Help! My Corks Are Popping Out!

Cork Popping From BottleGood Morning:
First I would like to thank you for the newsletters.  I have been receiving them now for about 2 years and they have come in very helpful and I have been making wine for at least that long.
The question I have is, when bottling I put the amount required for bottling of campden tablets and sometimes I will still have bottles that will pop out the corks and I use #9 corks. I was wondering if I was doing something wrong or is there something else that I need to do.
Thank You
Dear Nancy,
While Campden Tablets will reduce the chance of popping wine bottle corks, it is far from a guarantee. Campden Tablets are primarily added to keep the wine fresh and to help it retain its color. It is Sodium Metabisulfite in tablet form.
The problem you are experiencing is more than likely being caused by either: (1) not allowing the fermentation complete all the way before bottling, or (2) you added sugar after the fermentation to sweeten the wine, but did so without adding a wine stabilizer [Potassium Sorbate].
In the future, before bottling you need to check the wine with a gravity hydrometer to make sure your specific gravity reading is .998 or less. This will confirm that the fermentation has completed and is ready for Campden Tablets to be added. If the fermentation decides to start again while in the wine bottle, pressure will build and corks will pop.
If you add sugar to the wine before bottling to increase its sweetness, it is important that you also add Potassium Sorbate to help eliminate the chance of re-fermentation this is in addition to the Campden Tablets or Sodium Metabisulfite. Adding sugar at bottling time will only feed a dormant fermentation new life, again causing corks to pop.
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.

0 thoughts on “Help! My Corks Are Popping Out!

  1. Tony, it can by way of carbonization or CO2. The sparkle or fizzy in the wine will give off a bitterness on the tongue.

  2. Ok, we added both the campdon tablets and the potassium sorbate, but they were added a week before bottling. Unfortunately, we then added sugar, and then bottled. We bottled about 35 bottles of wine around Jan 4th and three of them just popped their corks. Next time we will time the campdon and Potassium sorbate and sugar better, but for now, is there anything we can do to keep from losing the entire batch of wine? I was thinking of uncorking and re-corking them and my wife wants to add some wire mesh bottle top over the existing corks. Any help? Thanks!

    • Steven, you do not want to wire down the corks in any way. This will only lead to exploding bottles. You can put the wine back into a fermenter and allow the renewed fermentation to take its course. Give it plenty of time to clear up afterwards. Want this is done, add a full dose of Campden tablets and another half dose of potassium sorbate. Then re-bottle. This should save your wine.

  3. What is a dose of campdon half dose of potassium sorbate if we are rebottling because of corks popping out?

    • Cynthia, campden tablets are added at the dose of one per gallon of wine. The dosage for our potassium sorbate is 1/2 teaspoon per gallon of wine.

      • We are letting the wine ferment again. When do we add the campden tablets, now or before we bottle. We will wait until the gravity reading is .998 or less.

  4. I made my first batch of wine, using a wine kit. According to the instructions, you should wait until the gravity is below .998 before bottling. Now my corks are very slowly coming out of the bottles. I did degas the wine, obviously not enough. My question is, can i open up the wine bottles that the corks are coming out of and pour the wine into a container, to hopefully release some of the CO2 that must be still exists, pour the wine back in, and recork the bottles.

    • Gerry, yes you can put the wine back in bulk and continue to degas. When you re-bottle the wine you will need to add a dose of sulfites. Before you do so, I would take a look at the following article. It is not uncommon for the corks to want to push back out after bottling due to air. If that is the case, you can try pushing them back in until they stay.
      My Corks Are Pushing Back Out

    • Melanie, if the corks are popping out due to fermentation activity, refrigeration should help prevent this. The temperature will bee too cool for any fermentation activity.