View Full Version : Sanitizing corks before bottling

Smoky Mountain Reign
01-27-2012, 11:56 AM
I'm bottling 5 gallons of Grand Cru Bergamais (28 day wine kit) tonight. As for sanitizing the corks before bottling, typically I just make up a solution of oxy clean and well water. Let the corks float in the solution for 15 minutes or so and then grab one as I need one. I haven't had a problem with cross contamination yet. That being said, I have recently invested in Star Sans so I might follow the oxyclean soak and rinse with a quick squirt of Star Sans solution in a spray bottle.

This got me thinking...what routine do others use to sanitize corks?

01-27-2012, 01:54 PM
I used to soak corks for a minimum of 30 minutes in metabisulphite solution prior to using, but that was before I learned that soaking corks can actually degrade their lifetime. These days I just give 'em a quick rinse in clean water, followed by a dunking (about 30-60 seconds) in StarSan solution, and from there they go right into the corker. I've had no issues with bottle infections doing it that way.

Some corks are now coated with a light layer of solid lubricant prior to sale, which makes insertion dry a feasible approach. If you do more than a quick rinse of those corks, you actually strip away the lubricant and make them harder for the corker to insert.

Chevette Girl
01-30-2012, 01:35 AM
I use one of this style of bottle washers (http://www.fermentationtrap.com/1472.html)to sanitize my bottles with sulphite solution, so when I'm all ready to cork after filling my sanitized bottles, I spray down my corker with sulphite solution, count out the number of corks I'll need, toss them in the washer's bowl, and just make sure each one's had a good dunking before I pop it in the corker. I used to boil them but you're not supposed to do that anymore because almost all composite corks are coated these days and boiling destroys that, although I never had a cork leak or fail, I have had a few that have had slight weeping of a very small amount of sticky liquid through the cork, just enough to obliterate the codes I'd labelled the corks with.