Storing leftover wine

What do you do when you don’t finish a bottle of wine?

The problem arises when you taste several wines or simply don’t want to drink an entire bottle by yourself or with a friend.

Air—oxidation—is the enemy. Wine preservation devices like Vacu Vin vacuum air out of the bottle; systems like Private Preserve or Winelife replace air with inert gas. Vacu Vin sells for about $15, and the pump and rubber stoppers last for years. A canister of Private Preserve or Winelife costs about $10 and will preserve about 120 bottles. Salvaging one good bottle of wine pays for the product.

Simplest solution: white or red wine can be re-corked or the cap screwed back on and stored in the refrigerator up to three days. Lower temperatures slow oxidation and inhibit acetic bacteria from turning wine into vinegar. Using a wine preservation method will improve things even more, and may mean you don’t need to put reds in the fridge if you drink the next day.

Decanting into a smaller bottle may help—there will be less air in the bottle. Some experts, however, believe decanting exposes the wine to enough air to negate the effort.

Quality diminishes each day, so drink the next day if possible. Take reds out of the fridge 45 minutes before drinking, whites out 15-30 minutes before drinking.

If you wait too long and don’t like the taste the second time around, use the wine in cooking.


• Fall Creek Sauvignon Blanc. Crisp Texas white; citrus and melon flavors. $9

• McManis Petite Syrah. Full-bodied, deep-purple, jammy, soft tannins. $12

• Printhie Chardonnay. Tropical fruit, creamy mid-palate white from Australia. $16