There’s nothing worse than throwing away good wine.
Especially good wine that’s gone off because it’s been left open.
I hate to wonder how much money has been poured down the sink. It may not be much per bottle, but it’ll sure total up to a lot.
What if, instead, we could save that wine?
Keep it fresh and drinkable. Save ourselves us from the heartbreak of tossing it out, and from needing to buy another bottle quicker?
Well, it turns out we can.
There’s a whole selection of different ways to keep your wine fresh – and I’ve covered all of them in this quick guide. I’ve put a quick infographic together to do my part in preventing wasted wine around the world. Now it’s your turn to help the cause.
Of course, we need specialized tools to achieve each of these methods. Unless you happen to have cans of injectable argon gas and ways to seal opened bottles lying around.
Below I’ve covered each option in detail – including a recommendation for the best tools for the job.
Note: Understanding how these methods work requires understanding how wine evolves with Oxygen. Don’t worry, it’s a simple explanation. I’ve covered it in a section after the methods below, but you can skip right to it below.
Best Tools for Keeping Wine Fresh
First up, we have the basic fridge storage. In other words – corking your wine and plonking it in the fridge.
Wine evolves just like any other food – through chemical actions, particularly with Oxygen. Keeping the wine at a cooler temperature slows down these reactions, giving you an extra day or two of drinkable wine.
You should almost always do this at a minimum if you’re preserving a bottle of wine. Especially for longer than a day. (Just make sure to warm it back up again before you drink it!)
Next is a very controversial tactic. Freezing wine.
To me, this almost feels wrong. Wine isn’t a freezer food! It’s not a microwave dinner!
Gut reactions aside, freezing wine is a legitimate tactic.
Warning: Don’t freeze full bottles.
This is a bit of a “no, duh” moment, but some people have been caught out trying to freeze an unopened bottle.
Liquid expands when it freezes. A wine bottle is pretty densely packed. The result could very well a broken bottle of your favorite wine. Not recommended! Instead, make sure you’ve at least drunk a little of the wine, or place it in a different, freezer-friendly container.
|Easiest option||Limited effectiveness|
|No prep required||Freezing may affect wine taste|
Using your fridge or freezer is by far the easiest option to prolong the life of your wine.
However, while easy, their effectiveness is optional.
If you have a cheap bottle you want to keep a little longer – these tricks should be worth a shot.
But if you’ve got a quality wine? It may be worth spending a little to preserve all of that amazing quality.
Now we’re getting into the actual tools themselves.
Everyone’s first foray into prolonging their wine often starts with a VacuVin.
This simple tool is a pump to vacuum out the air from a bottle, then sealing it shut.
This vastly reduces the amount of Oxygen inside the bottle. Which, in theory, will drastically slow the aging process of the wine.
While the product has been proven to work, it’s not quite as effective as the others. Some air still remains, and the wine continues to age. That said, it will buy you an entire week (or even two), which is a magnitudes better than just a couple of days.
|Ultra-cheap||Not the most effective|
|Easy to use||A little gimmicky|
|Extends wine life slightly|
VacuVin is a staple of wine preservation. It’s super cheap, pretty effective, and simple to use. Although it is a little clunky, and does make you look a little like the classroom science nerd.
There’s not much more to be said about these gadgets, really! If you’re looking to make your wine last longer and only want to put a little cash towards this, then go for it. It’s always worth a try, and it’s all for a great cause.
Private Preserve was one of the first products on the market to take advantage of Argon gas.
And that’s partly why they’re touted as the “World’s #1 Wine Accessory”.
Since 1986 Private Preserve has been in the market of saving wine. Their smart product, trusted name, and consistent branding has made them instantly recognizable across wine cellars and restaurants everywhere.
Behind the branding, the product is super simple. It’s literally just a can of Argon gas, with a straw on the side. Here’s a quick example of how it’s used by Wine Enthusiast:
How Effective Is Private Preserve?
While the principle is simple enough (the heavy Argon gas sinks down and protects the wine from Oxygen), it doesn’t work perfectly in practice. While this method is definitely proven to extend the life of the wine, it doesn’t stop the aging altogether.
Private Preserve recommend that their spray will extend the life of a wine by up to a week.
|Top wine preserver for decades||Limited effectiveness|
|Easy to use|
Every budding wine connoisseur should try Private Preserve at least once.
It’s been such a staple of the wine and restaurant industry for decades.
While it’s a simple product – and nowhere near as advanced as the Argon capsule variants – it’s a tried and trusted tool to prolong the life of wine. While not perfect, and a little clunky, it’s cheap price and proven results are what keep it so popular.
Think of ArT like the child of Private Preserve. Or maybe even the grandchild!
They’re a near-identical product made by a much newer company. While they could never stand up to the reputation and trust that Private Preserve have built, they have added two improvements to the product.
First – they got rid of the fiddly straw. Instead there’s a nozzle that gets pointed directly into the bottle. Though some may argue this doesn’t get as deep and may be less effective.
Second – they come with wine stoppers. These are simple rubber stoppers that fit into any bottle. The idea is to replace any corks with these stoppers, further preventing any extra air getting into the bottle.
|Includes wine stoppers||Around $3 more expensive per can|
|Spray uses head: no straw needed||The 'new kid on the block'|
|Easier to use than Private Preserve|
The “new kid on the block”, ArT have kept themselves afloat in an industry where their competitor is king. The quality of life improvements they offer and competitive pricing means they’re a good prospect to try.
Is ArT better than Private Preserve?
