Vintage corkscrew on stone

Putting corks in bottles of homemade wine is a straightforward process requiring one inexpensive specialized machine. The process, called "corking," does not vary between types of wine. Corking your own wine adds a feeling of finality to the wine making process, like the period at the end of a sentence. It also allows a homemade wine to age, adding a new dimension to your creation.

Choose a corker. Consider how many bottles of wine you will make. Hand corkers, around $20, are fine for a first attempt and under a dozen bottles of wine. For more extensive bottling efforts, invest in a larger lever corker available from online brewing supply shops. They cost from $25 to slightly over $100.

Obtain corks 1 3/4-inch corks, the most useful in home wine making. Plastic varieties available for about the same cost, but get real corks to add that fine vineyard touch to your end product. Soak natural corks in a pan with 2 quarts of warm distilled water for 20 minutes.

Fill the clean wine bottles to 1 inch below where the bottom of the cork will be in the neck. Place the filled bottle into the corking device. Place the cork in the opening. With a smooth even stroke, insert the cork into the bottle. Wipe all moisture from the cork. Let the bottles sit upright for 24 hours to stabilize the air pressure before placing in a wine rack.


  • Add a professional touch by shrinking seals onto the top of the bottle. They are available at online brewing stores. Slip the seals onto the top of the bottle and shrink them by rotating over steam from a tea kettle.