Preserving Wine, Once the Bottle is Opened


I receive lots of emails asking me how to keep a bottle of wine fresh for several days once it’s opened so I thought I would finally write it down and refer folks to this link when necessary.  Hopefully this will help those of you who want to open a bottle of wine but prefer to have only one glass with dinner or are using it for cooking and want it to keep longer.

The most important aspect in keeping wine fresh is to store it in a cool place and keep its contact with air to a minimum.  Refrigeration is a big plus here, as it will help slow down oxidation and curtail spoilage organisms from taking over in the bottle.

There are two products I recommend using when it comes to keeping wine tasting its best.  One is Vacu Vin, a stainless steel vacuum wine saver that extracts air from opened wine bottles using a hand pump and a reusable rubber stopper.  Once you have pumped out the optimum amount of air, you are alerted with a clicking sound as the bottle is resealed.  I use this all the time and it works really well.

The second option is using inert gas with a product called, Private Preserve. The gas, usually a mix of nitrogen, argon and carbon dioxide, is heavier than air and sits on the wine’s surface acting as a protective buffer.  After applying the vapor, just reseal the bottle with a stopper and that’s it.

Both these products reduce exposure to air and will give you several extra days to enjoy your white wines and even longer (maybe a week) for more robust reds.

If you are trying to preserve the bubbles in your sparkling wine, you will need to use a pressurized stopper made especially for effervescent wine.

However, if you are not into any of these more “technical options”, you could cut the air-to-wine ratio by transferring the wine from a bigger bottle into a smaller (375 ml wine half-bottle), clean bottle soon after opening it.  Transfer the wine carefully as pouring it into the new vessel will expose it to air.  Secure with a stopper when finished.

I hope this helps and don’t be afraid to have just one glass.

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26 Comments

  1. deeba 1

    Great post Cathy…and I liked the last & simplest idea the best! Smaller bottle! Genius you!!

  2. pam 2

    I have a wine stopper attachment for my foodsaver.

  3. We have the hand pump and rubber stopper. It works very well at keeping wine tasting fresh even after a couple of days.

  4. Barbie with a T 4

    That was a good tip about keeping wine fresh longer. Most of the time when using the wine bottle opener, the hole punched down the center of the cork leaks air, so I usually replace the bottle with a fresh cork and keep it in the fridge. I rarely have wine left over after two days anyway. But I will keep this in mind when I open a large bottle for guests and have some left over.

  5. Nice post. This is a typical situation for me, as I am the only wine drinker in my home.

  6. We use our vacume pump all the time. Works great. I gave my husband an infrared wine thermometer for Christmas, he’s loving that new gadget!

  7. Thanks for the advice, Cathy. I usually don’t open a bottle for one glass because I don’t want to waste the rest.

  8. Tammy 8

    Thank you so much for the information. I’m constantly wondering how to save my wine if I only want want glass!

  9. Mary 9

    What great information to have on hand. Thanks!

  10. Bob 10

    Great tips! I have a vacuum sealer, I love it. Not that I use it much… 😉

  11. Dawn 11

    I just ordered the Vacu Vin, I always have leftover wine and it doesn’t stay fine!! Thanks.

  12. I got one of the champagne sealers from a winery a while back and they really do a great job. We tend to drink our wine, but champagne rarely gets finished the same day it’s opened. Thanks for the tips!

  13. I have the Vacu Vin and I love it…the only problem is that we rarely have any vino left over;)

  14. Liz C. 14

    I definitely need the one for champagne. Thanks for the info!

  15. Barbara 15

    My daughter has loved the Vintage Vacuum Stopper from MoMa for ages and finally gave me one this year. I love it!
    Great post!

  16. Cynthia 16

    If a have 4 cups of wine left and I know I won’t drink it I make wine jelly. It is really delightful and easy to make. The recipe can be found at http://www.allrecipes.com

    I love your site!

  17. Kate 17

    Great tip. I always get rid of the cork and use a stopper and rarely have any wine left after a couple of days. Still, good advice.

  18. Marjie 18

    It’s probably a crime to admit to you that I only buy wine for cooking, and only in bottles with screw on lids, isn’t it? I have a ferocious sweet tooth, so I always go for the sweet treats. Gotta manage those calories somehow!

  19. Bev 19

    Rarely do we have “leftover wine” in this house. Unclear on the concept. :)

  20. Lisa 20

    I have been using the Vacu Vin product for quite a while. I often have leftover wine and find that it works great.

  21. Cassie 21

    I have wanted a Vacu Vin for a long time but *blush* I’ve never really ever had a need to use it. If the bottled has been opened, we drink it and sometimes we have to open another.. then we drink that one too. LOL

  22. Flint 22

    Bearing in mind that fine wines are occasionally “recorked,” I’m inclined to suspect that momentary exposure to air isn’t all that deleterious. I use 12 oz. Perrier (sp?) bottles with twist off lids to save what I don’t drink. You can improve the seal with a few rounds of teflon tape.

  23. And keep some risotto ready to be made with the leftover wine the next day

  24. This is such useful and great info to have! Thanks for posting it.

  25. Barb 25

    Just “stumbled upon” your site. Beautiful! Great recipes, lovely photos, and I love how you break down the steps. Can’t wait to try some! Well done!

  26. Elzabi 26

    I’ve tried creating a mouth-induced vacuum but I guess your methods are much better! Alternatively, I suggest just getting a partner in crime and finish the bottle! A younger wine also has more resilience (in taste) to oxidation than an old wine, especially a young, bold red wine.