Why Do You Cork Wine Bottles?
Now that you’ve created your masterpiece, you are ready to bottle it and age it. It has taken you a lot of care and work to get this far, so you definitely want to make sure you get this last step right. Preparing your bottle for the aging process is not simply a matter of pouring, sealing and shelving it! Though you can find screw-top caps on high-end vintages these days, there is a good reason for corking your wine.
Age It to Perfection
Most wines need to age before they reach maturity and develop the rich, subtle and complex flavors we all know and love. Oxidation is part of the aging process. If you seal the bottle off entirely, you’re in for a big surprise when you finally break that seal. A lack of oxidation results in an aroma reminiscent of rotten eggs, which is caused by the presence of thiols. These are the very same chemical compounds that give skunk spray its unforgettable odor! The wine needs oxygen exposure to break down those thiols.
Since most wine is packaged in glass bottles — which do not allow any air to pass through — you need to cap off the bottle with something that does. This is why wine bottles are capped with a cork. Natural cork is made from the bark of a specific oak tree species. It is fibrous, so it lets in enough air to neutralize the thiols during the aging process. Additionally, cork molds to the shape of the opening, forming a tight seal that prevents leakage.
Put a Cork in It
Now that you know why you need to put a cork in it, let’s briefly talk about how it’s done. This will give you an idea of what is involved in the process and what you need to complete this last step.
• Choose your bottle: A wine bottle that is made to be corked has a different mouth than screw-top bottles. Make sure to select one that has a ¾-inch, cork-ready opening. Also keep in mind that red wines need darker tinted bottles, while white wines are best stored in clear or green bottles.
• Choose your cork: These days, you can choose between corks made from natural or synthetic materials. The synthetic versions allow a little more air to pass through, while the natural corks are made from a renewable resource. If you plan to age your vino for more than a year, opt for a straight cork over a tapered cork.
• Choose your corker: You need a corker for the final step. Its job is to compress the cork so that it fits into the opening. There are three options available: floor corker, wing corker and a table-top corker. Choose your corker based on the type of cork you’re using and how many bottles you’ll be assembling at a time.
Get Prepared for Corking Wine
You can get everything you need to cork your wine here at MoreBeer!, from the bottles to the hint-shrink sleeves that add the final touch. Feel free to give us a shout at (800)600-0033 if you have any questions about our winemaking products!