According to the Wine Institute’s study, US citizens drank 949 million gallons of wine in 2016. That seems like a large number, but in fact, it is only 2.94 gals per capita. Less than three gals for the whole year? That just doesn’t sound right.
When we take a look at our year retrospectively, there were surely times when we drank a whole bottle of wine on our own. Some days and situations simply require such hedonistic response. On the other hand, we’ve lived through numerous days when we opened a bottle just to have a glass or two and then wondered what to do with the “leftover” wine?
Pouring it out in the sink or toilet is not an option while leaving it on the counter or in the fridge without a cork seems to affect its taste. Fortunately, there are various ways of “recorking” a bottle of wine and protecting its precious aroma.
Dealing With Wine Terminology
Before we dive in, here’s a little precaution: any oenologist will tell you that the term “recorking” refers to the process that’s meant to offer high-quality, expensive wines more years of safe aging. Over the years, wine corks lose their elasticity and slowly stop holding their tight seal. This leads to air entering the bottle, which allows the wine to evaporate and deteriorate in its quality. For that reason, recorking is done at the original winery, by carefully swapping an old cork for a new one.
However, the recorking we’ll be talking about include an opened bottle of wine and efficient ways of preserving it, at your home.
The Simplest And The Least Efficient Way
Quick, low-budget solution for lazy wine lovers is placing the original cork back in the bottle and storing your wine in the fridge. This way, you won’t be able to remove air from the bottle, which means oxidation will still take its place and turn the wine sour. However, due to cold temperature, this process will slow down, and you will have approximately 24 hours to drink it while it is still fresh.
This is not a revolutionary solution. You must have tried this on your own before. So, what do we have to offer? As you know, fitting the original cork back into the bottle is not an easy task. The side that was in the bottle usually expands, and even if you turn it upside down, it is still not a great fit. All you need, to make this operation possible is a piece of wax paper.
The wax paper will acts as a lubricant, making it easier for the cork to slide back into the bottle. Also, it will form a barrier, preventing errant pieces of cork from floating around in your wine.
Here’s what you should do: take the wax paper and wrap it around the cork. Shove the covered end of the cork back into the opening of the bottle. You can now place your wine in the fridge.
Recorking With Gadgets
If you plan to leave your wine standing for more than 24 hours, you should consider purchasing some fancy gadgets that will help you adjourn the oxidation. Don’t worry, in this case, fancy means elegant, but not necessarily expensive. Still, you should be aware; they can prolong the freshness of your wine only for two or three days.
For example, wine stoppers should do the trick. Their primary role is to reseal the bottle and make it look fashionable at the same time. They act just like a cork, yet fitting them back in the bottle is much easier. Once they are sealed, no air will come in or out, but the void inside of the bottle will remain filled with still oxygen, which means the wine will continue to oxidize. For that reason, you should still place the bottle in the fridge for the best effects.
Your next option is using various types of air pumps. In general, they work and look like a smaller version of a bike pump, but instead of adding air, their job is to remove it and create an airtight seal. These vacuum air pumps are incredibly straightforward, but they won’t remove all of the oxygen, which means the process that turns wine into vinegar won’t miraculously stop, but significantly slow down.
Here’s what you should do: place the rubber seal in or on the bottle opening (depending on the type and the model of the pump), connect the device, pump it a few times, and store the bottle in the refrigerator.
Atypical Recorking Story
There is another way to preserve your wine, but it doesn’t include a wine bottle nor cork. Let us explain. You’ve learned by now that oxygen is wine’s biggest enemy. Also, if you ever read any tips on storing leftover wine, you know that transferring your wine into a smaller bottle can do you a huge favor.
Following the same logic, probably the best way to save leftover wine doesn’t require any particular gadget, just a mason jar. Its rings and lids create an airtight seal, which works just as beautifully for wine storage as it does for canning and pickling. Stored this way, opened wine will keep its freshness for five whole days.
Here’s what you should do: Pour your wine into the jar. Make sure to fill it as close to the brim as possible, and store it in the fridge.
We have to admit, this last tip doesn’t have a lot to do with recorking, but since it works by the same principles and does such a great job at the same time, we decided to share it with you anyway.
Let’s make a recap of what we’ve learned today. Bottle’s original cork will keep your wine safe for 24 hours, as long as you don’t forget to add wax paper. Purchasing simple gadgets, like wine stoppers and air pumps, might be a good idea, but having a mason jar in the back of your kitchen cabinet is even better. At last, don’t forget to place your leftovers in the fridge, because temperature plays a significant role in the oxidation process.
These tricks will help you store an opened bottle of wine for one to five days. If you feel the need to store it for longer than that, you should ask yourself – do you even love drinking wine? Ask someone to join you and enjoy those leftovers!