I enjoy making my own wine, especially from fruits we have grown our self, when I started winemaking I just racked the wine into mason jars, but as I learned more about what was happening, I realized that mason jars could not handle the pressure created by secondary fermentation (like what happens when making champagne and sparkling wines, it also did not do justice to the work it takes to make a quality wine
So I began looking at my options. I can get wine bottles for decent prices, as a local winemaking supply store sells bottles they have gotten from a local winery (used once during festivals) for around $16 a case, corks are not that expensive either. Natural corks are around $15 for 100 or $100 for 1000 corks. Synthetic corks for longer storage are a little more expensive and are around $20 for 100, or $185 for 1000.
With corks and bottles easy to find, and cheap enough so that I can slip them in the house without explaining the debit card transaction to The Wife, all I needed to do was to decide what to use to actually cork the wine.
I decided on a handi-corker to start with. I chose it primarily because it cost less than $10.00, and my research said it was pretty easy to use as long as I did not try to cork a lot of bottles at one time.
The instructions were printed on the side of the box and were very simple. Soak the corks overnight. That is it. The device is pretty intuitive, you simply stick the corker on the top of the bottle, shove a cork into it, and press firmly on the plunger until the cork is compressed into the bottle.
My friend (who is very serious about his alcohol production) told me I may want to have a rubber mallet, so I got one out, but I did not have to use it.
In my opinion, this device is worth the money, and is pretty easy to use. But if I was going to do more than a couple cases of wine I would invest in a better corker. (which I did, and will talk about very soon.)
Plastic Plunger Hand Corker by Ferrari - Prior to use always soften and sterilize the corks by soaking them overnight in Campden solution. In emergence corks may be softened by stirring for a few minutes in hot water (not boiling) but soaking over night is preferable. Lift the plunger completely and put the cork into chamber through the opening. Stand the bottle on a solid base and hold the corker vertically on the neck of the bottle. Depress the plunger firmly until the cork is completely driven into the neck of the bottle. Use #8 corks for a tight fit. Will not insert #9 or synthetic corks.