Wine corks have mold and are dried out

Winemaking Talk - Winemaking Forum

Help Support Winemaking Talk - Winemaking Forum:

ringmany

Member
Joined
Mar 20, 2018
Messages
40
Reaction score
2
Hi everyone,

I've been making wine for a little while now. Had some wine in storage for a few months. I cork my wines and also started using shrink caps.

I opened a bottle of wine around a month ago and there was some grey stuff growing around the cork and it was quite dry when opening. I just went to open another bottle of wine that has been bottled for 3 months, removed the shrink cap and there was some green mold on the top.

I tried using a bottle opener, but the wine cork was completely tried out and crumbled when I went to remove the cork. It's stuck in there and isn't removable. The opener just drills a hole, crumbles everywhere when I remove.



Originally I just used to cork them, it was around a month ago I added my shrink caps to the corks. I have around 60 bottles of wine and I'm quite worried that they're all going to suffer the same.

I bottle my wine, I then sterlise the corks. I use these corks:

https://www.brewbitz.com/p/430-wine-bottle-corks-30-pack.html?search_query=cork&results=12

I cork the wine, wait 24 hours with it sitting upright, then I use the shrink caps, dry them off, then lay them on their sides in a storage box in my garage.

The wine bottles have been in storage boxes for over 2 months, laying on their sides. The garage is quite cool, although we have had a heat wave for around a month in the UK so it's been between 23-28 degrees, so the garage is warmer, although not that hot.

I never had an issues with mold when I used normal corks, so I'm wondering if it's the shrink caps that have caused this problem.



I'm now concerned that the rest of my bottles are also going to be contaminated.

Is anyone able to please advise why there's mold on my corks and why the corks are all dried up?

Any advise would be great. Cheers.
 
Last edited:

CK55

Banned
Joined
May 30, 2018
Messages
710
Reaction score
154
I don't know about the mold but I would like to know which corks you used .I haven't had issues with DIAM 5 corks which are rated for 5 years guaranteed.
 

GreginND

Super Moderator
Super Moderator
Joined
Mar 18, 2012
Messages
3,728
Reaction score
2,240
Location
Fargo, ND
What do you mean when you say you sterilize your corks? Generally you should not soak corks at all. This can lead to them becoming brittle and degrading. If there was moisture trapped under the foil, it could mold in a warm humid environment. Mold on the outside of the cork should not affect the wine inside if the cork is intact.
 

CK55

Banned
Joined
May 30, 2018
Messages
710
Reaction score
154
What do you mean when you say you sterilize your corks? Generally you should not soak corks at all. This can lead to them becoming brittle and degrading. If there was moisture trapped under the foil, it could mold in a warm humid environment. Mold on the outside of the cork should not affect the wine inside if the cork is intact.
I think he put them in sulphite solution. Which should not have a effect on the corks. Or cause them to mold.
 

ringmany

Member
Joined
Mar 20, 2018
Messages
40
Reaction score
2
What do you mean when you say you sterilize your corks? Generally you should not soak corks at all. This can lead to them becoming brittle and degrading. If there was moisture trapped under the foil, it could mold in a warm humid environment. Mold on the outside of the cork should not affect the wine inside if the cork is intact.
Yes, CK55 is correct. I soaked them in sodium metabisulfite. Whilst the instructions did say not to soak, Youtube tutorials did state "We have our sterilised cork" so I quickly soaked for about 3 seconds then removed. Because I wasn't sure if the corks would be contaminated if I didn't sterilise.

I'm going to take off the shrink caps tonight to check if any of the others are moldy. But I still don't know why all the corks have dried up. I couldn't even open this bottle, I had to shred the cork and dig it out.
 

CK55

Banned
Joined
May 30, 2018
Messages
710
Reaction score
154
Yes, CK55 is correct. I soaked them in sodium metabisulfite. Whilst the instructions did say not to soak, Youtube tutorials did state "We have our sterilised cork" so I quickly soaked for about 3 seconds then removed. Because I wasn't sure if the corks would be contaminated if I didn't sterilise.

I'm going to take off the shrink caps tonight to check if any of the others are moldy. But I still don't know why all the corks have dried up. I couldn't even open this bottle, I had to shred the cork and dig it out.
The water didn't have chlorine or anything right, because that can cause cork taint and might have caused stuff to grow if these were pure cork.
 

ringmany

Member
Joined
Mar 20, 2018
Messages
40
Reaction score
2
The water didn't have chlorine or anything right, because that can cause cork taint and might have caused stuff to grow if these were pure cork.
Yes, I did use tap water, which most likely contained chlorine. Which seems like bad design if a cork isn't compatible with standard tap water. All the other wines which I've had for over 6 months corked have been fine. It's only since using the shrink wrap that the problem seems to have occurred mostly.
 

