Oenophiles: Using half-bottles to preserve leftover wine?

Because I’m the only one in the house who drinks wine regularly, a standard 750ml bottle will last about three days. While your typical decent California wine, with regional appellation and costing about ten or thirteen dollars, will still be drinkable after a couple of days, I can still tell that there’s something missing. It isn’t all that it was when I opened the bottle.

In a recent thread about wine, somebody mentioned a strategy for this situation: you buy a half-bottle and drink that, saving the empty bottle. Then next time you open a full bottle, you pour half of it into the empty half-bottle and recork that. Then when you’ve finished using up the remainder in the full bottle, you open the half bottle, fresh and delicious.

Does this work? Has anyone tried it?

Since I’m the one that suggested it, you can image my response. Yes, it works. My BIL (a winemaker and vineyard owner) told me about it.

I suppose one could take this strategy further and get two half-bottles, and immediately distribute the large bottle into both upon uncorking. This would also reduce surface-to-air exposure in the “first” half that you drink.

But you want aeration in the one you are drinking now.

Why bother? Just recork the old bottle and lay the bottle so the cork doesn’t dry out.

Too much air in a half-filled bottle. And laying it on its side is even worse…more surface area exposed.

You do want some aeration in the glass you’re drinking now, that’s why people swirl their glasses. But I’m not sure you want the remainder in the bottle to aerate overnight.

Exactly. It’s not about keeping the cork moist, but about limiting the surface area exposed to the air.

Speaking of corks, I’m seeing more and more decent wine with screwcaps now.

Of course, if you meant if the half bottle was to be finished in the course of a single evening, then yeah, that could conceivably happen and I might not bother using a second small bottle in that case.

Vacu-vins work pretty well, too.

I remember reading an article not too long ago about preserving wine (sorry, don’t remember where it was) and it advocated the half-bottle solution as well, as long as you had a half-bottle to store. If you only had a glass or so, it didn’t do so well.

The key to wine preservation seems to be minimizing contact with the air. I like the vacu-vin because it works with any size bottle and I don’t have to pour the wine into a smaller bottle. But I rarely keep wine longer than a day or two.

I’m having trouble with the concept of “left-over wine.” You pull the cork and throw it away.

Of course, the glasses we use each hold half a bottle. :smiley:

Which is a great shame from an environmental point of view, as the ancient cork forests are a very important habitat in southern Europe. If the bottom falls out of the cork market, then the cork trees will likely be grubbed up and replaced with something more profitable, like golf courses or Starbucks.

(Cork is sustainable, in that you peel off the cork bark and it magically grows back, without harming the tree).

For an elegant solution (and possibly easier to keep clean than an old half bottle):

Wine for Later Decanter Set

They work great, although I’m usually in silenus’s camp: “Leftover wine? What’s that?” :slight_smile:

It works, but not as well as a vacu-vin or some other preservation device. The wine wil not be ‘fresh and delicious’ though, it might just be slightly less oxidized than if it were stored in a 750 ml with just a cork, that’s about it.
I’ll suggest again a can of gas and a stainless steel cork. Best bet for the money.

I’ve got all kinds of wine gizmos around here, including 375 ml bottles, various kinds of corks and stoppers, etc.

Maybe this weekend I’ll conduct a test on 3 or 4 different preservation methods and report back.

I recently read a bunch of back issues of Cook’s Illustrated magazine, and one of them had an article on this subject. They tried various methods and devices for preserving that half bottle of wine, and the easiest and best method they found was cheap and simple, though not classy looking. You merely pour the remaining wine into a clean, plastic water bottle (you know, like Dasani or you could even use a Pepsi bottle…just one of those plastic disposable bottles) squeeze it down to force out the extra air, and put the plastic screw-cap back on. Inexpensive, handy, and in their testing it did a better job of preserving the wine that the pricier solutions, and they specifically said it worked better than a Vacu-vin. . So try that during your weekend experiment. It doesn’t look as pretty, but hey, it’s just for you, so who cares?

Amateur. These each hold a full bottle.

In the UK you can buy bottles containing a single serving, ie 250 ml of wine. I’ve kept several bottles which I use to store leftover wine from large bottles.

Vacu-vin? is that one of those pumps that sucks out air from the bottle? I tried one of those and the wine still tasted bad the next day.

You probably are filling those glasses too full. If you’re using those big bulbous globular glasses, I recommend not filling them more than halfway, in order to “leave room for the nose”, as I like to say.

Nope. My favorite wine glass is a Sierra Nevada snifter. Holds half a bottle with plenty of room for the nose. My wife usually pours into these, which also have a nice capacity. :smiley: