For best results, ensure neck of bottle is clean and free of grease (wipe with methylated spirits or isopropyl alcohol (IPA) if unsure), then melt wine bottle sealing wax over a low heat, such as in a dish sitting in hot water. Wine bottle sealing wax is ready for use when fully molten, ideally at a temperature of 70-80°C, though up to 125°C will cause no problems, so if you don't have a thermometer, simply heat the wine bottle sealing wax in a dish sitting in hot water, this will ensure you cannot exceed 100°C.
Caution: Never heat wine bottle sealing wax higher than 125°C as this will permanently impair its performance!
Caution: Temperatures quoted here are for bottle sealing wax; figures for the older bottle sealing wax original (no longer manufactured) are slightly different. For customers still using up old stocks of original, please refer to the FAQ section for the correct temperature information.
Ordinary kitchen utensils can of course be used to melt and pour bottle sealing wax, and a jam thermometer is suitable for checking the temperature... but to make things really easy for you, following customer requests we now offer Pyrex glass melting/pouring beakers, with pouring lips specially shaped for clean, dribble-free pouring of hot liquids, as well as a low-cost thermometer that is just right for checking the temperature of the wax for consistently perfect results every time. Please see bottle sealing wax accessories below.
To apply the bottle sealing wax, first place the wine bottle upright and pour bottle sealing wax into the depression above the cork, filling it level with, or just proud of, the neck of the bottle (it should be noted here that a correctly-inserted cork should lie wholly within the neck of the bottle, and no part of it should protrude). This step alone is sufficient to seal the cork, but if you wish to obtain the traditional wax-dipped appearance, you should let the 'top seal' wax firm up but not harden fully, then turn the bottle upside-down and dip the last part of the neck in the wax; provided that the 'top seal' wax is still warm and somewhat soft, the dipped wax will bond securely to the top seal. Give the bottle a twist just after lifting it out of the wax, to avoid unevenness. You may well want to dip the neck two or three times to build up a thicker coating of wax -- let it cool for 20-30 seconds between dips. The actual length dipped is a matter of personal preference.
The pictures here illustrate the two alternative methods:
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