Lesson 5 Objectives: This lesson will introduce you to various methods to preserve a opened bottle of wine. At the end of the lesson, you should be able to choose a wine preservation method that suits your needs.
Preserving a bottle of unfinished wine
Discarding a half finished bottle of wine is surely a sin. But without good preservation methods, the wine is doomed to go bad. Oxidation (exposure to oxygen) will flatten the wine, making it lose its aromas and flavor.
There are many ways to slow oxidation and better preserve the quality of the wine. The most commonly used preservation methods include the fridge, vacuum pump, and the gas spray system. But which one of these preservation systems is the most effective?
We have conducted a comparison on various wine preservation systems. The following table will provide a description, estimated cost, as well as rating on the effectiveness of each preservation method.
Comparison of major wine preservation methods:
|Methods and Concepts||Average Cost||Assessment on Effectiveness||BTW* Score||Popular Brands|
|Vacuum pump withdraws air out of the bottle and a rubber stopper caps the wine.||US$10||Easy and practical. Mixed reviews on its ability to preserve aromas (a critical wine preservation factor). Generally can keep wine fresh for 3-5 days. Can be used with other preservation methods (e.g. fridge).||1||Vacu vin, and many other generic brands|
|Gas spray system injects inert gas into the bottle, expelling air.||US$10||Require using a stopper to cap the bottle. In the process of recapping, air can still enter the wine. Each bottle can serve 80-120 applications. Can keep wine fresh up to a week.||1||Private Preserve, Winelife, and many other generic brands|
|Air tight system injects inert gas into the bottle and seals it airtight.||US$100+||Easy to use. No need to further recap the bottle. Gas cartridge depletes fast and needs to be refilled. Can keep wine fresh for 1+ week. Size and accessories vary by brands.||2||Reserve, PEK Wine Steward Preservo|
|Air tight and temperature controlled system||US$200||Can keep wine fresh for over 2 weeks!! Easy to use. Uses inert gas, so need to replace gas cartridge.||2||PEK Wine Steward Supremo|
|Use marbles to fill the unfinished bottle up||Free (marbles)||Give a new look to the unfinished bottle. Need a decanter to keep marbles from falling into wine glasses. Can keep wine fresh for couple days.||4|
|Use smaller bottles to store the unfinished wine||Free (smaller bottles)||Easy and space friendly. Though the process of pouring the wine into the smaller bottle is really further aerating it. Can keep wine fresh for 1-2 days.||5|
|Place the unfinished wine in the fridge||Free||While great for white reds, putting intense red wines into the fridge will tone down its flavour and acidity. (Refer to wine temperature.) Even after warming, the wine will not taste the same.||5|
*BetterTastingWine score based on a weighted assessment of factors including wine preservation quality, cost of purchase, cost of accessories replenishment, ease of use. BetterTastingWine uses a 5-point scale: 1 being the best and 5 being the worst.
Note: Commercial preservation systems excluded in wine preservation comparison chart.
- If you know you will not finish the bottle, aerate only what you need! Immediately preserve or recork after each serving.
- Choose a wine preservation system depending on how long you want to preserve the wine and how much you want to pay.