CK55

Banned
Joined
May 30, 2018
Messages
710
Reaction score
154
Yes, I did use tap water, which most likely contained chlorine. Which seems like bad design if a cork isn't compatible with standard tap water. All the other wines which I've had for over 6 months corked have been fine. It's only since using the shrink wrap that the problem seems to have occurred mostly.
Its because natural cork contains a compound sometimes that reacts with chlorine that forms cork taint etc. Can form otherwise and will screw up your bottle of wine. So might be from the tap water. I cant verify. Maybe you had moisture under the shrinktops who knows.
 

Johny99

Junior Member
Joined
Sep 9, 2010
Messages
969
Reaction score
639
I’m thinking you have moisture under the shrink capsule to get mold, but that doesn’t explain the dry crumbly cork. A dry cork is likely to leak which could account for moisture and mold under a capsule.

I’m thinking the corks were old and already dried out. Small packs are broken down from standard lots of 1000 by someone. I’ve heard, but neve experienced, of people getting a sealed small bag that had dry corks, presumably because they were old. Were they from a new bag? Do you have any left? A good cork should feel springy. If you have an unused one from the same pack, how does it feel? Try to bend it, put a cork screw in it. Dry and brittle? Otherwise, I don’t know. I use shrink capsules off and on and have never had them cause either problem you have.
 

Johny99

Junior Member
Joined
Sep 9, 2010
Messages
969
Reaction score
639
Its because natural cork contains a compound sometimes that reacts with chlorine that forms cork taint etc. Can form otherwise and will screw up your bottle of wine. So might be from the tap water. I cant verify. Maybe you had moisture under the shrinktops who knows.
Just to clarify, natural cork can have a bacteria that can react with chlorine to create TCA. As I recall the old practice of steaming the cork promoted the bacteria. I believe I read someplace that you can also get the bacteria and TCA without natural corks.
 

CK55

Banned
Joined
May 30, 2018
Messages
710
Reaction score
154
Just to clarify, natural cork can have a bacteria that can react with chlorine to create TCA. As I recall the old practice of steaming the cork promoted the bacteria. I believe I read someplace that you can also get the bacteria and TCA without natural corks.
Correct, But not with DIAM5 corks as they have a process that virtually removes all bacteria that can cause TCA. I just find it to be safer than corking with the real stuff and losing maybe 4-8 bottles of wine to taint.
 

Venatorscribe

bucket chemist
Joined
Oct 1, 2016
Messages
360
Reaction score
411
Very scary. Pull all the corks. Decant into a carboy, add k- meta and rebottle and re-cork or try those plastic type of corks. I only say that - because I bought a commercial bottle of wine recently with a soft type of plastic/ synthetic cork. At first I left a tad offended by it but subsequently thought it through and realised the winery would only at had the longevity of the wine in mind when bottling. I need to get myself a new bag of corks very soon and am seriously thinking about similar synthetic corks.
 

CK55

Banned
Joined
May 30, 2018
Messages
710
Reaction score
154
Very scary. Pull all the corks. Decant into a carboy, add k- meta and rebottle and re-cork or try those plastic type of corks. I only say that - because I bought a commercial bottle of wine recently with a soft type of plastic/ synthetic cork. At first I left a tad offended by it but subsequently thought it through and realised the winery would only at had the longevity of the wine in mind when bottling. I need to get myself a new bag of corks very soon and am seriously thinking about similar synthetic corks.
DIAM5 is good, its guaranteed for 5 years the company will literally back the cork for 5 years and guarantee it will not fail. You can get a 10 year a 20 year and they even have up to like 40 year corks for aging wine any length of time.
 

Venatorscribe

bucket chemist
Joined
Oct 1, 2016
Messages
360
Reaction score
411
Good link. Well we do need to know more about what is going on. Keep us posted on your cork journey
 

angus padius

Junior
Joined
Jul 18, 2018
Messages
26
Reaction score
15
hello sorry but I do not understand why you have to wet the corks before using them, it is inevitable that proliferate the mold.

Sent from my SM-G900F using Wine Making mobile app
 
Top