On November 15, 2013 "Humble Blogger" bottled a 6 gallon Batch of Pinot Grigio wine. A couple days later, I added shrink-wrap capsules to cover the neck and exposed cork and used inkjet to print then apply "4th and Vine" adhesive labels ("Watercolor" design from Canada, sold locally). I began fermenting the wine some 8 months earlier in March 2013. Total yield was 27 bottles (750 ml each) with extra set aside for tasting and tests. The wine is dry and refreshing (I wish I could be more descriptive) and will only improve with age! See Wine Old and New for a previous wine-making Post.
|Bottled Pinot Grigio Wine, Batch 001, Alcohol 11.8% by Volume, Dry|
The wine was in kit form (Canada, sold locally) having a poly bag containing 4 gallons of Pinot Grigio grape juice from Italy. Instructions called for dilution with 2 gallons of water (I used bottled spring water) before fermentation. I didn't use all components of the kit and modified instructions a bit based on my knowledge of wine making.
|4 gallons of juice produced 6 gallons of wine after addition of water|
I used a newly purchased food-grade 9 gallon capacity plastic primary fermenter for this wine. It has a small footprint and a faucet for easily draining fermented wine to a 6 gallon glass carboy for the first racking. A manufacturers description is provided below in quotes.
Sanitizing (sterilizing) Wine Corks Before Bottling
I tried a new concept (for me) for sterilizing corks using SO2 (sulfur dioxide) gas in a configuration gleaned off the internet and with the knowledge that some corks are shipped in an SO2 atmosphere.
The concept uses a closed container to hold the corks with a reservoir in the middle holding acidified sodium metabisulfite solution (which generates SO2 gas). The out-gassing of SO2 from the solution, fills the container with SO2 which comes in dry contact with the corks to sterilize them. By using this dry-gassing method I don't have the concerns of my previous sterilization method of immersing corks in metabisulfite solution for 30 minutes to an hour before corking the bottles: i.e. no damage to the corks. no struggling to keep the floating corks submersed in metabisulfite solution and no need to dry the corks before use. An internet site recommended about 1 to 7 days for cork sterilization using SO2 gas. This concept can be scaled up to any degree (one internet site recommended using a 5 gallon pail to gas a large number of corks.) but since I usually sterilize less than 40 corks at a time, I used the following configuration to sterilize corks for the Pinot Grigio Wine, Batch 001.
|Seal-able plastic container with "Diam2" (formerly "Altec") corks inside surrounding a cordial glass containing sodium metabisulfite solution and citric acid to generate sterilizing sulfur dioxide.|
I also bought a small cordial glass at Goodwill 6-3/4 in. tall having a 1-3/4 in. diameter by 3-1/2 in. high bowl on a. stem about 3 in. long. The glass holds 3.7 oz (110 ml). There is about 3/4" space between the top of the glass and the inside top of the plastic container to allow the SO2 glass to escape to flood the corks in the plastic container.
|Top view of container with cordial glass in the center and surrounded by "Diam2" corks to be sterilized. A solution of sodium metabisulfite can be seen in the glass and some undissolved crystals of citric acid (which dissolved in about 4 hours)|
When the time came to sterilize the corks, I put a square of Velcro on the bottom of the glass and bottom of the plastic container to secure the glass in the center of the plastic container. Then I added 35 "Diam2" corks (formerly "Altec" corks composed of cork dust and plastic resin) to the container arranging them around the stem of the cordial glass. I added 25 ml of metabisulfite solution to the cordial glass. Then I added 1/2 teaspoon of citric acid crystals and closed and locked the top of the container. I let the acid dissolve slowly and 4 hours later the citric acid crystals were dissolved and the odor of SO2 was strong. I used the corks to bottle the Pinot Grigio wine 26 hours later.
Note: Some internet sites recommend no treatment at all for the corks providing they were kept in a clean plastic bag. I have no way of knowing if the my corks were sterilized by the SO2 gassing or if they even needed sterilization as they were certainly shipped in a sealed plastic bag and looked very clean upon visual inspection. However, SO2 is a good sterilizing agent and is used all the time by winemakers. I concluded that even if not needed, I was being proactive to insure that some beneficial sanitation or sterilization of the corks took place which would minimize any future spoiling of the wine due to "dirty" corks.