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Keeping Opened Wine Fresh

Posted on: August 20th, 2011 by Tom Peiffer No Comments

Can’t finish a bottle in one sitting? Have a bunch of partial bottles left over from a tasting party? Unfortunately, you can’t just put the corks back in and expect the wine to be as good later as it is right now.

This is because exposure to oxygen in the air can ruin wine in a day. Oxygen quickly combines with many of the ingredients in wine that provide flavor, effectively destroying (oxidizing) them. People in the winery business are keenly aware of this problem and take extensive precautions to make sure that their storage containers containing wine worth $1000’s doesn’t get trashed.

There are a couple ways to do this. One is to suck out all of the air from the container and the other is to replace the air with a type of gas that will not affect the wine. Of course, products that use both of these options are available to consumers today, but they don’t all yield the same result.

For many years, we used gadgets that “pull a partial vacuum” on the bottle by using a little pump to remove as much of the air as possible. A special stopper keeps air from getting back in after your arm gets tired of pumping. However, people soon became aware that the lower air pressure pulled some of the bouquet and flavor from the wine, so when the bottle is opened, many of the wine’s best components have simply vanished.

Eventually someone saw an opportunity to sell a cheap version of the system that is used in wineries to keep the wine from oxidizing by replacing the oxygen with another gas. These “inert gases” do not react with the wine, but some of the flavors still evaporate from the wine into the gas. This made it more effective to use heavy gasses that settle down and form an invisible layer just above the surface of the liquid. This “protective blanket” slows down the escape of the flavors for a week or two.

Canisters of this gas, available at Total Wine for $9.99, utilize a long tube on the end to force the gas down to the surface of the wine that is left in the bottle. Put some gas in, cork it up and it will last for days before losing its flavors.

FYI- Pinot Noir loses its “magic” the fastest no matter what. Gas it, put it in the fridge, let it warm before drinking, and finish it ASAP.

Article by Tom Peiffer, Phoenix Wine Shopping Examiner at Examiner.com

View more of Tom’s articles on Examiner.com by visiting his writer’s page.

About the Author - Tom Peiffer

Tom has been an avid wine consumer and collector for over 20 years. This pastime has taken he and his family on many visits to wine growing regions, including Arizona. During these excursions, with the accompanying tastings and lectures, it became clear that there is no "magic bullet" wine. For each wine contains its own character, strong points, and weaknesses. Sharing these experiences to help anyone purchase locally available wines is his goal.

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