This may come as a shock to some of you, but sometimes you finish the day with leftover wine. I know, I know- it’s hard to believe but it is true. So, for those of you who do have wine left in the bottle at the end of the day, we’re here to help keep it from spoiling.
After a bottle is opened, wine lasts anywhere from 1 day to a month depending on the type, before it starts tasting funky. The average is about 3-5 days. Sparkling wine lasts the least amount of time; fortified wines last the longest. To help keep wine fresh after it’s been opened, you can always try shoving the cork back in. This isn’t a bad option if you’re going to finish the bottle the next day. The cork won’t keep all the air out, but it will help. It’s also a good idea to keep the wine in the refrigerator until you drink it- this slows down the oxidation process. Just make sure to let your reds warm to room temperature before drinking so the flavors aren’t muted from the cold.
One quick PSA: don’t use this option on sparkling wine! The pressure in the bottle will send the cork flying out, which is a little dangerous for anything you have in the fridge. Not that we know from personal experience….
If you want to keep the leftover wine for more than a day, you can try the classic pump. This is an expensive, easy to find option. You put a rubber cork in the bottle and use the pump to extract air from the bottle. When you’re ready to drink, just release the air and remove the cork. Easy-peasy. It is best to drink the wine within a couple days and you definitely want to keep the wine in the fridge, just like with a regular cork.
If you need to keep your wine a little longer, the Private Preserve is a good option. You can get them at a lot of wine and liquor stores or online and they’ll keep wine good for a few weeks. The Private Preserve slows the aging process by forcing oxygen out of the bottle and replacing it with 3 inert gases- carbon dioxide, nitrogen, and argon. These gases are in the air we breathe and are not harmful. When you reopen the wine, the gases dissipate and you can drink your wine just like normal. If you need to re-preserve the wine, you just use the Private Preserve again and you’re good to go.
Private Preserve is a great option because of how long you can keep wine fresh (I’ve done it up to a month) and because it’s pretty inexpensive. It’s less than $20 a can and works for up to 120 uses. You can also use it on decanted wine (just make sure you have a good stopper!) and other types of alcohol. You also store the wine standing up, so you don’t have to worry if storage space is at a premium.
If you need to keep your wine fresh for a loooong time, the Coravin may be your best option. The Coravin pierces the cork, allows wine pour out, and replaces the wine with Argon gas. Once the needle is removed, the cork returns to its normal shape- essentially resealing itself. This can keep wine fresh for years. It can only be used on real corks or twist caps (with a special converter). The twist caps don’t last quite as long as real cork. If you use it on a synthetic cork, it’s just going to puncture a hole in the cork that won’t reseal and then you end up with a smelly puddle on the floor.
The downside to the Coravin is that it is more expensive than the other options and you do have to purchase replacement gas canisters. You may not want to use it on every bottle you drink, but it’s an awesome option for your special bottles that you want to enjoy over a long period. It’s also best to store the wine lying down in a wine refrigerator to keep it fresh longer. Keeping the wine in contact with the cork prevents it from drying out and shrinking, which allows too much oxygen into the bottle. If you can’t store it like this, a cabinet away from heat and light is okay.
Now that you’ve got these options in your pocket, don’t feel like you have to finish a bottle- only do it if that’s what you want to do. And don’t be afraid to break out your nice bottles- they were made for you to drink!