottles.
    Until I do that they stay in the bag they came in.
     
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  6. Feb 10, 2019 #6

    Ajmassa5983

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    I try to remember to put em in there the day before. But have done less than an hour. I don’t really think it would take too long. Once ya pop the lid, even after a few minutes, your still blasted the strong Kmeta smell.
    Before finding WMT I didn’t do anything, and never had any issue.
     
  7. Feb 10, 2019 #7

    Gandi

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    I throw them in a bucket and wet them in sulfite solution.
    As I am setting up I throw them in the bucket and 5 minutes later, as the bottles fill I fish them out, shake them off and pop them in the corker.
    Never had a problem
     
  8. Feb 10, 2019 #8

    Cellar Vader

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    A word of caution, speaking from experience, when I first started bottling I would have my corks setting in a large bowl of Kmeta. It didn’t take long to realize that, in doing so, the kmeta was SERIOUSLY corroding my floor corker, right at the point where the cork rests before it is squeazed and forced into the bottle. Rust! And really disheartening to think that each cork sat on rust before it went into each bottle! (Had to disassemble the mechanism and sand & repaint that cork “seat.)
    I really regret following the “errant” advice I took about soaking them in Kmeta, all for the sake of sanitation. I have since adopted the “kmeta fuming” option pointed out above to avoid this overlooked pitfall.
     
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  9. Feb 10, 2019 #9

    Yeroc

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    When I picked up corks to bottle my Petite Verdot last fall, I was told at the LHBS that they now don’t recommend sanitizing corks with anything. If I recall correctly, the thinking had something to do with the potential for too much moisture in the cork. The idea made me a little nervous. Because I purchase my grapes through the store, and the store owner also runs a crush facility in SoCal, I figured they have knowledge I don’t and followed the advice.

    The wine has been in bottles about 6 months. I’ve only opened one bottle to test and so far, so good.
     
  10. Feb 10, 2019 #10

    bstnh1

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    I never wet my corks. When you put them in wet, the liquid eventually evaporates and leaves a slight film on the bottle neck that prevents a really good seal. A couple of days or so before bottling day, I place my corks in a small, plastic veggie steamer basket and place the basket in a crockpot that has a half inch of kmeta in it. The corks do not contact the kmeta. I seal the top of the crockpot with saran wrap. I've left them in there for a week and the smell is still plenty potent when uncovered.
     
  11. Feb 10, 2019 #11

    wineview

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    Yes fuming sounds right to me. What is the recommended time to
    Leave them in the bucket?
     
  12. Feb 10, 2019 #12

    bstnh1

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    I wipe that area of my corker with kmeta before I start bottling. But, I wipe it off with clean water when I'm done. Have never seen any sign of rust or corrosion.
     
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  13. Feb 10, 2019 #13

    wineview

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    The jaws on my Italian floor corker are made of brass.
     
  14. Feb 10, 2019 #14

    cmason1957

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    The Jaws are made of brass is a very true statement. However, the plate the corks rest on, before the mass squeeze them is just regular metal and kmeta will rust it. Took about two years for me.
     
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  15. Feb 10, 2019 #15

    sour_grapes

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    And sulfur bonds strongly with the copper in brass:

    (Okay, this is bronze, but same idea:)

    [​IMG]
     
  16. Feb 10, 2019 #16

    Ajmassa5983

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  17. Feb 10, 2019 #17

    Cellar Vader

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    Yep!
     
  18. Feb 10, 2019 #18

    Cellar Vader

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    Yep!
     
  19. Feb 12, 2019 at 12:45 PM #19

    Chris Pittock

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    I've always wondered about this. When I started 20 years ago, I used to float corks in sodium Meta' and used a saucer to hold them under the fluid. Recently though I just throw them into my VWE solution just before I bottle, which only means they are floating for a few minutes. When I need one, I grab it out and rinse it under the tap before putting it in the corker.

    The corks I use now are waxed and the pack says there's no need to soak. They seem to go in quite easily and I've only ever had one force itself out. They don't seem to leak like the older style ones did.

    I do rather fancy one of those fancy Italian floor corking machines everyone seems to like. Are they easy to use? I currently have an old wooden thing that I drop the cork into the top and hit the plunger with a wood mallet.
     
  20. Feb 12, 2019 at 12:53 PM #20

    cmason1957

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    I didn't take a picture, but I wish I had. Last time I corked something, it was my 5 year old grandson operating the corker. Pretty much by himself. So yes, they are easy to operate.
     
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