Ah, wine. There are too many varieties to count, and everyone has their favorite. Everyone seems to have those corks and bottles left over, too.
Last September Dan and I did a Barrel Tasting Weekend at Hermit Woods Winery in Sanbornton, NH. It rained a bit, but we had a great time, spent some time with the owners, and met a lot of wine lovers. Ironically, Dan and I aren’t big drinkers, so I got to wondering – what do you do with the bottles and corks?
Throwing them out just seems like a waste, especially if you’re drinking a lot of wine. I decided to look into it a little, because that’s what I do. Guess what? There are some pretty cute and fun things you can do. Here are a few of them, separated by cork and bottles.
- Keep your corks in a mason jar with rubbing alcohol. The next time you need to start a fire, toss a couple of the corks under your kindling to get it going quickly.
- Cut a small slot on one end, about a quarter inch deep. Put a small piece of paper with careful script to make a placecard.
- Put corks on the end of your kebab skewers for storage – never worry about poked fingers again.
- Make a stamp: Use a blade (like this one) to cut a design out of the cork on one end. Simple designs work best, and it’s a good idea to draw it on first.
- Make a trivet: Gather a bunch of corks that are the same height. Then, glue them together with superglue. Remember, don’t use a hot glue gun or the glue will just melt when you use the trivet.
- Similarly, make coasters the same way. How cute would that be for your next party?
- Have a high-carbon kitchen knife? Put a dab of cleaner on a cork and scrub the knife with that to avoid scratches.
- Chop or grind some corks and mix them in with soil for potted plants – they’ll retain moisture.
- Stick a cork with a wooden skewer and write on the cork using a permanent marker. Great for labeling plants.
- Cut the cork into thin discs. These circles can be:
- glued on chair feet to prevent scratching or wobbling
- put on the back of pictures will keep them from sliding off center
- glued to the inside corners on cabinet doors to stop them from banging
- Fill the bottle with water and use as a bud vase. For added pizazz, use a hole punch on some painters tape and wrap it around the bottle. Spray paint the bottle and pull off the tape to reveal bands of polka dots!
- Fill a bottle with water and turn upside down into a potted plant’s soil for a slow water feed.
- Cut the bottom off and place votives or tea lights underneath for a candle holder.
- Drill a hole through the back of the bottle and insert a string of lights. Alternately, get a lamp kit and run the wiring through the hole.
- Fill bottle with oil and herbs for flavor-infused oils. Colored bottles work best for this, as they protect the flavor best. Use a pouring spout to keep it air tight and convenient.
- Feeling ambitious? Make a wine bottle torch. I found a fantastic tutorial here: Design Sponge
Bonus tip: If you’re having trouble getting the bottle label off, try putting hair conditioner (yes, hair conditioner) on the label and letting it sit for a few hours to overnight.
There are hundreds more ideas I haven’t covered here. I’d love to hear what you do with them!