Member Inquiry: Saving the Rest of the Bottle

“We just recently joined the Wine of the Month Club. The selections have been very enjoyable so far, and we are sure they will continue to be. A minor problem. Both my wife and I are unable to finish a bottle of wine in one evening. It is just a bit much for us. Is there a way of saving the left over wines without it changing so much? We hate to waste such good wines!”

J.V. Eureka

Yes, there is!. The old adage “air is the enemy of wine” applies here. The minute you open a bottle of wine, it is immediately exposed to air. An oxidation process starts right then, and it continues until the wine is unpleasant to consume. If there were any acetobacteria in the air, then it also starts turning to vinegar. You need to keep the air away from the wine. The two available methods are to replace the air with another gas or to remove the air completely.

To replace the air, you need to substitute it with another gas that is inert which will not affect the wine. Two such gases are ni­trogen and carbon dioxide. Both gases seem to work equally as well and are very easy to administer. The two products that come to mind that we here at the club have used are Private Preserve and Wine Life. Once you have opened a bottle of wine, simply spray 1-2 seconds worth of the gas into the bottle. Replace the cork. We cur­rently stock Wine Life at $5.95, plus tax and shipping. These prod­ucts will protect your wine from oxidation for 5-10 days depending on temperature, light and vibra­tion.

The other method of wine preservation is removing the air entirely from the bottle. A product that seems very effective with this method is Vacu-Vin. Also readily available, it sells for about $15.00. Vacu-Vin consists of a plunger apparatus and 2 rubber corks. After you have opened the wine secure a rubber cork in the bottle. Attach the plunger apparatus and literally extract all the air out of the bottle forming a vacuum that holds the cork in place. Larry Tepper, one of our wine writers, swears by the Vacu-Vin.

One last method of removing the air from an opened bottle of wine is rather simple but effective, particularly if you like to play with marbles! By adding glass marbles to the partial bottle of wine, you can raise the level of wine to the neck and recork without air. The marbles are reusable though they do require washing and, oh yes, don’t lose your marbles!

Keep that air away from the wine. That’s the idea.

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