Thursday, February 27, 2014

The Best Way to Hold an Open Wine Bottle

There are probably not many topics in our business that elicit as much debate as to what is the best way to keep opened wine fresh. Over the years, I have asked many industry professionals and fellow wine snobs. The answers vary.

Around home, my wife will drink wine that's been open for weeks. It makes me cringe. There's also a joke in our family that whenever they pour a glass of wine they immediately re-cork the bottle. Sometimes I think they do this just to get my reaction. The bottom line is oxygen is good for the first hour or two. After that it's bad. Pretty simple right?

This is opposed to the practical application in a restaurant like ours. We might not sell the rest of that bottle until the next day. I've been told several times that the best thing you can do is cap it as soon as possible and keep it refrigerated. In the last decade there have been many new gadgets and techniques that have come along to prolong the life of opened wine.

There is the vacuum pump that tries to do the impossible task of sucking all the damaging oxygen out of the bottle. For several years now, we have been using a heavier than air gas that sinks to layer the top of the wine to keep the oxygen away from the wine's surface. Someone now also makes a disk that floats on top of the wine that claims to do the same thing.

What I find interesting in this article is that it's the first time I have seen somebody do a side-by-side, day-by-day comparison about what is effective. I think you will find the results very interesting. In this article, he compares the disk to the vacuum pump. I believe his results seem to prove that separating the oxygen in a bottle is far more effective than trying to remove it. Our preferred method is the heavier than air gas which basically does the same thing.

1 comment:

  1. Ray, I fervently believe that it totally depends on the bottle. I have had less than $15 reds that have become more glorious with a simple re-cork and a day of "in the bottle oxygenation". I agree that more refined reds (and more $$) would do well with the gas or disc but we usually never need to re-cork those:-)