Re-cork It Right
The first rule of preserving your wine is to replace the cork correctly. While the “clean” side may seem easier to fit in the bottle, resist. The stained side has already been exposed to the wine, and it tasted fine. That “clean” side may not be so clean, and it can taint what you’re planning to drink in a day or two.
Use Half Bottles
Air flattens your wine, lessening flavors and aromas. To minimize air exposure, use a funnel to pour the remaining vino into a screw-cap half bottle. Even if there’s a little air at the top, it’s far less than in a regular bottle.
It’s amazing how often people will keep leftover wine on the counter after they’ve recorked it. You wouldn’t do that with food, so don’t with wine. The cool temp can’t stop exposed wine from breaking down, but it can slow the process significantly.
Re-cork the wine after every glass pour.
Keep the open wine bottle out of light and stored under room temperature.
Does Wine Need to be Refrigerated?
First of all, does wine go bad? Yes. Wine does not last indefinitely. Bacteria turn the sugar from grapes or the alcohol into vinegar. Bacteria need oxygen to grow. Wine’s fermentation process produces a lot of carbon dioxide when yeasts turn sugars into alcohol, and after that it needs to be sealed. When you uncork the bottle, you expose it to air, oxidizing it, and the flavor begins to deteriorate because of chemistry changes.
How to Know When to Refrigerate Did You Open the Wine Bottle? If you didn’t open the bottle yet, then you don’t need to refrigerate. Average refrigerators are too cold to store wine. If you did open the wine bottle, you can refrigerate it. But it depends on which type it is and how quickly you plan to drink it. Once opened, most wines will stay unspoiled for about a week. However, you should always replace the cork.
Red Wine vs. White Wine Many people refrigerate opened white wine, but keep opened red wine at room temperature. Why? Many wine drinkers agree that red wine tastes better at room temperature. It wouldn’t make sense to chill and rewarm wine before serving, because temperature fluctuations can alter its chemistry and damage the flavor. Expensive red wines, in particular, are even said to improve from a small amount of oxidization. However, putting white wine in the fridge is better than using ice to make it cold, which will dilute your wine.
Sparkling Wine Cold temperatures keep the carbon dioxide in the bubbles from dissipating more quickly. Once opened, sparkling wine should be re-corked and refrigerated – the cork partially re-pressurizes the bottle to keep the bubbles from dissipating.
How Can I Tell if Wine is Bad?
- Cork is leaky or crumbles when you open it
- Wine has cloudy appearance or dusty settlement at the bottom
- Tastes or smells like vinegar
How to Store Longer Than a Few Weeks Wine lasts longer if it’s sealed airtight and stored properly. Especially if the wine is high quality, it can last for years! However, if you’re storing average or cheap wine, it should be drunk within a year or two. Not everyone has a wine cellar, but there are a few tips you can follow to keep it fresh.
- Ideal conditions are a cool, dark place at a constant temperature of 50-55° F.
- Keep away from refrigerators because they generate heat while on.
- Keep bottles on their sides so the cork will continually stay moist and it won’t dry, shrink, or develop any tiny holes. If the cork fails, letting air inside, wine stops aging and starts deteriorating.
- If you have at least a half bottle on wine left over, pour it off into a clean half bottle, cork it, and store in the refrigerator. Without air space at the top, the rebottled wine will keep for up to 1 month.