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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?

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

5 Answers 5

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.

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+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.

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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.

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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.

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

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-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

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