Storing Wine

Leftover Wine

An opened bottle of wine can be kept for a period of a few hours up to several days. The simplest method is to replace the cork and put the bottle in the refrigerator, where darkness is as important as the cool temperature. In this way, wine will stay fresh for one to three days. If it is a white wine, simply take it out when you want to drink it; for a red wine, remove it from the refrigerator a few hours before you plan to consume it. You can replace the cork with a wine bottle stopper if you wish. Stoppers are useful if you have leftover sparkling wine, because it isn't possible to put the cork back in a bottle of bubbly.

To keep wine fresh longer, insert nitrogen gas (which is odorless and tasteless) with a little carbon dioxide can be sprayed into the opened bottle. The nitrogen mixture sinks to the level of the wine and the oxygen is held above it. This will keep wine for several weeks. The gas comes in handy canisters and is available from most wine shops and some grocery stores. A miniature pumping device that sucks air from the bottle will preserve wine for a few days (the pump should be fitted over a rubber stopper inserted into the mouth of the bottle). None of these methods is recommended for older wines, however, which quickly lose flavor and bouquet no matter what you do.

Wine Accessories

There is a whole range of paraphernalia for serving wine available for the dedicated hobbyist. Decanting devices include wine thieves, decanting funnels and mechanical decanting cradles, which are useful for decanting older ports. Among other accessories are neck labels for wine bottles or decanters, which are handy for identifying wine; pouring disks, which can be inserted in the bottle to avoid drips; decorative bottle collars; and coasters to protect table surfaces. If you are organizing a wine tasting at home, you might like to add a spittoon to your wine accessories.

from Williams-Sonoma Guides, The Wine Guide, by Larry Walker and Wink Lorch (Time-Life Books, 1999).

"May our love be like good wine, grow stronger as it grows older."
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