How to Use a Handheld Wine Corker

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How to Use a Handheld Wine Corker
Use natural corks, not synthetic ones, for a handheld wine corker. (wine cork image by Julia Chernikova from

Wine-making enthusiasts and hobbyists who make small batches of wine at home need a solution for corking the finished bottles of wine. A handheld wine corker serves the purpose well. It is a tool that compresses a cork and forces it into the neck of a wine bottle. They are fairly affordable and do not take up as much space as floor corkers. With practice and a steady hand, you can use a hand-held corker for your corking needs.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Filled bottles of wine
  • Hand-held double-lever wine corker

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  1. 1

    Boil water in a saucepan and turn off the heat. Place a sufficient number of corks for the number of wine bottles you will seal in the water. Place a saucer over the corks to submerge them. Wait 15 to 20 minutes, but no longer, and remove the corks from the water.

  2. 2

    Place one filled wine bottle on a sturdy table about waist high. Make sure the wine does not come to within more than 2 inches of where the cork will sit in the bottleneck.

  3. 3

    Place one of the corks, which is now pliable because it has been heated, inside the cork holder of the hand-held corker. Place the bottle rim bracket of the corker on the top of the bottle. Make sure it is level to the lip of the bottle.

  4. 4

    Enlist someone to hold the bottle with both hands. Pull down on the two levers of the corker with firm, continuous, equal pressure. This will force the cork into the bottle's neck. Release the handheld corker. Repeat Steps 2 through 4 for all your filled wine bottles.

Tips and warnings

  • Stand the bottles upright for three days to allow the corks to conform to the bottlenecks and for the pressure inside to equalise. Otherwise, the cork may slide out of the bottle. After three days you can label the bottles and store them on their sides.
  • Floor models of wine corkers are also available that provide more stability and allow you to cork bottles by yourself.
  • While it is possible for only one person to cork wine using a handheld wine corker, the bottle may slip out from under the corker and spill.
  • Because of the small size of the plunger on a hand-held wine corker, do not use synthetic corks. The plunger will deform the cork instead of push it into the bottleneck correctly.

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