Preparing and using wine corks to bottle homemade wine.

lots of corks

Be sure you have the proper cork for the bottle you are using and the amount of time the wine will be stored.

Place the corks in a bowl of warm water. Do not boil or use any chemicals on the corks, they only need to be wet.

The minimum quality and size corks used in standard wine bottles are first quality #8. First quality corks are intended for use in wine that will be consumed within 18 months of bottling.

Place a damp kitchen towel on the counter or table; this will help prevent the wine bottle from slipping as it is corked. Place a wet cork into the breach of the corker in line with the metal plunger. Hold the loaded corker on top of the bottle and push or pull down on the levers using equal pressure. When the cork is inserted you will feel a slight thump.

The floor corker has two advantages. First, it greatly reduces the effort required to cork a bottle. Second, it is capable of using thicker and denser corks which is recommended for wine aged longer than 18 months.

Allow the bottles to stand upright for 48 hours after corking, this will seat the corks. The bottles should then be stored on their sides. Laying the bottles down keeps the corks moist and prevents them from shrinking and loosening the seal.

When newly filled wine bottles are ready for storage, label them with the name and bottling date. Full color labels that match the Winexpert wine kits are available from leeners.com.

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