How long will opened wine last? Guide to keeping wine fresh
If you're preparing for an online wine tasting and unsure about what you'll do with the opened bottles, here's a quick guide to how you can keep your wines fresh once uncorked:
1) Put the cork back the bottle and put it in the fridge
Your easiest option is to put the cork back in and put it in the fridge - even red wine. The low temperature will slow down the chemical reactions between the wine and air and keep your wine fresher for longer.
Keep time : 1 day - whether you screw the top back on, or ram the cork back in, you still have oxygen in the bottle which will cause oxidisation. One night in the fridge and it should be OK. If you're drinking a red, make sure you take it out of the fridge an hour or so before you want to drink it.
2) Pour it into a smaller container - and put it in the fridge
Pouring your remaining wine into a smaller bottle or flask (and again in the fridge) will reduce the amount of wine in contact with air so reducing oxidation. It might not look as good but you'll be able to keep it for longer.
Any wine remaining after you've poured it into the smallest, closable bottle you can find, can be frozen in an ice-cube tray. These will be great for adding a bit of body and complexity to sauces.
Keep time : 2-3 days
3) Use an air pump to reduce oxidation.
Vacuvin is a fabulous, easy invention that every wine lover needs (I can't stress how useful this thing is!). Just put the rubber stopper on your wine and pump out the oxygen. If you don't yet have one, here's a set with a pump and 4 stoppers which will be enough for all the wines we taste (and for one to get lost in the dishwasher!)
Keep time: at least a week (in the fridge) especially for whites.
4) Invest in a Coravin
This nifty piece of machinery that literally revolutionised wine service in restaurants, pierces the cork, lets you pour just the amount you want and then reseals your wine with a layer of argon. The spongy nature of natural cork ensures it reseals and no air can be let in. This is great for prestigious wines that you want to keep for a long time. Once you bought the device you'll need refills of the gas but your wines can last indefinitely. Just want to savour one glass of that splash-out bottle you bought? This is the solution!
Keep time : As long as you can resist
N.B. The new Coravin Pivot is a cheaper option and lets you keep wines for up to a month without having to put them in the fridge.
What to do with opened Sparkling wine?
Legend has it putting a spoon in the top will keep the bubbles from escaping. I've even tried it myself but the only way to keep the bubbles in a bottle is to use a champagne stopper. It’s good for any type of sparkling wine just that the common name is champagne or Sekt-stopper. The bad news is that even that won't keep your wine fresh for very long. Sparkling wine is best drunk when opened or at the latest the day after.
Top Tip: Use the stopper to close the bottle as soon as you've poured your glass and it will keep fresher for longer.
What happens if I forget? You've gone to bed and left the cork out, leaving all those nice fruity aromas to escape and be replaced with oxidised aromas, your wine will take the highway down the sink...
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