Preparing Your Synthetic Corks For Bottling

Synthetic CorksOne of the primary goals of this blog is to continuously provide wine making tips and advice that will make life easier for the home winemaker. With that in mind, here’s another tidbit that you may want to look over.
One of the greatest advantages of using synthetic corks is that they are easy to sanitize. Their surface is not porous like an natural cork, so you can quickly and confidently sanitize them with a quick, straight-forward process. All you need to do is give them about 20 minutes or better of contact time with a mixture of sodium metabisulfite and water.
The simplest way I’ve found to accomplish this is to put the corks in a gallon glass carboy and fill the glass jug about half way with water. Then add 1 teaspoon of sodium metabisulfite and shake the jug to dissolve the sulfite crystals. Then fill the jug the rest of the way with water and put screw cap on and let sit for at least 20 minutes. The corks are buoyant so this is why you can’t just put them in a bowl of the mix.
The same thing can be done with natural corks as well, except in this instance the corks should be treated for 24 hours. This is for two reasons: 1) To give time to for the sulfites to sanitize the porous openings of the natural cork, and 2) to give time for the corks to soften slightly so that they will go in the bottle more easily with a wine bottle corker.
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.

4 thoughts on “Preparing Your Synthetic Corks For Bottling

  1. I was told if you soak the corks you should let the bottles stand for a few days longer before lying them on their side. Is this necessary?

  2. Charlie, what you said is true. We recommend letting the wine bottle stand for about 4 days.

  3. Another technique I have found which works to get the corks under the sulfite solution while soaking pre-bottling – put a sanitized plate which fits into the bowl or whatever you’re soaking the corks in, something with no room for the corks to get around it, and then weighing the plate down with something heavy so the corks are fully-submerged. I make sure the PMB or SMB crystals are fully in solution before the corks go into the bowl of sanitizer. I soak for an hour at least, but I do use agglomeration -style corks. Good luck!

  4. If you are purchasing corks from a cork facility, or from a store that has purchased corks from a cork facility you will receive corks ready to go into the bottle. If you soak/ boil natural cork after the surface coating (parafin & silicone combination) has been applied, you will create all kinds of problems for yourself including not being able to get the cork out of the bottle (hard extractions). You should receive natural corks (aglomerates included) surface coated and sterilized with So2.

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