Our 8 ultimate bottling recommendations

1. Prepare your bottling line

Before bottling, make sure that the bottling line is disinfected and free of insects, especially wine moths. The room should be correctly ventilated and at stable temperature of between 15 and 20ºC (59F to 68F).

2. Verify bottles

All bottles should be washed and dried close to the moment of bottling (most of bottling lines do this automatically).

We recommend to double check the size of bottle neck as there might be slight variation between different production lots and different suppliers.

3. Do not open cork stoppers bags in advance

Plastic bags with cork stoppers are sealed with vacuum is sterile conditions. Therefore the bags should be opened only before loading corks into the bottling equipment. Keeping open bags with corks might cause contamination and affect the performance of corks.

4. Calibrate bottling depth

For most standard bottle models, it is recommended that the cork stopper should be +/- 0.5mm up to 1 mm from the top of the bottle neck.
Placing the cork stopper too much inside the bottle neck might cause increase of internal bottle pressure (if bottling by vacuum or CO2 is not used) and create empty space between the stopper and the capsule that is applied on top of the bottle.

5. Calculate properly the ullage level

Ullage level should be calculated having in consideration the cork stopper length, legal fill level, vacuum levels and temperature.
It is recommended to have at least 15 mm space between the end of the cork and surface of the wine (in majority of 750 ml bottles).
This free space allows the expansion of the wine and avoids excessive pressure inside the bottle.

6. Control the compression level

Cork stoppers must never be compressed more than 33% of its original diameter. Recommended compression of corks with 24 mm in diameter is to the size of 16,5 mm to assure smooth insertion into a bottle with an interior neck of 18.5mm in diameter.
Higher compression might compromise elasticity and create difficulties in the correct sealing of the wine in the bottle.

7. Keep bottles neck-up after bottling

90% of cork compression is being recovered within 5 to 10 minutes., therefore after bottling the wine should remain neck-up for 30 to 60 minutes after bottling.
Wine makers who are not sure about glass size or bottling conditions should store their wines neck up and in stable conditions to avoid problems due to premature bottle lay down.

8. Make sure your bottling equipment is up to date

For optimal result it is recommended 4-segment, sliding jaw type cork compression system. Roller or iris type jaws tend to cause wrinkles in the cork that can cause leaking. Bottling equipment should be well maintained, according to the manufacturer’s recommended standards at all times. The jaws should not work in excessive speeds in order to avoid damaging the cork stoppers.

Making good wine is a skill; making fine wine is an art

Robert Mondavi
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