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I'm currently fermening my first batch of apple wine, with the plan to make sparkling cider. My idea is to make sure that the first fermentation has stopped, rack the cider, put it into bottles and add a small amount of sugar to creat the CO2.

Now, my question is: What bottles can I use? How can I close them (so they withstand the pressure)? What's the pressure I can allow?
I think I can calculate the amount of sugar from headspace and cider volume, when I know the correct partial pressure of CO2.

I have beer and wine bottles available, and could maybe score champagne bottles. I don't have tools to put stoppers on them and would appreciate hints on how to do it without buying much equipment.

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up vote 3 down vote accepted

Use either beer or champagne bottles. Wine bottles are not designed to withstand the pressure and coupe explode. Beer bottles will be easier to cap. If you use the champagne bottles, you'll need to either buy or rent a corker. Corking is more hassle than capping, so unless you prefer the champagne bottles for presentation, I'd go the easy route. I've found that using 1 oz. of sugar per gallon of cider produces a good carbonation level.

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Are beer bottels with swing top ok? Are bottles for carbonated water ok? – mart Oct 28 '13 at 8:33
Yep. Those are fine. – Denny Conn Oct 28 '13 at 20:54

I think maybe everyone in the US has a Dollar Tree within a couple miles of them? If so, you have a great source of bottles!

Three Liter Bottle

You take off the top, dump out the pop, and rack into them (they're already sanitized). You'd need six of them for a five gallon batch (so $6). You can re-use them. You can also squish them, then tighten the cap (no oxygen in the head space). I just wish they had brown ones, but alas, they do not.

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You're fine using anything you can for beer- the carbonation levels are about the same. 22 oz bottles and corny kegs work well.

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