Ask drinkplanner wine preservation

Ask DrinkPlanner is a reoccurring feature here where readers submit their questions, and the crack team at DrinkPlanner does our best to answer. Got a question about booze? Ask us!

Let’s get retarded!

“Dear DrinkPlanner,

Can you give me some idea as to how long a bottle of wine is “good” after you open it? I am forever playing that risky game of drinking it to see if it’s still good. When it’s not, the results can be disastrous.

I anticipate your response will first berrate me for allowing a bottle of wine to remain open, un-drunk for any period of time, but sometimes I’m not in a wine-drinking mood. Sometimes I’ll open a bottle to use in some cooking and then drink rum & cokes for the next several nights.

I also know the time it remains “fresh” or whatever you call it depends on the type of stopper you use and probably the type of wine, etc.

But any general advice you could give is appreciated!


A Wine-y Baby”

Actually, I’m going to berate you for not being able to spell “berate” correctly, but that’s neither here nor there. I mean honestly, thank God you’re not a teacher or something, trying futilely to educate our youth on grammar and english between your “single” glasses of wine. I mean really, if you’re going to drink on the job, make sure you don’t get caught for crying out loud.

The biggest foes that wine ever had are oxygen and heat. So once you pop open a bottle, you’re putting your precious booze in harm’s way. Wine is like the seafood of booze, it’s fine as long as it’s swimming around in the ocean, but once you crack that puppy open, you’ve only got a little while before it gets straight-up RANK. Even taking all precautions, your wine doesn’t have a very long life once it’s opened. 2-3 days max. So here’s what you can do to make your wine take it to the limit!

1. Refrigerate It – While not really recommended for red wines (it can cause sediment and change flavor profile) it is a proven method to prolong the general life of wine. Much like cryogenically freezing a head, cold temperature preserves, be it fermented grapes or brains. Even with a red, you risk the chance of flavor distortion, but at least keep it drinkable for a day or two longer than you would. If you have to choose this method for a red, I’d say take it out of the fridge and let it warm for a bit before trying to drink it…room temp or so.

2. Eliminate Oxygen– There are many ways to do this. Most involve either an air-sucking mechanism stuck on top of the bottle, or shooting a “heavy gas” into the bottle, which displaces oxygen (saving it from flavor-funkin’) and replaces with an inert gas that won’t distort your booze. From the little I’ve read, most recommend the oxygen-removin’ type over the heavy-gas shootin’ type. There’s a wide array of air suckers, pumpers, and removers that can adequately do the job for you.

That’s about all you can do, unfortunately. Wine is a short lived creature once it’s been exposed to the outside world (much like seamonkeys and outed CIA agents). More than a few days and they’re screwed. My advice would be to find a friend willing to help you kill that bottle the first go-round so you don’t have to invest in whoosits and whatnots to keep your good wine good.

So there we go. Got a question about drinking? Ask DrinkPlanner!

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