When my wife and I open a bottle of wine for dinner, we rarely drink the whole bottle. I have been told that an opened bottle of wine will not keep until the next day. But recently I’ve seen an ad for a gadget which supposedly preserves the wine so that it is as good the second day as it was the first. It consists of a rubber cork-like plug that you put in the half-full bottle and a black pump-like gadget that you then put over the plug to syphon out all the air leaving the wine in a vacuum state that preserves its taste. Has anyone tried this gadget? Does it work? Is there anything better? Or should we just finish off the bottle of wine?
1: Finish bottle
2: The system you espouse works well, it is the oxygen that turns wine.
In Australia now we are almost exclusively using screw tops, solves the problem.
A half-opened bottle of wine will keep just fine in the refrigerator for a day or two. My personal opinion (I am not an Oenologist) is that such gadgets are not worth the cost.
Or you could invite me over to help finish the rest of that bottle. Problem solved.
Screw tops? Heretic! Non-corkist!
Screw tops, generally, preserve wine better than cork.
Oh, and screw tops don’t solve the problem of air getting into the wine bottle upon opening.
Screw tops rock, no more corking of my wines! Sucks to buy a nice bottle and then to open and find it tainted.
I use the system described in the OP and it works great. Although I have to admit it’s usually for the 2nd bottle of wine, not the first.
If it’s white wine, though, I usually just re-cork it and put it in the fridge. It’ll be fine for a day or two.
Some red wines actually benefit from being left open for as much as a day, so it really depends on the wine.
But, all things being equal, use the rubber vacuum sealer thing-- it’ll keep your wine good for as much as a week. But if you keep it that long, it might make sense to check it after a few days to make sure the vacuum is still intact.
My parents swear by these systems; in fact, they have two of them so that they can have two bottles open at the same time and not imbibe at a rate faster than they like. (Both of them are of fairly slight build, so I can understand their desire not to finish a bottle between the two of them in a sitting.)
Screw tops don’t remove the air that gets in the bottle after opening, something these devices purport to do. I have one that’s a sorta plastic stopper, with a lever on the top that vacuum seals the top on, but no vacuum is created inside. It just limits air from recycling inside and is more elegant than jamming the cork back in. Don’t know if these devices are significantly better than mine. I’m sure a cheap one will work, no need to buy the one that advertises.
Screw tops are nice, but they suck when you end up jamming a corkscrew through the top because you’re too unobservant/drunk to notice :smack: (I sometimes don’t take the foil off when removing corks.)
MikeS, don’t these come with multiple stoppers? And you can buy more without having to buy the vacuum pump?
Just finish the bottle, you sissy-mary!
They are. The device you have doesn’t preserve at all in my experience. Using a vacuum device will keep the wine for days without any noticeable change. Yes they come with multiple stoppers. I think ours came with four originally but we are down to about two now, having lost some over the years.
As thelurkinghorror notes, screw tops don’t remove the air within the ullage, the space between the bottom of the closure and the top of the fluid. I’ve had mixed success with vacuum type closures, and instead pour off the wine into an empty half bottle. Any space remaining, I address by dropping a glass marble or two into the bottle. Recork with the cork from the big bottle and problem solved for quite some time.
Screw tops are delightful for nearly eliminating cork taint, though why the industry hasn’t just gone to crown cap closures (like on beer bottles) I have no idea. If they’re good enough to develop champagne en tirage, then they should be good enough for aging and developing still wines.
I question this. Removing air and other heroic measures no doubt make sense for multi-day preservation, but I’ve not run across a wine that is bad after a mere 24 hours. (And in my house, wine is rarely called upon to last longer than that.)
I fully agree that it’s sensible not to leave the bottle unstoppered.
Learned a new word today. I’m not sure how often that will come up in the future
Wine probably hasn’t gone to screw tops for the same reason that beer hasn’t gone to cans, as Cecil’s newest column addresses briefly. Namely a semi-snobby residual belief in what’s proper, alone with an unwillingness to taint your brand with the same container as the cheap stuff.
Not here in Australia. Here, expensive wines come in screw tops. Cheap wine comes with corks.
It has been quite clever really: for years winemakers wanted to go to screw tops because they knew they were better, but I think they were concerned about snobbery as you suggest. Then they seemed to hit upon the idea that if they sold their undeniably good wines in screwtops they could invert the imagery. They have sold the idea that “corks are for wine so bad you don’t care if some of it spoils, screwtops are for the stuff precious enough that we don’t want any to get wasted”.
I’ve tried every different method of preserving wine out there, and the one thing that works the best is to just put the wine in the fridge. Both red and white will stay good several days that way, without any fancy recorkers or vacuum sealers or anything like that.
Isn’t it important to get some air flow through the cork for high end wines? Making screw tops generally better, but not always.
Only those wines that are designed to age for decades. Since roughly 95% of the wine produced in the world is designed to be drunk within a year or so of bottling, screw caps are the way to go. Everybody but the everyday consumer knows that.
I use a plastic stopper similar to this one. When you fold it over and snap it shut, a rubber ring expands at the bottom and makes a nice seal. I find it keeps the wine good for a couple of days before the taste goes off, but I’m not a huge wine snob so I may not be the best judge of that. Works great for my needs, though.
No, you don’t want air to get past the cork at all. (I’ll mention the wiki on ullage, but from memory, I disagree with its contention that additional oxygen is necessary for aging/good development in cellar. Development at the winery, sure, but not after bottling. Now to track down a cite for that contention…) The additional atmospheric oxygen accelerates oxidation, which usually is a bad thing. That’s the reason behind some wine collectors’ monomaniacal insistence on consistent aging temperatures. They don’t want wide, fast swings in temperature which would cause the wine to expand and contract, helping to draw air past the cork.
(It also can lead to a mess in the case of German wines, which for some reason are filled with practically no ullage to begin with. Take them from their 10 degrees C cellar, put them in a 25 C truck/shipping container, and you often end up with a sticky wine dribbling mess.)
The conservative insistence on using cork for aging stems from we simply have a lot of data on how wines age that are sealed with cork. When your experimental trial takes e.g. 20+ years to run (the time required for aging Port), it takes awhile to get good data on how and what the differences are between wines aged with cork vs. screwcap or Stelvin vs. crown cap. And when the wine costs upwards of $1000 a bottle, buyers want to know if the wine will age similarly (and therefore hold its value) to vintages past. Here’s an interesting article claiming that Penfolds is evaluating over the next 20 years whether to use screwcaps for sealing bottles of their flagship Grange Hermitage.
I only mention crown cap because that’s how the bottles are sealed for Champagne that is aged on lees before disgorgement and addition of dosage. Most wine is not aged on its yeast/lees for years, and perhaps the unique conditions of lees aging lend itself to crown caps, whereas they wouldn’t for aging a red or white still wine.
And, what silenus said. Although I’d bump the percentage up to 99% or higher, if we’re talking by volume; it’s just that the remaining 1% makes up most of the news and fond memories.
An informal study on evaluating screwcapped wine vs corked wine over a two year aging period can be found here. (PDF warning)
I found the study interesting, but again, IMHO, two years really isn’t going to give you much information regarding a wine’s age-ability over 20+ years. Many German wines, (especially those of J.J. Prum) are bottled with enough SO2 to require waiting two years or more after bottling, in order to lose some of their sulfur aroma. IIRC, the book on many Pinot Noir based wines is that you need to wait longer than 7 years before you starting getting the lovely secondary aromas from wines like premier cru Burgundy. So two years, while it’s nice to have those data points, may not be that helpful in deciding whether to use screwcap or cork