Keeping Your Opened Wine Fresher Longer

It is not always practical to finish every bottle of wine the same time that you open it. Maybe you just want one glass when you come home from work, or during a dinner party, there was a special bottle that you wanted some people to taste. Whatever the reason, now that the bottle is open, you are working against time to make sure that the wine stays fresh.

It might seem like an oxymoron to some people that prolonged exposure to the air is going to be bad for the wine. After all, wine is supposed to breathe. Surely if a little air is good for wine, then a lot of air would be better, right? Wrong. While it is certainly important for certain wines to breathe when they are first opened – so much so that they should be decanted – in order for their full flavor to open up, the air will continue to mix with the wine the longer it can. There is not some point in the process where the mingling stops, at least not one that results in a good wine.

The good news is that you are looking at a time frame of four to five days at the very least. If you keep the wine corked and in a cool dark location, that bottle you opened after work on Tuesday should still be fine when you are having dinner on Friday night. White wines tend to last a little bit longer than red wines, simply because they are being chilled, but this presents a different issue to pay attention to when storing the wine. Temperature fluctuation can damage a wine just as much as over-oxygenation can. If you normally pull your white wine out of the fridge and set it out for 30 minutes so it reaches a higher temperature, constantly shuttling it back and forth between the counter top and the refrigerator will result in an uneven wine. Better to keep it in the fridge the whole time, or find half bottles of your favorite white varietal so they do not stay opened as long.

If you know that the bottle of red you opened is going to stay that way for several days, if not a couple of weeks or more, you might want to make the small investment in rubber stoppers. These devices fit in the top of the bottle like a cork, and they come with a manual pump that draws the air out of the bottle. By creating a vacuum inside the bottle, this helps to increase the longevity of the wine. These specialty stoppers, available online or at a wine store, are normally only a few dollars and are definitely worth the investment. All it takes is saving one good bottle of Cabernet or Merlot to know that it was money well spent.

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