lunes, 8 de octubre de 2012

Homemade Bottling Corking and Labelling a Bottle of Fine


HOMEMADE BOTTLING, CORKING AND LABELLING A BOTTLE OF WINE

Proper wine bottles should always be used because they are strong enough to withstand the pressure caused by an unexpected refermentation after bottling. Spirit bottles are not suitable because they are made of thinner glass than wine bottles and are, therefore more likely to burst if fermentation starts up again. Remember, though, that a wine that has been fermented to complete dryness will not contain any sugar and consequendy will not referment.

- Bottles: Many people buy new wine bottles, but this is generally unnecessary because empty bottles are often readily available from many sources. Hotels and restaurants are ideal donors as their empties are usually thrown away, and most proprietors are quite willing to give a few botles away.

Wine bottles come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes and may be punted or not. The punt (the indentation at the bottom of the bottle) helps to prevent the disturbance of any deposits which may have formed during storage, provided the bottle is stored up-right. Red or rosé wine should be put into dark coloured bottles, because the beautiful colour of the wine will rapidly fade if it is exposed to too much light. Clear bottles, however, are quite suitable for white wines.

You should clean and sterilize all the botdes before you use them and you should also remove old labels. Wash the botdes in hot water, and rinse them until they are perfecdy clean. A botle brush is useful, and will quickly remove all but the most stubborn stains with a gentle brushing action. A solution of washing soda in water
will usually remove any discoloration inside the bottles if they are filled completely and left to soak for several hours. Badly stained botlles are more trouble than they are worth and are best thrown away.

After the clean bottles have been rinsed in cold water, they should be sterilized in sulphite solution, drained and the outsides dried completely before being filled with wine. You should then fill the bottles to within 4 cm (1 1/2 ins) of the top of the bottle.

- Corks: There are several types of corks and stoppers that may be used, but corks must not be used more than once because any cracks or splits that have been made when they are removed from previous bottles may provide pathways for bacteria.

Flanged stoppers made of plastic or cork are used when a wine is not stored for any length of time. They are simply pushed into place using hand pressure, and can easily be removed without a corkscrew. Although these stoppers are quick and easy to use, they cannot be relied on to provide a perfecdy air-tight fit unless they are covered with one of the plastic, shrink-wrap seals which are available. These are supplied in a liquid to keep them moist, and are placed over the cork, smoothed around the mouth of the bottle, and left to dry to a hard, airtight seal.

Ordinary cylindrical corks are effective, but must be inserted with a corking tool to obtain a perfectly tight fit. If you use corks, you should soften them first. Soak them in cool water for twenty-four hours or in hot water for half an hour, making sure they are submerged by placing a saucer, or similar weight, over them in the bowl of water. After you have softened the corks, you should sterilize them with sulphite solution.

- Corking tools: The cheapest and most basic corking tool is a flogger. This is a wooden device which fits snugly over the mouth of the bottle. It has a hollow centre which allows the cork to pass down it under pressure. A cork is placed in the central cylinder and the plunger is hit with a mallet to force the cork down the gendy narrowing tube and into the bottle, sealing it tightly. It is a good idea to put a piece of sterilized wire or string between the cork and the bottle neck to allow air to escape or the cork might be pushed out again by compressed air. Don’t forget to remove the string after the cork has been forced home and the air has escaped.

More sophisticated corking machines are available, ranging from small, leveroperated hand tools, to large bench models with a production-line capacity. These are based on the same principles as the flogger, but are designed to be operated easily and with consistent results.

Whichever corking method you use, make sure that the cork is inserted so that its top is flush with the mouth of the bottle.

- Finishing the bottle: Having corked the bottle it is a simple procedure to finish it of neady, with a cover over the cork and an attractive label giving the details of the type of wine and date of bottling.

Capsules of coloured metal foil or plastic may be placed, over the mouth of the bottle, hiding the cork and producing a professional-looking result.

Labels are produced in a great variety of styles, and an appropriate design can be chosen to suit the type of wine, or your personal preference. If you are artistic you may wish to design and produce your own labels, giving a highly individual look to your botdes.

By taking a little trouble to ensure that the label is neatly positioned, avoiding the seams, and in the centre of the bottle, a most attractive appearance can be obtained, of which you may be justifiably proud.

STORING AND BLENDING YOUR WINES

When finished wine has been bottled and labelled, it is ready to be stored until it is matured sufficiently to be at its best for drinking.

Bottles that have been sealed with a cork should be stored on their sides, either lying flat or at an angle, so that the cork remains in contact with the wine, and is kept moist. This ensures that the cork does not dry out and shrink permitting air to reach the wine through its minute pores.

A bottle rack is the ideal storage system for wine bottles, and these provide a neat, space-saving solution to the problem of building up a stock of maturing wine. There are several types of specially designed bottle racks, ranging from cheap plastic coated wine stands to expensive wood and metal models.

If you do not wish to buy a purpose made wine rack you can make do quite successfully by using cardboard bottle cartons, from your local off-licence. When placed on their sides, these become most effective bottle racks, and new cartons can be added as the need arises. If you think it is possible that a wine may throw a deposit you should use punted bottles and store them standing upright. Any sediment that does form will be held in the punt, and will not be disturbed when the wine is poured.

The ideal place for storing wine is in a wine cellar, but these are not often readily available and you must find an alternative situation. Wine should be kept in the dark as far as possible, and at a cool, even temperature of about 13°C (55°F). The wine rack should also be placed where it is free from vibration and where it can be left undisturbed until the wine is ready for drinking.

If you are making large quantities of wine, you may wish to keep it in fermentation jars rather than in bottles, jars full of maturing wine can often be conveniently stored in a cool shed, or outhouse. Resist the temptation to drink your wine as soon as it has been bottled. You must leave it for several months at least to ensure that it is fully mature. An immature wine will taste harsh, often with an unpleasant flavour, and will not be the joy to drink that it should be.

- Blending: Occasionally a wine will taste less than perfect, even though you may have devoted to it. This may be a matter of personal taste, or due to some peculiarity of the initial ingredients.

As long as the wine itself is not faulty, all is not lost, because careful blending with another wine may produce a mixture pleasant to drink. To achieve the best results you may need to experiment with various combinations of wine. Many enjoyable hours can be spent trying various permutations. It is often most successful to blend wines of opposite characteristics: for example, a too sweet and too dry wine will mix to produce a wine of the right sweetness.

Blending two or more wines together may present some problems, and you should expectjpossible chemical changes, resisting in deposits forming, or fermentation starting up again. The advantages of blending usually outweigh the disadvantages however, as long as the problems are acknowledged and corrected if they occur.

Finally, you should remember that a wine which is faulty in some basic way cannot be improved by blending. The only certain result of mixing an unsound wine with a good one is that the good one will be ruined.

It is unlikely that a 50/50 mixture of two wines of complementary character will produce the perfect balance so you should try several different combinations using only about a wineglassful of each before you blend the bulk. You should then sterilize the blend with a Campden tablet and leave it under fermentation lock for a month before bottling.

1 comentario:

  1. Thank you for those sweet tips and advices! I ‘m sure that future wine makers would bear these tips in mind once they start their journey to wine making. Wine making is a serious business. There are a lot of factors to consider when you are involved in this industry. From juicing the fruit to bottling wine, you have to keep the quality and passion that go with it. But with the right direction and equipment, and a little creativity in mixing and tasting, you can surely create an amazing quality wine.

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