Question from Anne: We can’t always finish the bottle over dinner and the left-over wine never seems to taste as good. Can you give me some advice about how to keep open wine?
Reply: Hi, Anne! Thanks for writing! This is one of those questions I have to think about for a few minutes because the concept of left-over wine is kinda foreign around here! So, this is hypothetical, but we understand there are some viable options…
Actually, it’s always a treat to find out there’s a little wine left after a dinner party to help sustain you through clean-up. And, finishing it up is one of your best options unless, of course, you’ll be driving or you’re just plain wined-out (another exotic notion).
It’s true that time makes the open wine seem faded or dull. If you wait long enough, it will become downright offensive (but not harmful)! The culprit is the oxygen, so it’s an easy problem to solve.
If it’s possible to get back to it within a couple of days it should be okay (sometimes young reds taste better the next day!).
If it’s going to be more than a day or two:
Move the wine to a smaller bottle to eliminate the head space. I keep clean half bottles and beer bottles on hand. This is my favorite method because it doesn’t cost anything and, if the bottle’s full and refrigerated, it works! Too tired to do this after the party’s over? At least refrigerate the wine and it will probably keep for a couple of days.
Purchase a vacuum pump, which extracts the oxygen from the head space, or a can of inert gas, which displaces it, at a wine shop or from an online wine accessories site (the best known brands are the VacuVin pump or Private Preserve gas).
Use it for cooking – keeping in mind that whatever the wine tastes like is the flavor you’re adding to your food.
Start your own special batch of wine vinegar!
Call the neighbors – you’ll become very popular! Cheers!