How to Preserve Opened Bottles of Wine
In a previous post I wrote about how to use marbles and the vacu vin pump to preserve open wine. In a terrific Globe & Mail video (shown above but now removed) Beppi Crosariol demonstrates the following additional approaches:
- Using the Inert Argon Gas: I had used the inert argon gas method in the past with mixed results. Until I watched the video, I didn’t fully understand how to use it or why/how it worked. I didn’t understand, for example, that argon is heavier than air. It doesn’t fill the bottle. Rather it covers the wine like a blanket. Because it sinks down to the wine, you don’t need to worry about it leaking out of the top as you re-cork the bottle. Place the straw against the inside neck of the bottle. Spray for one second followed by a few short bursts. Reseal with any cork. This should keep the wine for up to three weeks. These argon bottles cost between $12-$15 ($8ish in the U.S.) and can be found at most liquor stores (click here to purchase argon gas on Amazon.com). Note: To keep the ‘blanket of argon’ over the wine (and away from the air in the bottle above the blanket), you’ll want to make sure you don’t shake/bump the wine too much while being stored – so keeping it in the fridge door probably is not a good idea.
- Small Wine Bottles: Pour the remains of a big bottle of wine into a smaller wine bottle. Then recork. If you fill the smaller bottle, there will be no (or very little) air left in the bottle to react with the wine. The wine will keep indefinitely.
- Plastic Water Bottles: If you don’t have small wine bottles handy you can use a small plastic water bottle in a pinch. Inelegant, but functional. He implies that using plastic will limit the life of the wine to 5 days. I’ll need to test this out.
- Storing in Fridge: This is a tough sell for me with reds. Nothing destroys the taste of a good red wine more than drinking it cold. But, the cold impedes chemical reactions that destroy wine. Just remember to remove it from the fridge 3 to 4 hours before serving. Ideally you’d use one of the methods described above before storing the result in the fridge.
- Vacu Vin Pump Method: See my post here for a discussion of the vacu vin pump.
I have used the vacu vin pump method for years. But, as Beppi points out, removing the oxygen with the pump also removes flavor. Also, I can attest to the fact that this technique only really saves the wine for a couple days.