It’s rare that I can’t polish off an open bottle of wine. The thought of abandoning the delicious nectar of gods and letting it go to waste is a tragedy beyond compare. Unfortunately, sometimes I’m left with no choice and must store my wine for later. Today I’ll teach you how you can best preserve wine and how long will it last.
Oxygen turns red wine into vinegar. Thus the key is to reduce the amount of oxygen touching the surface when storing open red wine. There are a few methods used to prolong shelf life, all based on minimizing exposure to oxygen either by replacing or removing the oxygen or reducing the surface area of the wine. With the necessary TLC some red wines can be stored open for up to a week.
Re-cork the wine after every glass pour. Keep the open wine bottle out of light and stored under room temperature. In most cases a refrigerator goes a long way to keeping wine fresh longer; even red wines. When stored at colder temperatures the chemical processes slow down, including the process of oxidation that takes place when wine is exposed to oxygen. Wine stored by cork inside the fridge will stay relatively fresh for up to 3-5 days. This is a good start, but I think we can do better!
If you don’t want to buy any wine preserving tools, consider rebottling the wine in a smaller container so that the amount of wine that touches air is reduced.
There are a few wine preservation systems available. Most of them don’t work that well, some do more harm than good, and others are just blatant ripoffs. I’ve narrowed it down to two fundamental types: the vacuum pump wine preservation and inert wine gas preservation. Before jumping into which to buy, it’s important to disclose the controversy on vacuum pumps.
There is some dispute as to the effectiveness of vacuum pump wine preservation. The argument claims that it’s only a partial vacuum, meaning the wine still interacts with oxygen and that by creating a pressure difference you’re extracting aromas from the wine. Proponents cite that this is visually evident by little bubbles that escape from the wine under vacuum. However, I have not seen any scientific evidence that there is a noticeable influence on the flavor or aromas.
On the other hand, there are several manufacturers of industrial wine preservation systems built on the idea of vacuum sealing wine. I’ve worked at a wine bar that made use of such a system and it was my experience that it kept the wine fresh for a longer period of time without any unexpected deterioration. In any case, wine vacuum pumps are not that expensive; I encourage you to try one for yourself and form your own conclusions.
Oh lovely sparkling wine. Did you know that many people prefer day-old Champagne over freshly opened Champagne? Letting the bubbles settle gives the wine a chance to off-gas and cuts the carbonation, rounding out the flavors. (Try it, let me know what you think!) Hopefully, it goes without saying that you shouldn’t vacuum pump sparkling wine. It will suck on your bubbles and leave a terrible void in your soul. Gross.
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