Seasoned Advice is a question and answer site for professional and amateur chefs. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

The past couple times I've bought wine stopped with a synthetic cork, I've had a very difficult time reinserting the cork after opening the bottle. It seems the cork expands after leaving the bottle, and it's made of such a rigid material that sometimes I can't squeeze it back in. (And no, inserting the back end doesn't work, as it sometimes does with real cork.)

Is there a trick to getting an expanded synthetic cork back in a wine bottle?

share|improve this question
I suggest pouring the wine into smaller bottles with a screw cap instead. – Stefan Apr 5 '13 at 9:27

There is no trick, it just won't work. Synthetic corks are popular as replacements to cork not only because they are cheaper, but more effective at preserving wine as they don't dry out, and they expand more in the neck keeping a tighter seal. This makes it more difficult, if not impossible, to get them back in.

The simple and easy solution is to buy re-usable bottle stoppers. There are many different types, I prefer the ones which have a lever or button you push down to expand the stopper as they are best at preventing spills and leaks. There are vacuum sealers as well, however IMHO they're gimmicks and don't improve the storage of wine.

share|improve this answer
+1 for reusable corks, they are cheap and make this problem a non-starter. – Brendan Apr 5 '13 at 14:32

One method that has worked for me if you desperately need to use that cork again is to shave the end with a knife to create a taper so that it will slide into the opening of the bottle and then with the pressure of your hand you can squeeze it down in.

I always keep a set of reusable rubber corks around though for this very problem. They're cheap, come in sets of 2-4 and will fit pretty much any bottle.

share|improve this answer

Why not just use a old "Real Cork" cork... You should still have one around the house... I save my corks from whiskey bottles, as the have a nice top, and almost always fit into the neck of any wine bottle.

share|improve this answer

I can sometimes get them back in by flipping them over and using the corkscrew end.

But if you can, you're better off using one of those rubber stoppers with a vacuum pump (e.g. "vacu-vin"). It will remove a lot of the air, preventing the wine from oxidizing as much.

share|improve this answer

Saw a bit of diameter off the cork with a bread knife and happily plug it back in (it may not seal it completely but it'll do overnight)

share|improve this answer

I just tried it and got it back in. Put the cork in at a 30-45 degree angle and keep applying pressure. This works best if you can sit down with your feet under you butt and keep the bottle tight between your thighs. Apply pressure and take a butter knife and keep working the edges in. Once in just put your weight on the cork and ta da!

share|improve this answer
Welcome to SA. I've removed the text in your answer that doesn't actually relate to answering the question. While it's perfectly fine to not like the answers here, there's no need to comment on their "pessimism". We try to keep things congenial here as much as possible. – Catija Mar 5 at 16:08

Why not expand the wine bottle head using heat then fit the cork back in maybe that should work

share|improve this answer
Sounds like a perfect way to shatter the bottle... – Jason Whipple Dec 31 '15 at 23:39
Even with some pretty serious heating, like all the way up to 100C in boiling water, you're going to get only a very tiny amount of expansion - like 10-20 microns. That's nowhere near enough to help you get a cork back in, even assuming you don't manage to break the bottle, and haven't ruined your wine with the heat. – Jefromi Jan 1 at 0:00

Flip it over and insert the dry end back in the bottle. I do it all the time!

share|improve this answer
-1: The question explicitly says that this isn't working. Sure, it works with some corks, but some synthetic materials really do make it difficult to impossible. – Jefromi Jul 14 '13 at 1:10

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.