Learning how to bottle wine can seem like a difficult process, but it’s really not.
Bottling sparkling wine is best left to the professionals, but otherwise, you shouldn’t be afraid to do your own!
In this blog post, we will walk you through the steps of bottling your own wine. We will discuss everything from the types of bottles to use to the best way to cork your wine.
So whether you are a beginner or an experienced winemaker, this blog post has something for you.
What You Need to Bottle Your Own Wine
You will need the following items to bottle your homemade wine:
- Wine bottles
- Potassium metabisulphite (preservative)
- White distilled vinegar
- Small funnel
- Large funnel
How to Bottle Wine: Steps
1.) Sterilize your bottles by running them through a dishwasher cycle without detergent or immersing them in a solution of one tablespoon of potassium metabisulphite per gallon of water for 20 minutes.
2.) Dissolve one Campden tablet (potassium metabisulphite) per gallon in a small amount of wine; add to the carboy and stir well.
3.) Sanitize all equipment that will come into contact with the wine. Soak these items in a solution of one tablespoon potassium metabisulphite per gallon of water for 20 minutes.
4.) Rack the wine into a clean carboy or bottling bucket, being careful not to disturb the sediment at the bottom of the old carboy. If your wine has thrown heavy sediment, you may wish to filter it at this time.
5.) Check the specific gravity of the wine with a hydrometer. This will tell you how much alcohol is in your wine and if it is ready to bottle.
6.) Use the small funnel to pour the wine into the bottles.
7.) Use the corker to firmly cork each bottle, then label and let them age on their sides in a cool, dark place.
Don’t know how to use a corker? Don’t worry. We’ll go into the details of corking later in this article.
Read More: How Many Grapes to Make a Bottle of Red Wine? Wondering how many grapes it takes to fill your glass? Here’s what we discovered!
How to Sanitize Your Bottles and Equipment
There are a few key steps that you can follow to sanitize your bottles and equipment when bottling wine.
First, you will want to make sure all of your supplies are cleaned and ready to go – this includes your bottles, corker, and corks, as well as any additional pumps or tanks that you may be using.
Next, you can start by preparing a solution of either iodophor or potassium metabisulphite, depending on what type of sanitizer you prefer.
Simply mix the recommended amount of solution with cool water in a bucket. Then, dip your bottles and equipment into the bucket for 60-90 seconds to ensure that all surfaces have been fully sanitized.
Never use chlorine bleach in winemaking. Though it is a popular disinfectant, it will ruin your wine.
Check out this paper released by Perdue University on why you should keep chlorine bleach away from your wine.
To be safe, sanitize every piece of equipment that comes into contact with your wine.
It will age for months or years, and there’s nothing more disappointing than finding you’ve been aging a bottle of bacteria.
How to Cork Your Wine Bottles
The process of corking wine bottles is simple, but it does require some basic knowledge and equipment.
First, you will need to start with a quality wine cork. This can be purchased either online or from a specialty wine supply store.
When choosing a cork, be sure to select one that fits the size of your bottle opening, as different types of wine corks may come in different sizes.
The other tool you’ll need is a lever-action corking tool. Some use a vacuum-type corker, but the lever-type corker is easy to use, affordable, and effective.
After filling your bottles, insert the cork into the base of the corker. Center it on the mouth of your bottle and press gently down on the two corker levers.
As you press more firmly the cork will be pressed into the mouth of the bottle. Be sure to keep the corker centered and upright so you don’t tip the bottle as you press down.
Once the two levers are down, the cork is fully inserted. At this point you can add additional shrink seals and label the bottle as you like.
Want to see corking and labeling in action? Check out this great homebrew video that will show you how its done.
How to Properly Store Bottled Wine
After you have successfully bottled your wine, it is important to know how to properly store it so that it will be preserved for extended periods of time.
Here are 5 storage tips to keep in mind:
- Store your bottles in a cool, dark place. This will help to protect the wine from light exposure and temperature fluctuations, both of which can cause the flavor and quality of the wine to degrade over time.
- Store your bottles of wine on the side while they age to keep the corks moist and easy-to-open with a corkscrew. If they dry out you’ll have trouble opening your bottles.
- If possible, store your wine in a humidity-controlled environment. This will help to prevent the cork from drying out, which can allow air to enter the bottle and spoil the wine.
- Avoid storing your wine near sources of vibration. This can cause the sediments in the wine to become disturbed, which can impact both the flavor and appearance of the wine.
- Wine racks protect your bottles from damage and keep them organized so that you can easily find the one you are looking for when you want to enjoy a glass!
Frequently Asked Questions
How Long Can I Store My Bottled Wine?
If stored properly, most wines will be able to last for several years, depending on the fermentation level. Follow your recipe closely to get wine that tastes the way you want.
Fresh wines are meant to be consumed within several months of bottling, usually 3 to 4 months.
Other recipes call for a year or more of aging, so storage will enhance rather than diminish the flavor.
What is the Best Way to Store My Bottled Wine?
The best way to store your bottled wine is in a cool, dark place with consistent temperature and humidity levels.
Purchase a special storage rack designed specifically for holding wine bottles.
If you don’t have a cool, dark place to store your wine in a rack, purchase a wine cooler to keep your bottles at the perfect temperature and humidity.
Wine coolers also protect wine from UV rays.
How Can I Tell if My Bottled Wine Has Gone Bad?
There are a few signs that you can look for to determine if your wine has gone bad.
- The color of the wine has changed significantly – brownish or too dark
- The wine has developed an off odor – vinegary or sour
- The liquid has developed murkiness or bubbles
- Take a sip to see if it tastes vinegary or “off”
If you notice any of these signs, it is best to discard the wine as it is no longer safe to consume.
Bottling your own wine is a simple step that anyone can do.
The most important thing is to ensure that all your supplies are sanitary so bacteria is not introduced to the wine during bottling.