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Thread: Bottling and Corking

  1. #1
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    Default Bottling and Corking

    This is a tutorial about how to bottle and cork your wines. The whole process for a 5 gallon demijohn needs about an hour, but can go much quicker if you are organised and have some experience.

    What you will need:
    Demijohn full of wine
    Siphoning tube
    Spray-bottle with sanitising solution
    About 25 bottles
    An old towel
    About 25 corks
    Corker
    A surface that is about 3 feet higher than where your bottles are placed on.

    Optional: wine glass, mity-vac, step-stool.
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    Clean your surface with the spray-bottle of sanitiser and the old towel.
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  3. #3
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    Place your demijohn on the sanitised surface and optional: hook up your mity-vac (or vacuvin or other degassing tool) and make sure the wine is properly degassed.
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  4. #4
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    You will want to use your sanitising solution again for the siphoning tube. Pump 2 or 3 times and let the sanitising solution cover all parts of the tube.

    Also, hoist the demijohn on something so it's at an angle. I've used 2 used corks I had floating around. Make sure the demijohn is stable, though.
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  5. #5
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    Make sure your siphoning tube is long enough to reach the bottle comfortably. If it's not long enough, I like to use a step-stool (usually is enough) to give me the extra "elbow-room"... The siphoning tube has a clamp on it so I can stop the flow of the wine.


    Then, line up the sanitised bottles (sanitising not shown). I usually spray the bottles one time with the spray bottle of sanitising solution. This just makes life a lot easier.

    Keep your old towel nearby. You will drip and dribble wine, no matter how experienced you are.
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  6. #6
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    Start to siphon the wine. Suck at the end of the tube, until you see the wine approach the clamp. Shut the clamp off, and put the end of the tube in the bottle.

    Release the clamp, and fill the bottle.

    Don't worry, even if your wine is properly degassed, the wine might foam and have some bubbles.

    This is still okay.

    When you are about 1 inch from the top of the bottle, press the clamp to the closed position. Let the wine below the clamp dribble out into the bottle before putting the tube into the next bottle.
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  7. #7
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    The question about what color bottle to use:

    I like green bottles for reds, clear or blue bottles for white wines, clear bottles for rose. I chose green for this one, but I always have 1 or 2 clear bottles to see what it looks like.

    I also use varying size of bottles so when I want to taste the wine to see how it's progressing, I don't have to "waste" a whole 750 ml bottle. You can also use screw-tops (as seen in the middle picture). Just make sure you sanitise them with your spray bottle.

    There will also be a 1/2 glass left over (at least, depending on how much you splash). That's where the wine glass comes in handy.
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    Last edited by medpretzel; 26-11-2007 at 09:44 PM.
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  8. #8
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    Like I said, you will make a mess.

    Get your old towel, your sanitising spray-solution, and clean up your mess.
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  9. #9
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    So now it's time to cork!

    Count your corks, put them in a bowl.

    Get your sanitising solution and spray them a few times, and toss them around. Spray again.
    I do this not to lubricate them or to make them more squishy, but rather to make sure everything is sanitised. I don't want to risk my bulk-aged wine for the lack of sanitising. Even if it's a new bag of corks, I still do this.

    Spray the iris of your corker. This is just what I do, because it's hard to clean and I just want to be sure.
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    Last edited by medpretzel; 26-11-2007 at 09:45 PM.
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  10. #10
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    Put the cork in the iris.

    Then lower the part that you put the bottle on (has a spring), and place the bottle on there.

    Press the lever down (sorry about the pic, but my arms are not long enough), and the bottle is corked!

    The double-lever corker that some may use (and I used for 3 years) often gives you "dimples" in the corks. I use a 5p piece as a spacer, or even a cardboard spacer that will take the dimple away. If you spray your corks, this also sometimes helps the puffiness.
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    Last edited by medpretzel; 26-11-2007 at 09:47 PM.
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