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Should I sanitizes my corks?

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Mollie

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My corks came in a plastic bag from my local wine store. Never open. Should I disinfect them? If so how?
 

dralarms

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No, no need to as long as they are fresh and pliable they should be good to go. If they are hard take them back and request fresh ones.
 

ceeaton

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As with many aspects of wine making, there are many who do, and many who don't. I tend to buy small quantities of corks (100 at a time) and use them fairly quickly, so I never sanitize them. Haven't had a problem yet but have only been wine making for two years.

Others will suspend the corks in a bucket that has a strong Kmeta solution in the bottom, and cover with a lid (they call it a cork-a-dor). That way they don't get the corks wet, but instead the fumes from the Kmeta keep the corks from developing funky stuff living on them.

Even others will soak them before using them. So pick your method, if one works better than the other I'd stick with it. But I'm lazy, so I tried the easiest method first and so far it has worked just fine.
 

bkisel

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I think I'd want to hear from the manufacturer that they consider the corks sanitized while sealed in the packaging. Short of that I'd sanitize them before use just to be on the safe side.
 

brewbush

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A day before you use them, take a small shoe size storage bin like the packs from Costco. Clean and spritze it with kmeta, then dry it. Put a cup inside with some water and 1 tbsp of kmeta. Around the cup dump your corks and seal it up. This will fill the area with SO2 fumes and keep corks humidified and sanitized. Good to go on bottling day.
 

Rocky

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I suggest that the time and cost to sanitize the corks is a miniscule investment compared to the potential (albeit small) problems of contaminated corks. I have an old salad spinner that I have adapted for this purpose. It is the three piece design with bowl, basket and top (see pictures). I pour a small amount of sanitizing solution (3T of K-meta in 1 G of Water) in the bowl, put the corks in the basket and cover with the top when I start a bottling session. While I am cleaning and sanitizing the bottles and filling them, the gas from the solution does its job. The corks are suspended in the gas for about an hour.

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Johnd

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I suggest that the time and cost to sanitize the corks is a miniscule investment compared to the potential (albeit small) problems of contaminated corks. I have an old salad spinner that I have adapted for this purpose. It is the three piece design with bowl, basket and top (see pictures). I pour a small amount of sanitizing solution (3T of K-meta in 1 G of Water) in the bowl, put the corks in the basket and cover with the top when I start a bottling session. While I am cleaning and sanitizing the bottles and filling them, the gas from the solution does its job. The corks are suspended in the gas for about an hour.
Hence, the "Corkidor". I do the same thing with a small one gallon bucket and a strainer which is held off the bottom by a couple of plastic pegs superglued in place to keep it above the sulfite solution. Thousands of bottles, not one problem thus far. (knock on wood)
 

jgmann67

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Mine is a bit more simplistic - a one gallon Ziploc bag and a small bowl of strong kmeta solution, 32 corks... let it sit overnight and the fumes do their thing. When I'm ready to bottle, I remove the bowl of solution and go.
 

Scooter68

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Regardless of whether or not the corks came 'pre-sanitized' you aren't going to hurt anything by doing a simple sanitization before you use them. The issue that get kicked around here a lot is how you go about that. For starters these are just a few of the methods used:
Vapors - The humidor for corks show in several posts on this thread
Spritz - A quick spritz of the corks with a kmeta solution
Dipping - Dipping the corks into a bowl of sanitizer solution just before use. That dip could be for swipe through the solution or letting them set in it while you start the corking process.
Soaking - Putting corks into a container an letting them sit for at least an hour or more.

The last one is a minority opinion - as far as I can see. It poses the danger of softening the corks so that they won't stay in the bottle and potentially ruining both the cork and your wine.
Personally I use the dip method. Regardless of if my corks were or were not sanitized when I got them I prefer to be certain they are clean when I use them since my corks aren't used as soon as I open the bag to do 5,10,15 bottles of wine. One thing I would not do is to store a damp or moistened cork in sealed bag or container even if it does have sanitizer on it.

One last suggestion - Be careful not to overfill the bottles. That can cause your corks to back out especially if you are hand corking or using a #8 cork on a standard wine bottle.
 
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