When your wine is ready to bottle, corking wine is the ideal choice to seal a bottle, especially if it is to be kept for some time before drinking.
Cork's elasticity coupled with its near-impermeability makes it ideal as a material for bottle stoppers. Because of the cellular nature of cork, it is fairly easy to compress to make it fit tightly into a bottle neck, and once in, it tries to recover it original shape, expanding to make a tight seal.
Corks come in different grades, with the superior quality being more dense and suitable for high quality wine or ones that are to be aged for more than 5 years.
Corking wine involves first softening the cork, them compressing it and forcing it into the neck of the wine bottle using a corking device. There are two options you can use, a hand held corker or a floor corker.
When softening corks, it is important not to steam the them for too long as this will make them soft and spongy, and cause more difficulty in getting them into the bottle.
The corks need to just have a little give in them when you squeeze one with your fingers. Overheating, or heating for too long may cause the cork to deteriorate prematurely when in the bottle, and cause the bottles to leak during storage.
After having inserted your corks, it is best to let the bottles stand up-right for a couple of days to allow the corks to re-expand and make a good seal. After a couple of days it is advisable to store the bottles on their sides in order for the corks to be kept wet. If a cork should dry out gradually during storage, the seal may be compromised.
You can use either a hand corker or a floor corker.
Hand corker - bring a pot of water to a boil. Remove from burner. Place the corks in hot water and hold down with a saucer. Let them soak for about 10-15 minutes so they become pliable. If you leave them in too long they will start to fall apart. Also if the water is too hot it will damage the corks.
Floor Corker - soak corks in potassium metabisulfite solution for a few minutes. Pat them dry, then cork.
Optional - Prior to corking, you can use a piece of 40 lb. monofilament line (fishing line). Drape line over the lip of the bottle. As the bottle is corked, pull the line out. This allows any trapped air to escape the bottle.
Label Your Wine
All the effort that you have put into making your wine, its time to put YOUR OWN label on it. Head over to our Wine Label page to learn what is put on a wine label and why. There you can also learn "how to" create your own personalized labels.
Aging The Wine
The hardest part of wine making! Finally your wine is ready to drink. All the work is done....you have followed all the wine making instructions...now is the time for rewards.
BUT...you really need to let your wine age a few months. Go ahead and drink a couple of bottles, but let the rest age a while.
If you have made your wine from a wine concentrate kit, there is a life span for red wine of 2-5 years and a life span for white wines of 2-3 years.</p><p>If you plan to age your wines longer, it is recommended to add 1/4 teaspoon of potassium metabisulfite to the wine before bottling.
OK...Now that you have carefully followed your wine making instructions...go ahead and have some wine. YOUR wine. It is ready to drink and since you spent so much time and effort to do everything correctly...please enjoy the fruits of your labor!