What to Do When You Don’t Finish a Bottle

wineopener.jpgFor any number of reasons, not every bottle of wine gets finished in a single sitting. That means we need an effective way of saving and storing open bottles for finishing later.

Here are a few suggestions to make sure that leftover wine goes down your throat, and not down the drain…

Once a bottle of wine has been uncorked… or unscrewed, as more and more wineries embrace screw caps… the wine’s aging process accelerates.

This can be mitigated to some degree by immediately re-sealing the bottle after pouring the wine into glasses, or by using one of several products on the market that utilizes certain processes to return the wine to its “unopened” state.

But in our experience, the wine still loses “something” even when such products are used, whether it’s the strength of its aroma or its freshness on the palate. Thus, don’t plan on keeping an opened bottle more than a few days, because with each passing hour, it will lose a little bit of its personality, or what we like to call its “oomph.”

Some urge against it, but it’s perfectly fine to put the re-sealed bottle in the refrigerator for a day (no more). Just be sure to take it out at least an hour before reopening and pouring it the next day.

Older wines will “devolve” more quickly than younger ones, so keep that in mind as well.

If we had to commit to a specific time frame, we’d strongly suggest finishing off any bottle within three days of its first opening. When it comes to an opened bottle of wine, “the sooner the better” is a good rule of thumb.

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Posted in Wine FAQ, Wine Tips
One comment on “What to Do When You Don’t Finish a Bottle
  1. Bob Henry says:

    Excerpt from the San Francisco Chronicle “Food & Wine” Section
    (December 14, 2007, Page Unknown):

    “Can this [Opened Bottle of] Wine Be Saved?;
    Methods of preserving an open bottle;
    What to do with that open bottle of wine?
    Every expert has a theory.”

    URL: http://www.sfgate.com/wine/article/Can-this-wine-be-saved-Methods-of-preserving-an-3232805.php

    By Janet Fletcher
    Special to The Chronicle


    Vacuum preservation
    — Pro: pump out air, theoretically slowing oxidation
    — Con: loss of esters, wine’s aromatic compounds

    Inert-gas preservation
    — Pro: easy to use; displaces some air, theoretically slowing oxidation
    — Con: consumer devices merely dilute the oxygen; they don’t completely remove it, so oxidation potential remains

    Decanting into smaller bottles
    — Pro: minimizes headspace; low cost
    — Con: decanting introduces oxygen
    — Pro: easy and inexpensive; dramatically slows oxidation
    — Con: inconvenient; precipitates tartrate crystals; extreme cold makes oxygen more soluble

    Displacement with marbles
    — Pro: inexpensive; does not introduce oxygen
    — Con: tedious; must keep marbles clean; subject to ridicule; some oxygen

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