Vinous Oddities: Keeping it fresh

I’m often asked how long you can keep an opened bottle of wine before it goes off. The answer depends on many factors including the level of wine in the bottle (more is better), storage temperature (cooler is better), wine type (robust reds last longer than delicate white wines) and whether you like your wine young, fresh and fruity or soft, mellow and not so fruity.

When the party is over and we’re left with a half full bottle of red and a half bottle of white most of us put the white in the fridge and the red on the sideboard. It’s a good idea to put both in the fridge – wine that’s cooler stays fresher longer. You can bring the red wine back to room temperature in less than one minute by heating it in a microwave.

I keep a few empty 375ml half-bottles sealed with screwcaps in the cupboard. If I plan to drink only half a bottle (with the help of my wife, of course) I carefully fill a 375ml bottle, seal the screwcap tightly and identify the wine with a sticky label – then drink the rest. Wine in a clean bottle sealed this way can keep for months without any deterioration in my experience.

Don’t try to preserve sparkling wines with a silver teaspoon – it doesn’t work. Use a clip-on sparkling wine preserver. They cost around $10 and work brilliantly.


First published in KiaOra Magazine – Mar 2010.

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