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Nitrogen Sparging And Vacum Corking


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#1 ranchomaria

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Posted 08 August 2011 - 09:06 AM

what do you think of nitrogen sparging bottles , gravity filling and then vacum corking? Will vacum corking remove nitrogen from headspace? If bottles are left upright for a week or so wont headspace presure equalize itself? Thanks for your input.

#2 Wade's Wines

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Posted 08 August 2011 - 10:47 AM

How do you vacuum cork???
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#3 Tomer1

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Posted 08 August 2011 - 01:57 PM

Most of the nitrogen gets displaced anyhow as the wine enters.

A vaccum will pull any remainig gas.

If bottles are left upright for a week or so wont headspace presure equalize itself

This is what vaccum corking solves, the pressure is equalized stright away.

With manual corking you do need to leave upright for a while to avoid leakage.

If I were into tatoos... I would tatoo some grapes on my forarm. :P


#4 Wade's Wines

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Posted 08 August 2011 - 07:45 PM

How do you vacuum cork???
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#5 ranchomaria

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Posted 08 August 2011 - 08:44 PM

How do you vacuum cork???

there are corkers , both manuel and automated that creat a vacuum immeduately prior to corking to equalize the pressures in the headspace. thats how I understand it, just learning

#6 Wade's Wines

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Posted 08 August 2011 - 09:17 PM

Can you post a link to one? I'd like to see it and learn more.
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#7 Calamity Cellars

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Posted 08 August 2011 - 11:14 PM

there are corkers , both manuel and automated that create a vacuum immediately prior to corking to equalize the pressures in the headspace. thats how I understand it, just learning



They are way out of reach for the home winemaker. They are usually found on higher end mono block bottling lines.

The purpose of sparging a bottle with inert gas prior to filling is to minimize the O2 intake into the wine from the splashing that happens while filling. The splashing is really unavoidable but if the gas in the bottle does not contain O2 then the effects of bottle shock are minimized. I would agree that there would be little N2 left in the neck once the cork was inserted. I saw a machine at a trade show that dropped a couple of mg's of liquid N2 into the bottle of wine between the filler & the corker which created a N2 fog as the cork was inserted. This system, which cost $250,000.00, did displace air between the wine & the cork.

As stated above, the purpose of the vacuum that some corkers create, it is to prevent a pressure build up inside the bottle when the cork is inserted. The closest us small guys can get is to put a piece of fishing line down the inside of the bottle while inserting the cork. This will allow the pressure to escape and then you can pull the fishing line out so the cork can seal. Personally I find this to be a waste of effort unless you are having a hard time inserting corks with a hand corker.

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#8 ranchomaria

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Posted 09 August 2011 - 07:41 AM

Can you post a link to one? I'd like to see it and learn more.

i am not very computer savy. as others stated lots of high dollar machines have this feature. st. pats and others sell such corkers, many under 10 thousand but still lots of money. there is a swiss made floor corker which is capable of vacum assist, rapid 44 is the model to search. still over 3 thousand. I think sparging and vacum is more than i need. will prbably just sparge and leave bottle upright for a week post corking. thanks for the input everyone

#9 Hammered

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Posted 09 August 2011 - 08:56 AM

i am not very computer savy. as others stated lots of high dollar machines have this feature. st. pats and others sell such corkers, many under 10 thousand but still lots of money. there is a swiss made floor corker which is capable of vacum assist, rapid 44 is the model to search. still over 3 thousand. I think sparging and vacum is more than i need. will prbably just sparge and leave bottle upright for a week post corking. thanks for the input everyone

I'm not convinced that leaving them upright will achieve anything but allowing oxygen to replace your nitrogen in the bottle. I lay mine down immediately after bottling and have never had a leaker.

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#10 Tomer1

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Posted 09 August 2011 - 08:57 AM

Vaccum may be essential if your shipping your wine out the door as soon as its in the bottle but either wise... If you have the space just stack the bottles upright someplace in the celler.

If I were into tatoos... I would tatoo some grapes on my forarm. :P


#11 gregorio

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Posted 09 August 2011 - 07:11 PM

Vacuum helps reduce Bottle Shock further, makes corks go in easier and helps reduce the chance of a leaker if you happen to come across a weaker cork. For most home winemakers, N2 sparging is like putting a bandaid on a gaping knife wound. Not going to do much to solve the problem. However, if the rest of your winemaking practices are sound, then it can be the logical next step short of a major investment in a vacuum corker. We bought ours from St. Pats several years ago and I will never use anything else again.
Perrucci Family Wines by Kennedy Hill Vineyards. Contact us regarding our monthly cork group buys.

#12 Hammered

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Posted 09 August 2011 - 08:13 PM

For most home winemakers, N2 sparging is like putting a bandaid on a gaping knife wound. Not going to do much to solve the problem.

It would be good if you expanded on this statement. What's the problem? What's the gaping wound? Seems like sparging would be a good protocol for us Homers.

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#13 gregorio

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Posted 09 August 2011 - 11:06 PM

It would be good if you expanded on this statement. What's the problem? What's the gaping wound? Seems like sparging would be a good protocol for us Homers.

Most home winemakers do such a poor job of O2 management prior to bottling that the miniscule benefit from N2 sparging the bottles is a waste. I'm not saying that the wine is bad but the damage is already done. There are much simpler places to work on that have a huge impact on the wine. Things like topping up, adequate SO2 management, racking when necessary and not on a schedule, using a gentle pump instead of a cheap turbine, topping up, etc. Yes, I said it twice.

If you have all your ducks in a row and want to move on to the next step, then N2 sparging might be worth it. There just are very few home winos that are there.
Perrucci Family Wines by Kennedy Hill Vineyards. Contact us regarding our monthly cork group buys.

#14 bzac

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Posted 09 August 2011 - 11:59 PM

I think Greg has hit it right on the head .
especially on the topping up and SO2 management , I meet so many home winemakers who have an almost pathological fear of so2.
its no wonder oxidisation is the number one flaw found in home wine making competitions.

nitrogen sparging is to reduce bottle shock so the wine can be ready to ship as soon as its bottled , at home we have the luxury of being able to wait for the wine to settle down.

as a good intermediate system , between what greg has already covered , an enolmatic vacuum filler is a good compromise which reduces some bottle shock / o2 exposure , does a final degassing and is affordable and makes bottleing much easier.

a bottleing line line capable of doing vacuum corking etc is going to do something like 50 bottles a minute as a minimum . my annual production could be done in under an hour counting set up and clean up.
the economy of scale just isn't there.

if you are fixed on the idea a contract mobile bottleing line might be theoretical possible


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#15 Hammered

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Posted 10 August 2011 - 09:33 AM

I think we all have a goal of improving our techniques, including proper integration of and protection from O2. What Greg describes is very important and great advice. The problem I have with ignoring using N2 at bottling is that the bottling equipment that is available to home winemakers is potentially pretty damaging. Without N2 sparging, wine gets blasted or sprayed into an oxygen filled bottle as its final step before closing it up for good. If the O2 is reduced or replaced by the inert N2, then that last step would minimize the risk of oxidation occurring in the bottle. It's not that hard to do, nor is it expensive, so I'll keep doing it as a part of my protocol.

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