How To Keep Wine Fresh After Opening The Bottle
When you begin to think about all the wines to preserve an opened bottle of wine (I realized I typo’d that when I proofed it. It should be “ways to preserve…” but I thought it was really funny so I left it. Obviously I have wine on the brain) it can make your head spin. There are so many methods out there and they can be quite expensive. They begin at $FREE.99 and can go all the way up to thousands of dollars. As an armchair somm, I’m always looking for the best bang for my buck.
It’s no secret that wine is a popular drink. So what happens when you open the bottle and don’t finish it all? How do you keep the wine from going bad? Here are some of the most popular options that are easy to do at home. And just for fun, I’ll list the more pricy and fancy wine preservation systems at the end of the article.
Re-Cork That Bottle
Once you have opened a bottle of wine, you will want to make sure it is sealed properly to keep it fresh. When re-corking your wine bottle, place the stained side of the cork in the bottle. This side has already been exposed to the wine. Even though the other side of the cork is easier to fit into the bottle it may not be clean. Do this after you pour your first glass. If you want the wine to breath (and, you do) swirl it in your glass. But re-cork that bottle after you open it.
I know what you’re thinking, “that’s against the laws of physics”. The cork will expand when it’s removed from the bottle. Take a knife or use the blade of the wine tool and cut a notch in the cork. Take care not to slice your finger in the process. That will help the cork to compress so that you can re-insert the cork into the bottle. Too much fuss? Pick-up a rubber stopper from Amazon, cheap, simple, and effective.
Store Opened Wine In The Fridge
Storing the wine in the fridge is one of the best ways to keep it fresh (for a day). The fridge will keep the wine cold and help to preserve its flavor. You can store bottles of red or white wine in the fridge, but it is important to make sure that the wine is stored in a cool, dark place. This will prevent the wine from spoiling. It will also prevent the cork from drying out and making it easier to seal tightly when you want to drink it again.
As I mentioned, this will keep your wine fresh for a day. Oxidation starts the moment air enters the bottle. Storing an opened bottle in the fridge is far better than leaving it on the counter but it won’t keep for long.
Pour Remaining Wine Into Smaller Bottles
This will help to preserve the flavor and prevent the wine from spoiling. In order to do this properly, you will need a resealable container, a funnel and smaller bottles. Pour the remaining wine into the resealable container and store it upright in your fridge. This process seems like a pain but you can use a small mason jar or jam jar.
Keep Your Opened Wine Fresh By Adding A Vacuum Pump
Once you are done pouring your glass, pump the air out of the bottle with a hand pump. Hand pumps are a great low cost way to make your open bottle of wine last longer. This process will remove any oxygen from the bottle before you re-cork it and will help to prevent your wine from oxidizing ensuring that it tastes as good as the first time you opened the bottle. A vacuum pump is a great way to prolong the life of your favorite wines.
Don’t Remove The Cork (Calling The Mighty Coravin)
This has happened to all of us. It’s Wednesday. Your streaming service recommends Sideways or Wine Country or my absolute favorite, Bottle Shock (starring Alan Rickman, Bill Pullman, Chris Pine, Eliza Dushku). Netflix doesn’t care it’s Wednesday. So you’re like, wine not? All of a sudden, the $40+ bottle of wine you just brought home from your last wine tasting is calling your name. Of course, you should enjoy it on a Wednesday! Life is for the living and YOLO and… whatever else you need to tell yourself to open this delicious bottle of wine. Yes, yes… you want to be sensible. It is a school night after all. You’ve decided you’ll only have one glass of wine (yeah right but, OK). Here’s how you do it. Here’s how you enjoy one glass of your $40+ bottle while preserving the remainder for dinner on Friday that is planned four weeks from now.
All you have to do is introduce argon gas into your bottle of wine without corking it. What? Let the sciencing commence.
When you’re preserving wine with argon gas, you’re essentially slowing down the aging process (oxidation). Argon is a noble gas that doesn’t react with other molecules, which means it won’t interact with the wine and cause it to spoil. By using a Coravin wine system or similar device to inject argon gas into the bottle, you can keep your wine fresh for weeks.
The non-coring Coravin Needle gently passes through corks without displacing cork material. Once the Needle is removed, the cork simply expands back to its normal shape. As wine is extracted through the needle, it is replaced with pure argon gas, ensuring oxygen never touches the remaining wine, keeping it as fresh as the day it was bottled.
This method is perfect for preserving wine in the bottle when you only plan to have a glass or two (wink, wink) because it allows you to inject argon gas into the bottle to protect the wine from oxidation. So, voila.
Coravin offers a multitude of wine preservation systems that start at $99.
Up Your Wine Game With A Wine Preserver and Chiller
If you want to take your wine game up a notch, consider investing in a wine preserver and chiller. A wine preserver and chiller will keep your wine fresh longer than re-corking the bottle. It also frees up valuable space in your refrigerator.
There are many different wine preservers and chillers on the market. The Somm du Vin 2-Bottle Wine Preserver and Chiller is a great option for those who want an affordable and high-quality product. This preserver and chiller is made from stainless steel, and it comes with a two-year warranty. It also has a built-in digital thermostat that allows you to precisely control the temperature of your wine.
The Somm du Vin keeps two unfinished bottles preserved, chilled and ready to pour right from your countertop or bar. With two storage compartments, it will keep an opened red and a white preserved at the optimal temperature. Each storage zone can individually be set to ideal temperatures for storing and serving reds and whites: 46° F for white and rosé, 54° for full-bodied whites like Chardonnay, and 61° for red wine. It instantly removes air from opened wine bottles and automatically activates whenever necessary to keep your unfinished wine fresh for up to 10 days.
The Somm du Vin will run you $499 and up.
That’s all. Just finish the bottle. If your housemate, SO or child (of age) are excited to help you, then you should enjoy it together. In fact, you can make a fun evening of it. Watch a witty comedy about wine, open your bottle and make some tasting notes. Download our FREE tasting guide.
How Long Does Wine Last After Opening
The length of time wine lasts after opening varies depending on the type of wine. Red wines tend to last longer than white wines, for example. Generally speaking, however, wine can last anywhere from a few days to a couple of weeks after opening. Even the best wine preservation systems won’t keep your wine fresh forever.
How to Tell If Wine Has Gone Bad
When oxidation begins the wine will begin to change in color and taste. Oxygen does bring out the flavor in wine (swirl the glass) but to much of a good thing will turn your wine to vinegar.
There are a few ways to tell if wine has gone bad.
- Look at it. Reds will become darker, while white wines will often deepen and become more yellow.
- Smell it. If it smells like vinegar, then it has gone bad. Taste it. If it tastes sour, then it has gone bad. Check the cork. If it’s brown, then it has oxidized and gone bad.
This will also help you to know about how long a bottle has been open when dining out. If you order wine by the glass at a restaurant, you’ll generally be able to tell by looking at the color when you swirl it in the glass and give it a taste. If it tastes fine, it probably is just fine. If you think it smells and tastes off, it’s okay to ask for a fresh glass.
So what’s the best way to preserve wine after it has been opened? It’s up to you! Do you have one glass left? Maybe a jam jar filled to the brim. Two glasses left? Vacuum the air out and put it back in the fridge. One glass drunk from the expensive bottle? Coravin for sure. If you’re drinking a glass or two an evening (No judgement here) maybe it’s time to splurge for the preserver and chiller.