Thinking about buying a floor corker

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limulus

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Hello Lads,
I've been making wine about a year now. I have quite a bit or product coming up on the 6 and 9 month bulk aging mark. I've been using Zorks and a rubber mallet. However, Zorks are a bit spendy. They are nice for re-sealing an open bottle but I think when these are gone, I'm going to buy a good corker and corks.

With the Zorks, I just soak them in some beer brewing sanitizer like StarSan and they are good to go. It seems corks are a bit different so I've got some reading to do.

Is there a good article or thread I can read about sanitizing corks? I'm also confused about the types of corks so I'll have to read more about that. Final question: does anyone have a recommendation for a corker? I want to get a floor corker just for ease of use.
 

TonyR

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If you buy and use fresh corks they should NOT be sanitized. Look for an Italian floor corker, the blue one. They have brass jaws and with just minimal care it will last your lifetime.
 

richmke

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> sanitizing corks?

I keep them stored in a sealable cooler with some metabisulfite dissolved in water. It produces a gas chamber that keeps the corks sanitized and moisturized.

> types of corks

At a minimum, use #9 corks (not #8). Other than that, the more expensive, the longer they last.

> recommendation for a corker?

Portuguese is the cheapest with a plastic head (part that compresses the cork)
Italian is better with a brass head
I use a Swiss corker (lot more expensive, but I found one off craigslist).

If you can test one out, do so. They are different heights, so that may be a factor for you.

With synthetic corks, the Italian is supposed to be a little better.

There are different levels of the Portuguese. I think Red model and Blue Model. The Blue is better.

Check prices on Craigslist, and look for a deal. $45 for a red Portuguese. $60 for a Blue, and $85 for an Italian.

The Italian has attachments you can buy for Champagne, and Beer.
 

dcbrown73

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I have the red Portuguese floor corker. I've only bottled two batches so far with it, but I've had no issues with it at all.

I suppose after many years of use, plastic heads may become an issue, but I don't see it becoming one any time soon given that I will max out at less than 10 (probably closer to 7-8) six gallon batches a year. 10 would be corking 300 bottles per year. At that rate I would think this corker should last many years. It's solid, very stable, and corks very easily.

Though, if you are looking at corking lots of wine for many years. I think the Italian corker is your best bet. I probably would have went with the Italian since it's not all that much more expensive, but I didn't know any better. Though I am still happy with my current corker.
 

bkisel

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Got my Italian Corker as a Christmas present 2 or 3 years ago. Way better than the 2 lever hand corker it replaced.
 

Mismost

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I have the red one and much like my guns, you will have to pry cold dead hands off it before you take it away from me! Floor corker or AIO pump....tough call on which one I like best...but, I ain't getting rid of either one of them.

Through out the whole wine making process it is sanitize sanitize sanitize...then when it comes time to plug the bottle with a cork, the cork does not have to sanitized but the bottle does. Now does that make sense to you? I have no idea where that cork was before I bought that bag...did the guy packing them sneeze all over them? Did he wash his hands after he peed? I do not know. I just have a small bowl of Starsan and pitch a handful at a time in the there...use them up...pitch in a few more. They are sanitized now.
 

limulus

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So are the corks suspended above the liquid or is the metabisulfite solution inside a smaller container that is then placed into the larger container?

> sanitizing corks?

I keep them stored in a sealable cooler with some metabisulfite dissolved in water. It produces a gas chamber that keeps the corks sanitized and moisturized.
 

richmke

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So are the corks suspended above the liquid or is the metabisulfite solution inside a smaller container that is then placed into the larger container?
I have a cooler with a latch. Inside is an ice cream tub with about 1" of water with a 2 tablespoons or so of Na-Meta (K-Meta works too, but is more expensive).

Stuff goes in the rest of the cooler around the ice cream tub.

When I open the tub, I get a nice whiff of sulfur gas. When that whiff starts to get weaker, I add another tablespoon, or so (not rocket science here) of Na-Meta.

When I start noticing salt crystals forming (Na something precipitating out), I will pour out the solution and add fresh water with the next Na-Meta addition.

Note: Anything metal will rust in the gas chamber, so nothing metal goes in there for more than an hour. I believe 20 minutes is the contact time for sanitization.

I store corks, glass hydrometers, plastic test cylinder for the hydrometer, plastic stirring implements, bungs, etc. Keeps then sanitized for immediate use.
 

Johnd

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Similar to @richmke I keep a 5 gallon bucket with a few inches of KMS solution in the bottom. I store hydrometers, bungs, airlocks, measuring cups, stirring spoons, etc. in there while not in use, obviously with the lid snapped on tightly.

When it's time to bottle, I turn the measuring cups upside down and put a strainer basket on top of them, above the liquid KMS, and simply put corks into the basket while I'm bottling. Fumes do the sanitizing, just pull the basket out and commence corking.
 

limulus

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Thanks guys, that is how I was envisioning the method.
 

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