I need to make a confession. Sometimes, I open a bottle, and —don’t gasp here—I don’t finish it. It’s true. Sometimes, I even only drink one glass. Realistically, sometimes you just want a glass or two. Or sometimes, you want to open a red and a white with dinner. Either way, you can finish it tomorrow night or the next day, right?
Well, maybe. Tomorrow, the wine likely won’t taste as good. Honestly. And while some people rave about reds that drink better after a day or two—and that can happen—the truth is that once wine is exposed to oxygen, it begins to deteriorate. That deterioration after a day or two can be really noticeable, especially in white wines.
Over the years, a number of systems have promised magic results. Professionals swear by high end systems, but consumer-level wine lovers all have their favorite technique, from complicated stoppers to empty 375ml bottles, but none really do the job very well. While the Coravin is a terrific—and reliable—way to preserve wines, it’s an expensive option for many wine lovers. And, honestly, by the time you get down to half a bottle, it’s impractical as well.
Affordable solutions are out there but they can be confusing. Want to know more about how they work? Here are three home-friendly preservation options that won’t break the bank. Try all three and see which works best for you!
When I saw them, I was skeptical. How could a plastic wine stopper work? But this stopper is filled with material that absorbs oxygen from the bottle. Concealed at the bottom is a foil seal. Once you remove it and use it to cork your wine, it goes to work filtering oxygen from the air in the bottle. Determined to give it a chance, I plunked one into a half empty bottle of 2018 Rochioli Chardonnay, hoping for the best, and was stunned the next day! The wine was fresh and nearly close to the quality of the original pour. Each stopper is designed to filter oxygen from a standard 750 ml bottle. You toss it when you’re done. ($9 for a 4-pack)
If systems like the Coravin are new, then the Vacu Vin wine pump is the grand-daddy of home wine preservation systems. These work on the principle that you can vacuum seal a bottle of wine using a specially-designed rubber stopper. You simply put the rubber stopper in the half empty bottle and pump the air out. You’ll periodically need to purchase additional rubber stoppers as they get lost or lose their seal over time. The Vacu Vin gives a wine an extra day or two, but you won’t find the original freshness. Still, for the money and the results, every wine lover should have one of these handy. ($15 with 2 stoppers)
The idea of inert gas for wine preservation is a sound one. Since oxygen exposure is the problem, why not pump oxygen-free gasses into wine to replace it? With Private Preserve, you simply hold your cork at the ready, then using the nozzle extension, spray compressed inert gas into the bottle, then recork it. Results can be tricky, but it generally works, and yields better results with reds than whites. Many liquor drinkers swear by inert gasses like Private Preserve for spraying into their highly prized single malts or Bourbons for long keeping. It’s worth adding to your home wine kit for those times when it’s just the solution. ($10)