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Old 07-22-2012, 05:31 PM   #1
MattHollingsworth
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Default first time bottling: cork preparation

Hey guys.

So, read around a bit and wondering about cork prep for bottling.

First off, I'm using these colmated corks from Portugal by way of Germany:

http://www.gueltig.com/index.php?id=443&L=1

I've read various ways of doing it: Boiling the corks, soaking them in hot water for an hour, steaming the corks, soaking in meta for an hour. I'm not sure if I want to use meta, but I don't know if it's a good idea to boil these corks. Comated corks, if you don't know, are basically natural corks that were not quite as high of a grade. They then use a cork powder glue of sorts to plug the holes. Anyway, the material is natural cork.

So, would it be safe to boil these, or soak them without meta?

They came in a sealed bag. And that's the other thing: The seller recommends using all of the corks within 6 hours of opening the bag because of moisture loss to the corks once the bag is opened. Does this sound right? I suppose if that's what they recommend that they would know. Hell if I know.

I'll be using a floor corker like this:



I read Schramm's book and that part about bottling, but any and all ideas about bottling are appreciated.

And, oh, yes, the mead is ready for bottling. 3 batches ranging in age from 10 months to 14 months old, all fermented out, clear and ready to go.



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Old 07-22-2012, 05:51 PM   #2
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I've used corks a few times and heard a lot of conflicting tips. Ive only done Belgian style corking so I could be way off on regular corks. I dip them in a sanitized solution prior to putting them in the bottle. It sort if helps them go in easier but I've been advised soaking them could compromise the cork.

Every once in awhile I tip the bottles to immerse the cork and keep its seal moisturized. Don't know if its necessary but I do it.

I haven't had issues, although my corks are much harder to take out then commercial examples. Don't know why but its not a huge deal for me. Good luck!



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Old 07-22-2012, 07:09 PM   #3
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Looks like I won't soak them at all.

Just found this link online:

http://winemakermag.com/stories/wizard/article/630-should-i-boil-or-soak-my-corks-prior-to-bottling

And this one:

http://winemakermag.com/stories/wizard/article/981-i-ve-heard-both-yes-and-no-on-soaking-corks-before-bottling-so-to-soak-or-not-to-soak

Evidently natural corks these days have a coating on them that soaking does indeed damage. And the corks don't need to be sterilized. The corks I bought came from a dealer who sells to large wineries here in Croatia and the bag is sealed. The second link has comments about corks drying out as I mentioned in my original post.

Anyway, after reading these, I won't be treating the corks at all. Thanks for taking the time to reply, though!

Cheers!

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Old 07-22-2012, 07:57 PM   #4
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Corks fresh out of a factory bag don't need to be sanitized. But sometimes I have an opened bag of corks sitting in my basement and I want to sanitize them. What I do instead of boiling/soaking/wetting is to make what I call a "cork humidor".

What I do is to boil 1/2 cup of water in the microwave with a couple of campden tablets (crushed and dissolved). I stir well (don't breathe this!) and put it in a bowl and put the corks around it and cover with a lid. The sulfite solution "steams" in the bowl and doesn't get the corks wet but yet seems to sanitize them.

It's been working great for me, for years and years. Now, maybe it would have worked great without the cork humidor as well, but I think it pays to be extra cautious.

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Old 07-22-2012, 10:49 PM   #5
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I keep my corks in a drawer, closed bags and open. If I have corks that came open-bagged, I just dunk them in sanitizer before sliding them into the corker. Otherwise, they go right from the bag to the corker. If the bag isn't empty, I just roll it up and put it back in the drawer, and don't bother sanitizing next time. How does a cork in a rolled-up bag get dirty? If it does, I have bigger problems than not sanitizing them.

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Old 07-23-2012, 06:33 AM   #6
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Thanks for the replies!



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