Your favorite wine is staring at you after a hard day of work. That glass of Pinot Noir would be perfect with the truffle pasta you’re making, but that little voice in your head pipes in and reminds you that you won’t be able to finish the bottle. So it stays another 3 months in your cabinet because you don’t want to waste it…and fair enough! Most wines are good for 1-3 days after you open them, depending on the age, complexity, and the way it’s stored.
Although it won’t be harmful to drink, the introduction of air will slowly oxidize the wine. You can tell if it’s been open too long when the wine loses the fresh fruit aromas and feels disjointed and lifeless. Sad. (In small doses with young wine, air can “open up” the aromas and soften the texture. To learn more, click here.)
Lucky for us, wine preservation technology has seen some serious advancements. Wine-lovers now have many options available, from recorking the wine to a tine needle that slips through the cork and extracts a glass of wine. Here we will explore a few of our favorites. Spoiler alerts: sommeliers are loving at least one of these right now!
This is the ancient method of placing the cork back in the bottle after it’s been opened. There is a plethora of cutsie bottle stoppers that basically do the same thing, but if the cork fits, it’ll do!
Why we like it: It’s cheap
Pitfalls: This method will slow the oxidation process only somewhat when kept in a dark, cool place. Nonetheless, the oxygen still in the bottle will do its work.
How long it lasts: 1-4 days
2. Vacuum pump
This system became popular as premium wines rose in popularity in the 1990’s. The device “pumps” out the oxygen and then uses a stopper to prevent new oxygen from entering the bottle.
Why we like it: They are relatively easy to find and don’t require much expertise to use.
Pitfalls: Although better than the “Re-Cork” method, your window of happy drinking is still small.
How long it lasts: 1-7 days
Invented within the last decade, this device became popular with connoisseurs because it allows them to extract a small amount of wine without opening the bottle. It works with a tiny needle that pierces the cork and pours wine directly into another vessel (usually a wine glass). The same device then pumps argon gas into the bottle to prevent it from filling up with oxygen.
Why we like it: This works rather well as a by the glass system at home. It lasts significantly longer than any method that involves opening the bottle, so you can slowly enjoy a great bottle over a couple of weeks.
Pitfalls: For starters, it’s pricey. The device itself starts around $200 and requires frequent purchases of the argon gas canisters, which can add up quickly. Furthermore, it only works on a natural cork, as it relies on the natural expansion of the cork to re-seal the hole that the needle created. Finally, it is rather inconsistent. It works about 80% of the time, but you potentially won’t know how your bottle took to the method until it’s too late.
How long it lasts: 2 days-1 month. Non-oxidative varietals, such as Riesling, seem to work better. Also, the wine should be kept on its side and temperature-controlled for best results.
This is a popular new tool that can easily be found online. It works like a bottle stopper but is filled with argon gas. You simply fit the device into the mouth of an open bottle, as you would a cork.
Why we like it: So far, sommeliers are giving great feedback because it lasts longer than any other method and is less expensive than the Coravin. It’s also very easy to use.
Pitfalls: The Re-Pour is a single-use item that cannot be recycled. We really don’t love this part. They are currently working on a wholesale recycling program, but have not yet found a solution for home use. Like the Coravin, some wines just don’t seem to respond well. However, it seems to be much more consistent overall. One sommelier claimed that it works about 80% of the time perfectly, 18% of the time it will smell oxidized but then taste fine, and 2% it’s a dud.
How long it lasts: 1 day-2 months. It should replace the cork as soon as possible and is stored upright. Note that it is designed for single-bottle use only.