While wine can last for years when properly stored, the clock begins ticking as soon as you open a bottle of wine. Why? When wine is exposed to oxygen, a series of chemical reactions occur that change the wine. If it is not stored properly, it can go bad overnight. However, there are several ways to store wine after opening a bottle that increase its life span.
How to Store Opened Wine
Refrigerate the Opened Wine
The easiest way to store opened wine is to simply recork it and put it in the refrigerator. Store opened wine bottles upright to reduce the surface area of the wine exposed to oxygen. Yes, even red wine should go in the refrigerator after it is opened. The cool temperature and lack of light will slow down the wine’s oxidation process. I take it a step further and use the Savino Connoisseur Wine Saving Carafe. This glass carafe has a patented technology that keeps wine fresh for up to a week. I put it to the test with some leftover wine by putting half into the Savino Connoisseur and leaving half in a bottle at room temperature. After a week, the wine stored in the Savino was still fresh, while the wine left at room temperature was undrinkable. Some people swear by vacuum pump wine savers, but I find them too much trouble and to be unreliable.
Use a Coravin
If you like to taste different wines or pair different courses with different wines at home, you need a Coravin. The Coravin wine preservation system is the ultimate way to preserve wine. By using a Coravin, you never actually open the bottle and remove the cork. Instead, a delicate needle pierces the cork. After you press the button, the Coravin draws out the wine and replaces it with a neutral gas. There’s no exposure to oxygen. Remove the Coravin, and the cork seals itself up again.
I interviewed Greg Lambrecht, the founder of Coravin, who told me that he has done countless trials with the world’s top wine tasters and winemakers. No one could reliably tell which wine had been opened years before with Coravin and which wine was freshly opened. You can consider it the ultimate at-home wines-by-the-glass program.
How to Store Opened Champagne and Sparkling Wine
Sparkling wine is more difficult to store once it’s opened, but there are ways to extend its life. The best way is to use the Coravin Sparkling. Unfortunately, due to the bubbly nature of sparkling wine, the original Coravin does not work. But the Coravin Sparkling is well worth the money if you drink sparkling wine regularly. It keeps the bubbles and freshness for up to a month. You can read my full review and see a video of how to use it here.
Sparkling Wine Saver
If you don’t drink Champagne regularly, buy a high-quality sparkling wine saver. I have a fantastic one from Dom Pérignon and also recommend Le Creuset’s Champagne Crown Sealer. If you’re in a pinch, you can cover the top of the bottle with plastic wrap and secure it tightly with a rubber band. (It actually works for a day or two.) Most importantly, do not open and close the Champagne stopper frequently. Every time you do, you’ll lose some of the fizz, and there’s truly nothing worse than flat Champagne. If you don’t keep opening it, it will last longer. I once forgot about a bottle of Champagne in my fridge for nearly a week that I’d stored with a regular stopper, and it was still bubbly after all that time.