Thursday, January 23, 2014

Tips on preserving your wine

Some people may have this problem and others may say that it never happens to them, but how do you preserve your wine that you didn't finish in the bottle?  Some may just put the cork back in and leave it on the counter, but there are some additional steps that you can take to help preserve the wine even if you are having it 24 hours later.  

The one factor that spoils a wine is oxygen.  When you open a really youthful bottle or maybe a more complex wine like a Barolo or Brunello it may benefit by aerating the wine and pouring it into a decanter to allow some oxygen into the wine to get it to open up a bit and be more approachable.  Letting oxygen into the wine during this stage is much different than expecting to open a bottle and then drink some the next day or later in the week and expect the same benefits.

I recommend taking the following measures to help preserve some of the characteristics of the wine for a later tasting.  The longer you wait you won't be able to capture a similar experience tasting the wine from when you first opened the bottle, so the sooner you can consume the wine the better.  The easiest, no cost and quickest preservation method is to put it in the fridge instead of leaving it out on your counter.  The cold tends to preserve the wine better where if you leave it in a room temperature room the warmth of the room tends to create bacteria and with the oxygen exposure it will lead you to a fast declining wine.  Another option is to pour the leftover wine into a half bottle of 375ml, cork it and store it in the fridge, this way there is less oxygen exposure to spoil the wine.  If you are one of those folks that tends to always have some wine leftover to enjoy later, I would invest a small amount in the Vacu-Vin.  It’s a small plastic piece of equipment with a rubber cork that goes into the bottle and essentially vacuums and pulls the air out of the bottle.  They are easy to find to purchase and you can locate them in a supermarket or local wine shop for cheap money.  I have been using this for years, including storing it in the fridge, and it does a decent job at keeping the wine as close to intact as can be.  Some other wine folks use inert gases like nitrogen or argon that they spray into the opened bottle to replace the oxygen in the bottle with these gases. 

Any one of these options that you choose is much better than just leaving it out at room temperature.  Remember that if you put your wine in the fridge and it’s a red, that you must take it out at least a couple hours before to help bring it back down to room temperature for consumption.  There is nothing enjoyable for me personally drinking a cold red. So explore your options and give your wine some extended life.