In short, the ArT and Private Preserve are almost identical. While ArT provide a few extras (included wine stopper, spray nozzle), Private Preserve come with the prestige of a decades old brand. Unless you have a preference, I’d recommend just buying whichever’s cheaper.
iFavine are the next level up from the two sprays above.
Although, their cost is also in the next level. Often found for around $100.
So what’s the difference?
iFavine also work with Argon gas, but this time it comes in capsules.
This is a device which you place ontop of an open bottle of wine. By pushing down on it, the Argon from the capsule is sprayed into the bottle, while allowing the original air to escape.
It’s essential an advanced from of the sprays above. We’re putting the exact same gas into the bottle, but imposing much more control over the air that’s going in (and out) of the bottle.
One major disadvantage of capsule use is their cost.
Capsules mean one thing – regular purchasing. As well as the added cost of the device, you’ll need a new capsule for every 5 or so bottles.
|Seals bottle when injecting Argon||More expensive than sprays|
|Cheaper than access systems||Less effective than access systems|
|Includes stoppers with dates||Uses capsule (regular cost)|
The iFavine is a jump up in efficiency, but also a major jump up in price.
It’s more effective, sure. By ensuring that no extra air gets in as we push in the Argon gas, we’re ensuring a much better use of the Argon and lowering the risk of extra Oxygen messing things up.
That said, I’m not sure how much more effective it is. Especially considering that the device is worth about 5 large cans worth of Private Preserve. On top of capsules being a little more expensive per ounce of gas.
In short, it could be a great purchase. But personally I’d like to see evidence that it’s much more effective than the cheaper sprays first.
Last up is the King of wine preservation – Coravin.
There’s a lot to be said about these products. All of which I’ve covered in our detailed review of Coravin. But I’ll summarise it briefly here.
Coravin’s ‘Wine Access System’ is almost medical-grade equipment. A super-thin needle pierces the cork to access the wine and spray in Argon from a capsule.
Thanks to their material, natural corks will re-seal the tiny hole made by the needle. Meaning that the rest of the wine is literally untouched from a preservation standpoint.
Coravin have been proven, over and over, to leave the wine unaffected. Even years later, there’s no difference found between an accessed wine and a fresh one. This is unanimous between wine experts, blind judging panels, and even scientific chemical testing.
Now, it’s safe to say they’re not cheap. And, like iFavine, need a supply of capsules to work.
But if you’re a budding connoisseur, or simply own expensive bottles, the Coravin is an absolute lifechanger.
Some of the options it unlocks are:
- Trying a glass of your most prized wines, without having to commit to drinking a whole bottle
- Tasting similar wines side-by-side. For example, 3 different vintages from the same grape and vineyard. Without having to open 3 bottles of wine.
- Letting your friends drink the wines they love, without all having to commit to one bottle (or one bottle each!)
|Extremely Effective||High-End Price Tag|
|Wine Lasts for Years||Uses Capsules|
|Works with Screwcaps|
|Used in Restaurants Globally|
Let’s put it out there – Coravin are expensive.
At hundreds of dollars, one of these models is a real commitment to wine preservation and tasting.
But there’s also nothing else like them.
They have found a way to drink wine without touching the bottle. And this unique possibility unlocks so many options for wine lovers. Whether that’s inviting friends to try a little of your vintages, comparing similar bottles without opening them, or just having a glass to yourself without risking a whole bottle.
For true wine lovers, there’s nothing that will change the game more than a Coravin.
If All Else Fails
If all else fails, there’s one final solution you can try.
It can be expensive – even doubling the cost of your original purchase. But it’s a sure thing, and is guaranteed to give you full glasses of more fresh, tasty wine.
I like to call it BAB. Which stands for Buying Another Bottle.
Unfortunately, BAB is an incredibly easy habit to fall into. Providing a guarantee of great taste, a way to relax, and an added connection with friends. I have to say, I do recommend it!
Why Wine Deteriorates
It’s important for any wine lover to understand how wine evolves (and declines).
The bottom line is that Oxygen causes wine to change. It chemically reacts with the wine, which results in a sort of ‘ripening’ of it.
In stored bottles this happens very slowly. There’s a little bit of Oxygen left in the top of the bottle, and tiny amounts also make their way in and out of the cork. This is why wines continue to evolve inside their bottles, and what makes wine such a unique experience. Every bottle is uniquely different.
Once the bottle is opened, this evolution becomes rapid.
When in contact with a lot of fresh air, wine quickly starts to evolve. At first this is a positive thing. The reactions ‘open up’ the wine and allow for some final development which softens and reveals the true flavor of the wine.
It’s why many wines (especially older ones) serve best after they’ve been ‘allowed to breathe’. Hence the creation and popularity of wine carafes.
Of course, this a balancing act. Once the wine’s ‘evolved’ too far, it starts to ruin the taste. Suddenly it can change from drinking absolute perfection, to tasting a seriously over-ripened fruit.
Think of biting into a half-eaten apple that’s been left out overnight. That’s essentially what over-evolved wine is – an over-ripened fruit.
All of the methods and tools above are to help pause this process. To keep opened wine in the ‘fresh and delicious’ state, and delaying it from continuing to evolve for as long as possible.
The Last Drop
There’s few things better in the world than a fantastic bottle of wine. And having to throw out wasted wine is always a heartbreak.
I hope this quick guide has given you an idea or two about how you can keep your opened wine fresher for longer. Whether that’s a $10 Vacuvin or a $300 Coravin model, I hope I’ve helped you find the right tool for you.
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Thanks for reading, and have a great day!