How to Keep Wine After Being Opened

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Once you open a bottle of wine, it can actually improve in flavor over the next few hours as it mixes with the oxygen in the air. However, after a longer period of time, oxygenation will turn the flavor dull. Learn how to keep the remaining wine you don’t drink from an open bottle as fresh as possible.

Method 1:Sealing and Storing Wine

(1)Cork the bottle. Close a bottle of wine after pouring individual glasses from it. Use the cork that the bottle came with, or a reusable wine stopper.Re-cork properly by inserting the cork into the bottle in the same direction as when you pulled it out. Avoid putting the “clean” side of the cork into the bottle facing the wine, even if it seems easier to do so, as it may not be clean and could in fact contaminate the wine.If you don’t have a cork or stopper available to seal your wine bottle, use a small piece of plastic wrap to cover the mouth of the bottle, then secure with a rubber band.

(2)Stick a bottle in a chiller or fridge. Put any leftover wine in a bottle into a wine chiller or the refrigerator. Keep most wine for a few days this way.Don’t store the wine bottle horizontally on its side once opened, whether on a rack or in the refrigerator. This will expose a greater surface area of the wine to oxygen.Note that keeping wine in the refrigerator will not keep it from going bad, but it can slow down the chemical process responsible for making the wine lose its flavor.

(3)Avoid heat and light. Keep an opened wine bottle away from direct sunlight and high heat. Favor cool, dark areas or a fridge.Avoid storage in temperatures above 70° F. Also keep the wine away from a window to prevent heating and discoloration from the sun.When taking leftover red wine out of storage in the fridge or other cool place, let it warm up gradually. Place the bottle in lukewarm water, or simply bring it out of the fridge about an hour before serving.

Method 2:Removing or Replacing Oxygen from Wine

(1)Transfer to a half bottle. Pour your leftover wine into a half-size wine bottle and seal. This will reduce the surface area of the wine that’s exposed to oxygen, slowing the aging process.Make sure your half bottle of leftover wine is sealed tightly with an appropriate cork, stopper, or screw-top.Save empty half bottles, which you can often find when buying dessert wines, and reuse over and over again for this purpose.If you don’t have any half bottles on hand, you can use another small glass container that seals tightly.

(2)Purchase a vacuum pump. Buy a vacuum cap system for wine, which removes the oxygen from inside the bottle. Potentially lengthen the freshness of leftover wine in this way.You may want to invest in this device if you frequently have opened bottles of wine to keep, or drink varieties particularly prone to oxygenating, like full-bodied white wines such as oaked Chardonnay or Viognier.Note that there is some disagreement about the effectiveness of wine vacuums. Some say that the oxygen removal is only partial, or it can actually damage the flavor of the wine due to extracting its aromas as well as the oxygen.

(3)Invest in an inert gas system. Replace the oxygen in an opened bottle of wine with an inert gas, most commonly Argon. You can buy a device for this purpose from wine retailers.Try an aerosol spray for an inexpensive option, or a more sophisticated system like the Coravin.Invest in this system if you’re a wine connoisseur who frequently needs to keep open bottles, as in a restaurant or other serving setting.