Good practices to better preserve an opened bottle of wine, for longer…
Wine is a lively product that evolves constantly, from its bottling to its tasting.
This evolution, commonly called ‘ageing’, is limited in the bottle due to the very little quantity of air getting into the flask through the closure.
But when you open a bottle, wine is immediately in contact with a significant amount of oxygen, that will rapidly impact its quality.
At first, the wine generally actually gets better after uncorking (or unscrewing). After the bottle is opened, the wine itself opens up too revealing more aromas. But then a few hours or days later depending on each wine, the liquid starts deteriorating slowly until it might eventually become vinegar and/or taste bad.
To limit these negative effects of too much oxygen into the wine and store an opened bottle better for longer, there are a few good practices to know.
Note that you won’t be able to store most wines more that for a few days at best. But compared to simply recorking the bottle and leave it as is, following this advice will certainly help a lot!
1 – Reduce the Contact with Oxygen
Oxygen in the air is the main element responsible for the fact you cannot store an opened bottle for too long. It makes the wine evolve, it makes it appreciable, and finely…it kills it.
When you know this, you know that the first thing to do to better store an opened bottle is to avoid the contact between wine and air as much as possible.
So, the first thing to do is obvious: put a stopper on the bottle before to store it.
It is a good place to start!
But then, let’s see beyond the obvious.
2 – Store in a Vertical Storage Position
Whatever the quantity of wine you drunk, it is very important to store the bottle in vertical position.
The quantity of air in the bottle remains the same, but the effect is different. In a horizontal position, you allow a larger area of contact between the wine and the air than when the bottle is standing upright.
3 – Cool storage
The air is the main element responsible of the evolution of wine, but the temperature has its share of responsibility as well.
The warmer the temperature, the faster the wine will evolve…and die.
Yet, do not put your wine in the freezer!
If frozen, all the enjoyable characteristics of the wine will change dramatically and irreversibly, and this is not the goal. But put it in a fridge as you would do for any food or fruit juice.
This will decrease the speed at which your leftover wine deteriorates.
3- Use a Vacuum Device
A good solution to avoid the contact between air and wine is to vacuum the air out of the empty space left in the bottle.
Many systems allow to do this simply, quickly, and for cheap. Generally, they’re made of a stopper and a manual air pump.
This kind of system cannot remove the totality of the air present in a bottle, they are too weak for that, but they make the air in the empty space less dense with less oxygen left for damaging the wine.
These will nevertheless give you a few additional hours of storage, if not days.
4 – Fill the Bottled with a Neutral Gas
If you want to empty the air of a bottle you have two solutions.
You can either make vacuum into it (as said before). Or you can replace it by another substance.
Given that the goal of the operation is to keep and protect the wine, there is not a lot of possibilities for the type of substance to use.
Gas is the solution. But not any gas. You need a neutral gas.
Like for the vacuum systems, there are many gas injection systems available. Some of them work with gas cartridges. Some others are gas bottles ready to use. Either of them is also easy and fast to use.
5 – Transfer into a Smaller Bottle
If you have a spare and empty smaller bottle (a half bottle for example), you can transfer your leftover wine into it.
Doing so, you will reduce the quantity of air present in the bottle, allowing a better preservation than with the bigger container.
An easy solution!
This guest post was written by Benjamin Le Bourse exclusively for Social Vignerons.