Red wine is a popular option this time of year. But do you know why that is? The answer is actually simple: red wine typically contains higher alcohol content than white wine. As a result, it creates a natural thermogenic effect, warming the body from the inside out. Come winter, many people enjoy a glass of red wine with dinner or around the fireplace because they associate the full-bodied wine with the winter months.
While you may polish off a bottle of red wine over one dinner party, you may prefer to store some of it and come back to it at a later time. If this is your goal, proper storage is crucial. In this blog, we will discuss the best ways to store opened red wine.
How To Store Open Red Wine
Why Does an Open Bottle of Red Wine Go Bad?
To put it simply, oxygen turns red wine into vinegar. The key to storing red wine properly is to reduce the amount of oxygen that touches the surface when storing an open bottle of red wine. There are a couple of tried and true methods that can be used to prolong the shelf life of your favorite red. All of these methods are based on minimizing exposure to oxygen either by replacing or removing the oxygen or reducing the surface area of the wine.
Basic Instructions to Follow After Opening a Bottle of Red Wine
After opening a bottle of red wine, you’ll want to re-cork the wine after every glass pour. This may seem excessive, but keep in mind the goal is to reduce exposure to oxygen. You’ll also want to keep the open wine bottle out of light and stored under room temperature if possible. When red wine is stored at a cooler temperature, the process of oxidation slows down. Wine stored by cork inside the fridge will stay relatively fresh for up to 3-5 days.
Tips to Maintain Freshness
These few tips can help maintain freshness:
- Store the bottle of wine upright to minimize the surface area exposed to oxygen.
- Prevent taking the wine from cold to hot settings. Dramatic temperature changes like this can damage the chemical composition of your wine.
- You can warm up a red wine bottle by running it under lukewarm water or putting it in a warm bath for a bit. You can also pour it into a decanter, or combine both methods by putting the wine in a decanter and then putting the decanter in a warm bath. We recommend you don’t microwave your wine.
What to Avoid When Storing Open Red Wine
If you’ve gotten this far, these tips are probably common sense, but are a quick glance at things to avoid when storing open red wine!
- Avoid storing your open bottle of red wine on its side. This increases the surface area of wine exposed to oxygen.
- Avoid storing your open bottle of red wine by a window. Sun exposure can damage the composition of your wine.
- Don’t store your wine above 70 ºF. It is better to store open wines in the fridge.
What Red Wines Go Bad the Quickest Once Opened?
- Pinot Noir is a very sensitive red wine when exposed to air.
- Older wines can go bad quickly. If a wine is over 8-10 years old you’ll likely want to finish the bottle as soon as possible
- Becoming more popular, organic wine and sulfite-free wines are also typically more fragile.
- Light-colored red wine varietals including Grenache, Nebbiolo, Sangiovese, and Zinfandel are also more likely to oxidize quickly.
Tools to Preserve the Freshness of Wine
If you’re a wine enthusiast (or know someone who is and are looking for the perfect gift), there are a number of wine preservation systems available. What makes this tricky is that many of these tools don’t work too well, some can tend to do more harm than good, and others can be blatant rip-offs. In general, what you pay for is what you get. You can’t expect a $5 vacuum pump from Amazon to perform as well as a commercial-grade system. We recommend doing your research for specific products and brands and highly recommend spending time looking at product reviews to help narrow down a choice.
Still, there are two types of wine preservation tools you can purchase for your home: the vacuum pump wine preservation method and inert wine gas preservation system.
A wine vacuum pump is an affordable option for everyday drinkers. A vacuum pump removes air from the opened bottle and re-seals it with a reusable rubber stopper. Typically a “click” tells you when you have reached the optimum vacuum level, which slows down the oxidation process and keeps the wine fresh.
Inert Gas Wine Preservation System
Typically more expensive than the vacuum pump option, an inert gas wine preservation system works by injecting argon gas into the opened wine bottle. This method is designed to keep your open bottles fresh for several weeks and works best with red wines.
Find What Works Best for Your Budget and Lifestyle
Now that you’ve gotten some tips on how to store opened red wine, it’s time to put them to use! Let us know which method you prefer or if you have any tips/tricks to keep an opened bottle of red wine lasting as long as possible.