What is the best way to preserve an open bottle of wine?
This is a question that I have always answered but have never written about. Read on to know the answer. Specifically, I will discuss the two main methods of wine preservation (the vacuum pump method and the inert gas method) and the method I personally use to preserve wines.
The Two Methods of Wine Preservation
Have you ever succeeded in drinking an entire bottle of an older Sauterne in one sitting? Good for you, if you have. I myself haven’t been able to do that yet. As this is wine that I don’t drink all that often, I naturally want to preserve whatever’s left in the bottle. Like me, you also probably need a way to preserve wine you can’t drink in one sitting. Otherwise, you’ll be wasting a lot of wines. The alternative – drinking and enjoying wine only when you have company – is not something true wine lovers would ever consider.
There are several wine accessories out there that can help you preserve an open wine bottle. The wine accessories or wine-saving products from Vacu Vin are probably the most commonly used. To use the vacuum wine saver, place the vacuum wine stopper in the opening of the wine bottle. This will pump out the air and create a vacuum inside the wine bottle, thereby halting the oxidation process or reducing the rate of oxidation.
There are also inert gas wine preservers. In this case, inert gas is pumped into the open wine bottle. The inert gas is heavier than air, so it successfully replaces the air inside the bottle and “blankets” the wine. After pumping the inert gas into the bottle, put the wine cork back on and you will be all set.
The Best Wine Preserver
I know that some of you are thinking, “I do not wish to purchase an expensive wine accessory just to preserve my wines.” Well then, I have great news for you. Using inert gas is probably the cheapest method of preserving wine.
You do not need to buy a refrigerated inert gas dispenser! There’s a much simpler and inexpensive alternative. For only $12 USD, you can buy a can of Private Preserve – “the original inert gas preserver” – and get up to 120 uses per bottle. You can use this inert gas wine preserver not only to preserve wines but also to preserve ports, whiskeys, olive oil, and any other bottled product. This inert gas wine preserver is what I personally use because, in my opinion, it works better than the vacuum pump and has no harmful consequences.
I believe that the vacuum pump method preserves wine only temporarily. Sucking air out of an open bottle of wine and creating a vacuum seal should be good only for a day or two; the air will eventually make its way back in. In contrast, Private Preserve lets me preserve wine for a long period of time. Some of my bottles have been open for months, but I have been able to successfully preserve them with inert gas.
[One word of advice: Make sure that the wine cork you use does not breathe. If you put your cork screw all the way thru the cork when you opened the wine bottle, you shouldn’t use that same wine cork to reseal your wine bottle. If you do, air would seep back in. Do keep that in mind the next time you open a wine bottle.]
The use of the vacuum pump method may also have an unintended and undesirable effect; it is generally believed that repetitively sucking the air out of the same wine bottle will eventually suck out the bouquet and aromas of the wine in that bottle. There are no such issues if you use the inert gas wine preserver.
Finally, preserving wines through the vacuum pump method can be expensive in the long run; the vacuum wine stopper needs to be replaced at least once a year if it is to work at maximum efficiency. On the other hand (and as already mentioned above), Private Preserve costs below 10 bucks and can be used a total of 120 times.
Private Preserve is truly the inexpensive, practical and effective way of preserving open bottles of wine – and only a tête de mule wouldn’t give Private Preserve a try!