A new way to save leftover wine
I was recently sent samples of a new wine leftover preservation system that seems to work fairly well. It’s an American invention called Repour Winesaver. The throwaway device consists of a plastic stopper full of an oxygen-scavenging material (which the inventor declined to identify). You simply open a bottle of wine, pour yourself a glass and re-seal it with a Repour stopper after removing a foil tear-tab. The inventor, Tom Lutz, claims:
“Repour keeps one bottle of wine fresh until the last glass. Each stopper is designed to save a full bottle of wine, even take glass by glass over days, weeks or months. If used on a second bottle, Repour may lose its oxygen-absorbing capacity before you are done with the bottle. So start with a new Repour stopper with each new bottle.”
He also advises users that the wine may need time to “open up” when you return for another glass – I was told to leave it for 30 minutes. Don’t store the opened bottle on its side to prevent wine from getting into the Repour stopper.They’re easy to use, fairly effective and are reasonably affordable.
I set up a test with three bottles of 2015 Astrolabe Sauvignon Blanc. One bottle was opened, half-emptied and sealed with a Repour stopper. A second bottle was opened and 100ml of wine removed before being re-sealed with a Repour. I then removed 100ml every two days, re-sealing with the same Repour stopper, until only around 150ml of wine remained in the bottle. After 26 days I compared the wine in both bottles with an unopened control bottle, tasting it immediately after opening and again 30 minutes later.
Repour seems to work fairly well. The wine in the half-empty bottle was very slightly fresher than the wine from the bottle that had been re-opened and poured several times. Inventor Lutz explained that Repour can scavenge up to two litres of oxygen – enough to compensate for repeated opening over several days.
I did find that the wine tasted slightly better when left to re-oxygenate for 30 minutes after opening, but it didn’t make a dramatic difference.
Loss of quality appeared to be minimal. Would I have noticed a difference if I hadn’t been able to compare it with the freshly opened control bottle? Probably not.
I plan to use Repour selectively (rather than routinely) when I know that I may not be able to get back to an opened bottle for a few days. In my test, the wine was not refrigerated but I am sure that refrigeration would help. Repour stoppers are estimated to cost around NZD $3 when they are imported into New Zealand (they are already available in Australia). They’re easy to use, fairly effective and are reasonably affordable.