Although it may be rare, there are times when a bottle of wine is opened and not entirely finished. Perhaps you’ve already had a bottle, and are teetering into dangerous territory, or the bottle was opened, and you were lost in conversation and didn’t realize the bottle wasn’t finished until your company already left. Whatever the case may be, you don’t want to throw that bottle away (especially if it’s a specialty Virginia wine!) We have a few tips as to how to store it, and why it goes bad in the first place.
Wine is a consumable product, no different than the cheese and crackers you enjoyed the glass with; all consumable products have an expiration date, especially after they’ve been opened. Most items don’t last more than 3-5 days; the same goes for wine. When a wine bottle is opened, it comes into contact with oxygen. Oxygen turns red wine into vinegar-it’s a slow process, nonetheless, it still happens. You want to avoid the length of time red wine is in contact with oxygen, and minimize how much remains in the bottle after you’ve stored it. If you take the right steps, you can make that bottle last for up to a week.
This may take some time to get used to, but get into the habit of re-corking the wine after each glass pour. Keeping the wine bottle out of direct sunlight, and away from the stove, or any other war area, will keep the wine fresh longer. Later on, store the wine in the fridge to further slowdown the oxidation process. When putting the wine in the fridge remember to keep it right side up; storing open wine on its side increases the surface area exposed to oxygen. You may consider re-bottling the wine in a smaller container to further reduce the amount of oxygen the wine is exposed to.
So, which wines are the most susceptible to going bad? Pinot Noir surprisingly is the most sensitive to exposure, as are light colored red wines such as Zinfandel and Grenache. Be careful with Organic or sulfite-free wines as well, as these go bad pretty quickly. Lastly, if you have a bottle of wine that is older than 8 years, suck it up and drink it fast. These bottles can go bad within hours!
Of course, there are a few different types of wine preservation systems available, but you have to be careful in what type you choose. Some don’t work, and some actually do more harm than good. Do careful research, and discuss the different types of wine preservers with us on your next wine tour to make sure you choose the best method in which to save your wine. A wine tour can leave a lasting memory; let’s make sure your wine lasts a little longer too!