Wax sealing old bottles

I have a couple of old bottles of port, that I’d do a bit of DIY maintenance to. Some pictures here of cleaning and covering the top with a wax seal, to (hopefully) allow them to last longer.

The one on the left with its original wax seal, but you can see how the paper selo has acted as a wick to a slightly leaky cork. No problems on the right … so far … but it is a lead capsule which I’m not so keen on.

Melting some wax in a bain-marie, in this case I’m using cheese wax which is slightly soft.

Under the lead foil, some dirt and mould. No leak.

The wax bottle, I chipped away the old wax to near the top, and cleaned away the residue from the leak with nail varnish remover, but also remnants of the selo, and what turned out to be a thin layer of foil as well.

Right bottle cleaned, with water and nail varnish remover

Dunked and turned in the wax and removed, repeating a few times to build the layers.

So, whilst not authentic or very neat, will hopefully do no harm in allowing these bottles to be kept a while longer. I bought cheese wax because of its slight softness; sealing wax would be too brittle for my liking. I made a slight mistake of not keeping the water hot enough, and it layered thickly quite fast, but overall it seems to have worked well … so far!


Good idea if you are storing whisky long term

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I’m no chemist - so I await enlightenment - but isn’t this a bad idea near a bottle of wine?

Might have been better off using isopropyl alcohol or methalated spirits as a cleaning agent. But I dont think the nail varnish remover would reach the wine, the cork looks pretty solid and I guess you wiped it all down with water after using the nvr.
Very well planned and executed process.
Out of interest, how old were the bottles.


It’s a mix of ethyl acetate and alcohol, evaporates in seconds. Both bottles are 1977

There is a lengthy and comprehensive discussion of this on The Port Forum here; How to re-wax bottles - ThePortForum.com


Obviously you don’t want the wine to get cooked in the process, so dipping in the wax briefly, and not beyond the cork is probably OK, then time in the fridge to help it cool

Just read it more thoroughly… can’t help thinking this wouldn’t be out of place if they had internet forums in the Edwardian period!

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As @Alabaster_cheeks says: Whisky geeks do something similar with their bottles, to reduce evaporation/ leakage & reduced resale auction value. Its a common problem with old whisky where levels can easily drop below the bottle neck.

An important difference: whisky corks are rather short and not a great seal, metal screw caps are even worse. So the new plastic capsule goes OVER the old enclosure. A belt & braces solution.

Shrink wrapped capsules apparently. Use a heat gun to shrink them, not boiling water.

Shame you weren’t impressed with the Campbeltown Loch …. It is £15 cheaper than SB10 if you could get it lol I’d suggest Longrow peated too which is maybe more available

Longrow, a shame but I’ve never really got on with. The ‘CV’ or whatever it’s called seems a tad harsh, the red wine versions definitely not keen on, 18y/o I DO like… but can no longer remotely afford !

Campbeltown Loch 21 is fantastic, but not seen it around for some time. Turns up at auction now and then, but too pricy for me.