An Overview Of Wine Bottling
By Ed Kraus
Bottling can be a very exciting time, particularly if it is your first batch. This is the time that all your efforts and aspirations are captured into a bottle--a nice, neat little package that you can save for your own consumption or that you can pass along to family and friends.
When it comes to bottling your wine, realize that there are some choices you can make. Some are a matter of practicality other choices are just for fun. The bottle color, the type of wine bottle corker to use, as well as the style of cork will all need to be given some consideration.
Also, you have available to you an assortment of decorative neck seals and bottle labeling to add to the excitement. These items will give your bottles a professional look. So, lets start at the beginning.
What Bottle Color Is Best?
There are three different bottle colors we have available: green wine bottles, blue wine bottles and clear wine bottles. Colored wine bottles were originally designed to reduce the light exposure to your wine. Excessive light exposure over time promotes oxidation in wines. For more information about wine oxidation see the article, "Controlling Oxidation In Your Wines" listed on our web site.
If your wines are stored in a dark place then the wine bottle's color makes no difference--choose whichever bottle color that pleases your liking. But, if you store your wine in the kitchen, dinning area or some other area where there is light, then our green wine bottle would be your best option.
Which Type Of Cork Is Best?
If you plan on storing your wine for 18 months or longer we strongly recommend that you use #9 Superior Grade Straight Cork. Straight Corks are the same type of cork you will find in most all commercial wine bottles. Straight corks require a corker to press them into the neck of the bottle.
If you are making an extremely full-bodied wine or plan on storing your wine more than 3 years, we would then recommend using our #9 Extra First Grade Straight Corks. These are the same diameter as the "Superior Grade" corks, but are made from a denser cork. They are 1-3/4 inches long as opposed the "Superior Grade corks that are 1-1/2 inches long. These corks require a wine bottle corker as well.
And finally, if you plan on drinking all of your wine within 18 months, then our Mushroom Corks listed at the link below will be suitable. Unlike the Straight Corks mentioned above, these can be put in by hand.
Which Wine Bottle Corker Should I Buy?
All of the corkers we offer put Straight Corks into a wine bottle equally well. They all utilize a compressing iris to compress the cork down to a diameter that can be easily plunged into the bottle. The main difference between these corkers is how fast they can be operated.
The most economical corker we offer is called the Gilda Compression Hand Corker. It is well suited for corking 5 or 10 gallons of wine at a time. If you plan on making more than 10 gallons of wine at a time, or you plan on bottling more than 200 bottles a year, you would probably rather have the Floor Model Corker listed at the link below. It is a little faster, making larger bottling jobs a little easier to manage.
What Type Of Neck Capsules Are Available?
We have two types of decorative neck capsules for wine bottles. Neck capsules are actually sleeves that fit over the neck of the wine bottle--just like what you see on commercial bottles at the store.
While these sleeves do add decoration to the wine bottle they also have a couple of other more practical functions. They help to eliminate the growth of mold and bacteria on the outward exposed surface of the cork while it is in storage. And, they also help to keep the cork in place, should it decide to push out of the bottle.
Our Heat Shrink Capsules are made of a thin PVPP plastic that shrinks when they are exposed to heat. They can be applied to a wine bottle very easily by placing them over the wine bottle's neck and then dipping them into hot water for a few seconds.
Heat Shrink Capsules add a very professional look that grabs attention. They come in nine different colors from gold to burgundy.
We also have Gold Foil Capsules. They are similar to the Heat Shrink Capsules in function, but are made of foil instead of plastic. You apply them to the neck of the wine bottle by simply crimping them down by hand.
The inside of the capsule is lightly coated with an adhesive that will stick to the neck of the bottle when it is moistened.
The Gold Foil Capsules are a very flashy decoration that fits well at a dinner party or celebration.
What To Look For In A Wine Label?
Wine Bottle Labels are another way to bring flash and a professional look to your own wine. We have an assortment of color themes to choose from.
When deciding on which label to use you will want to take into consideration a couple of things. First, the color of the neck capsule on the bottle should also be on the label you select. It does not necessarily have to be the main color of the label, a few spots of it here and there is fine.
The color of the wine bottle being used should also be taken into consideration. A green wine bottle will be more hospitable to certain labels than a blue wine bottle and vice versa.
If you are using a clear wine bottle then obviously you will need to consider the color of the wine when choosing a wine label.
Be sure to check out our huge selection of wine making supplies to get everything you need to bottle your own wine.
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.