First I would like to thank you for the newsletters. I have been receiving them now for about 2 years and they have come in very helpful and I have been making wine for at least that long.
The question I have is, when bottling I put the amount required for bottling of campden tablets and sometimes I will still have bottles that will pop out the corks and I use #9 corks. I was wondering if I was doing something wrong or is there something else that I need to do.
While Campden Tablets will reduce the chance of popping wine bottle corks, it is far from a guarantee. Campden Tablets are primarily added to keep the wine fresh and to help it retain its color. It is Sodium Metabisulfite in tablet form.
The problem you are experiencing is more than likely being caused by either: (1) not allowing the fermentation complete all the way before bottling, or (2) you added sugar after the fermentation to sweeten the wine, but did so without adding a wine stabilizer [Potassium Sorbate].
In the future, before bottling you need to check the wine with a gravity hydrometer to make sure your specific gravity reading is .998 or less. This will confirm that the fermentation has completed and is ready for Campden Tablets to be added. If the fermentation decides to start again while in the wine bottle, pressure will build and corks will pop.
If you add sugar to the wine before bottling to increase its sweetness, it is important that you also add Potassium Sorbate to help eliminate the chance of re-fermentation this is in addition to the Campden Tablets or Sodium Metabisulfite. Adding sugar at bottling time will only feed a dormant fermentation new life, again causing corks to pop.
Customer Service at E. C. Kraus
Ed Kraus is a 3rd generation home brewer/winemaker and has been an owner of E. C. Kraus since 1999. He has been helping individuals make better wine and beer for over 25 years.