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Can I use Wine Bottles instead of Spirit Bottles?


Absinthe Pete

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The title pretty much explains my question, can I use a traditional wine bottle instead of a spirit bottle? The only concern I've heard about from other people is head space, but if I use a bar top cork, which I'm going to, then that adds extra head space anyway? Thoughts or suggestions welcome.

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I'm pretty sure the only restriction that the TTB puts on bottles is the volume, and wine bottles fit those standards. I think Keith Bodine's 3 Crow Rum f uses a champagne bottle. I know it has the shape and is tinted brown, I will check the bottom and post otherwise if it's flat, but I'm pretty sure it's concave in as is req for champagne.

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wine bottles are calibrated for wine on headspace vs. spirits bottles that happen to look like wine bottles are calibrated for higher-proof spirits. I think you'll be fine using wine bottles, but when it comes to shipping with distributors, you need to make sure that the product(s) don't get too hot as expansion may be an issues. We started out with wine bottles and have changed over to a spirits bottle, partly for that reason.

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On that note, popping tops can happen with less extreme conditions than "hot". Our first winter, we were bottling with the shop at about 50 degrees F (to save $$ fun fun), and filling the bottles to half way up the neck because it looked the best. Well, the liquor stores are kept at 70 degrees, and the expansion in the alc was pooping the stoppers, even with a sticker seal across them. That's with a spirits bottle too btw, not a wine bottle.

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  • 2 months later...

Only two considerations (technically speaking I can not comment on local excise silliness); Headspace and the wadding

Wine headspace (the air space between the top of the liquid und the underside of the cork/cap) is minimized to reduce oxidation, and to allow for some expansion compensation in hot weather. With spirits, we do not worry about the oxidation issue, but expansion is more of an issue (well for us in Australia LOL). Remember bottle volume is usually to the fill line not the top of the neck. As a rule, spirit bottles usually have 25% more headspace than a wine bottle for this reason.

Wadding, or the material that touched the liquid is important. Corks are fine in most cases, but will rot faster than normal with high ABV and the presence of acids (ie sitric acid in a lemon liquor) The challenge with corks these days is getting quality corks that will not leak or fail. I have heard of some TCA taint issues with corks and vodka.

The wadding used under most screw cap wine closures (ie Stelvin) according to the book is NOT approved for spirits with a ABV above 30%. Personally I have no issues but you need to discuss this with your closure provider. The BEST wadding for spirits is aluminium foil on top of a foam. No taint, no leaks.

Hope this helps.

rich..

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