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?

  • 4
    I suggest pouring the wine into smaller bottles with a screw cap instead.
    – Stefan
    Apr 5, 2013 at 9:27

10 Answers 10


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.

  • 8
    +1 for reusable corks, they are cheap and make this problem a non-starter.
    – Brendan
    Apr 5, 2013 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.


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.


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.


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!

  • 2
    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, 2016 at 16:08

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)

  • Bread knife is likely to actually create fragments that could end up in the wine - a razor sharp non-serrated knife is better here. Feb 1, 2018 at 11:02

I shaved the plastic rind off with a scissors, squeezed it in as far as I could with my hands, then put the hard plastic bottom of a bottle of ibuprofen on top of the cork and pressed down. I imagine any kind of grippable, flat and hard thing would work. The ibuprofen bottle made it much easier to apply force once the cork was in a workable position.


When I have tried and am alone with no muscle, I have tried every trick internet search gives.... not even warm/hot water worked for me with plastic corks in large champagne bottles... what worked at end of day even after going to buy a whole other bottle and its cork also not giving way.... butter knife!

Just keep prying under cork with a butter knife (it may bend- don't use one that may be missed if you bend it!). Just continue to pry each side you can get it up into the cork and sure enough pried way to which I could then pull off the cork!


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

  • 4
    -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.
    – Cascabel
    Jul 14, 2013 at 1:10

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

  • 1
    Sounds like a perfect way to shatter the bottle... Dec 31, 2015 at 23:39
  • 5
    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.
    – Cascabel
    Jan 1, 2016 at 0:00

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