Bung poppin’ daddy!

Les Garagistes bung tie-downIt’s a sign spring is here: not the chirping of birds, or the gentle unfolding of delicate flowers, but the popping of bungs. As the weather warms, wine expands and the pressure in the head space between wine and bung grows, ultimately popping out the bung you’ve carefully seated.

If you’re lucky, sometimes you hear it pop, and respond quickly enough to see the bung still bouncing around the floor of the winery. A little air exposure isn’t the end of the world, even if you don’t catch it immediately, but the danger is if you miss it for a day or so. And then, less seriously, have to hunt the popped bung down – they’re surprisingly agile and can cover a lot of ground.

So this year, we’re trying something minimize that problem: improvised bung tie-downs.

Two rubber bands tied to one another. One double looped and placed around the neck; the other stretched over the bung and secured on the other side under the neck band.

The trick, I think, is how tight you make the band stretching over the top. Ideally, it’s tight enough to stay in under moderate pressure, but not so tight it won’t release some gas if the pressure really builds (you don’t want that pressure applied to the inside of the carboy glass, that is).

I’ve been doing this for a few months now, and it’s saved us some air exposure and bung-hunting. But the real test will be when spring really arrives.

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