Everyone's had a sip of wine that's been open too long. What's the secret to keep wine fresh after opening? There are actually a few proven tricks to storing opened wine. These tips can help extend a wine's life so you can enjoy a bottle at your leisure.
1. Use vacuum pumps.
Wine breaks down through oxidation. One of the best protections for storing open wine is to pump the oxygen out of the bottle and leave a vacuum remaining. A vacuum pump is very effective and sold at many stores. It won't create a true vacuum, but it will create one that's 70% effective.
2. Keep open wine in a dark place.
Natural light spurs heat inside the bottle. That makes the oxidation process happen faster. This is one reason red wines often come in darkly tinted bottles. It helps protect what's inside from light. It doesn't have to be an absolutely dark place, but this is one reason why wines are best stored inside a cupboard, in a recessed wine rack, or in a wine fridge.
3. Refrigerate wine.
Storing your wine in cool temperatures slows the oxidation process down. A wine fridge is ideal because it keeps wines at an even temperature without becoming too cold. This keeps the wine closer to serving temperature than a normal fridge would.
4. Know its shelf life.
This won't extend the life of your wine, but it will ensure you drink it before it starts turning off. Sparkling wine will go most quickly, at 1-3 days time. Red wine lasts 3-5 days. White wines can last anywhere from 3-7 days, with lighter bodied wines and rosés lasting the longest. Fortified wines can last about a month.
5. Wine stoppers can help.
No, Wine Stoppers isn't a covert organization dedicated to stopping your enjoyment of wine. Wine stoppers are anything that helps create an airtight seal over the bottle. Ones that use soft flanges will work best.
6. Use wine shields.
These are soft plastic shields that you can fold and slip into a bottle of wine. They have air bubbles in the plastic, so that when they unfold, they float at the surface of the wine. This provides a floating cover that separates the wine from the air in the bottle. It moves to the side as you pour, because it wants to float on the upper surface of the wine.
7. Inert gas?
If you really want to get high tech, you can replace the oxygen in the bottle with an inert gas like argon. This keeps wine fresh after opening because argon doesn't react to the wine like oxygen does. It will cover the surface of the wine, creating an unseen layer between the wine and the oxygen. Make sure you seal the bottle at the top so the argon isn't tempted to escape over time.
Next time you enjoy a glass of your favorite wine, try one of these methods to keep it fresh.