Don't Let Crumbling Corks Ruin Your Wine

Cork Stopper CrumbsHi:
About 18 months ago I bought 2 bags of cork stoppers from you. Well, I’ve been doing some wine brewing and made 2-3 different batches of wine and have used your wine corks. I have been having a problem getting them out of the bottles with a cork screw. The cork just comes apart and doesn’t come out of the bottle as a single unit. This has happened at least ten times with different bottles and different corkscrews. Am I doing something wrong?
Thanking you in advance.
Adam B.
Hello Adam,
Sorry to hear you’re having such a problem with crumbling corks. I know it’s no fun dealing with a bunch of cork stopper bits when trying to serve your homemade wine.
There are a couple of things that can cause this type of problem. This most likely of which is that the corks were steamed or boiled for too long. Heating corks causes a natural enzyme to start deteriorating the them.
We recommend only streaming the corks for about three minutes, just long enough to make them give a little for the corker. Alternately, you can soak them in a bath of cold water with sodium metabisulfite overnight. Just make sure the corks are completely submerged when using this method. You can do this by using a jar with the lid on or similar.
The second reason that this can happen is that the cork stoppers are not being kept moist enough or they are drying out too much. This can occur if the wine bottles are stored upright to where the wine is not touching the cork or if you live in a dry climate like in the Southwest. However, I doubt if this is your situation since normally this happens to much older bottles of wine.
Best Wishes,
Customer Service at E. C. Kraus
Ed Kraus is a 3rd generation home brewer/winemaker and has been an owner of E. C. Kraus since 1999. He has been helping individuals make better wine and beer for over 25 years.