Best Ways To Preserve Wine at Home at 4 Different Prices

wine preservers

Wine is a living, breathing beverage. Drinking a bottle at its peak can be a magical experience. But drinking an already-open bottle, particularly without using a wine preserver, can render an unpleasant experience. That’s because oxidation hastens the drinkability clock as soon as the cork or capsule is open.

Oxidation is a scientific process where oxygen breaks down the chemicals in wine, slowly converting it to vinegar (not the good kind). Generally, white and rosé wines can be open for about 3-5 days before going bad. Red wine can usually garner an extra day if it’s got higher tannins, while fortified wines last longer, usually 1-3 weeks. But anytime you open a sparkling wine, expect the effervescence to dissipate by the next day.

Fortunately, some strategies can garner a few extra days, weeks, or even months to capitalize on enjoying a bottle. Here are four of the easiest ways to preserve an open bottle of wine, one to comfortably fit every budget, keeping your wine fresher for longer. 

1. Put the Cork Back in the Bottle

It seems obvious because it is. But simply re-corking the bottle will protect any wine left inside versus just leaving it open on the counter. Just pop it back in and store the bottle in a cool, dark place. Better yet, put it in the refrigerator or a wine fridge if you have one. Cooler temperatures slow the oxidation process for red, white, and rosé wines. The limitation here is with sparkling wine; the once-pressurized cork will not fit back in the bottle.

The benefits of re-corking are price and size. You already know you have the right-sized stopper for your bottle. It’s also completely free. But don’t forget you’ve already opened the bottle, so the limited amount of oxygen in the bottle is still there, evolving the chemical makeup of the wine.

The cork and the fridge should give an extra day or two. Then it’s time to finish it or (gasp) throw it out.

Price range: $0

Re-corked bottle of wine

2. Basic Wine Stopper

The next level up is a basic wine stopper, made of plastic or metal. There are also heavy-duty stoppers to help maintain the pressurization of a sparkling wine. Just like corks, you only need to place the stopper in the bottle and store it. Sometimes, it will have a mechanism, such as a lever or a plunger, to create a seal around the bottle opening, preventing any oxygen from seeping in.

A basic stopper is very cost-effective and easy to use. As long as the bottle is a typical size, most stoppers work well. However, it’s a marginal step up from a cork as oxygen still enters the bottle after opening it. Even with a sealed stopper, you are only making sure no additional oxygen gets in the bottle.

Expect the wine to last a couple more days than with the cork, but don’t expect more than that.

Price range: $5-$45

Wine stopper with lever
wine preservers
Sparkling wine stopper

3. Vacuum Wine Preservers

Stoppers and corks are useful for everyday drinking, but vacuum wine preservers are a tremendous step up for enthusiasts studying for a wine exam or if there’s a need to keep the wine closer to its original version for a couple of extra days. 

Vacuum preservers usually include one or two pieces, one that plugs the bottle and another to remove the oxygen. Manual preservers include a pump that attaches to the stopper and allows you to pull the oxygen out. If you want to get a little more fancy, automatic wine preservers will do it for you, and make a short noise when your bottle is sealed and ready to store. 

Vacuum wine preservers are great because they seal the bottle and extract any remaining oxygen. Stoppers usually have flexible rubber at the bottom, which can fit most bottles. However, at this level, the price starts to creep up. And there is some level of effort involved, especially with a manual preserver. 

Price range: $20-$80

wine preservers
Manual vacuum wine preserver

4. Wine Preservation Systems

For the absolute best wine preserver, opt for a preservation system designed to remove oxygen from the bottle and keep it out long-term. Some will even allow for wine to pour out without introducing oxygen at all. 

For example, Coravin wine preservation systems use innovative technology; a needle pierces a small hole into a cork to pour the wine but ultimately leaves the cork in the bottle. It also uses argon gas, which adds pressure to the bottle. This allows the wine to come through the Coravin and into the glass but also covers the wine once the system is removed, keeping oxygen at bay. 

These systems are the best technologies available to preserve a bottle of wine. Many versions, like Genesis or Plum, claim to keep a bottle fresh for days or weeks without the wine deteriorating. Coravin, the industry leader for wine enthusiasts or students, claims to preserve the wine for years. 

However, these systems can be costly, and they have a learning curve. They often have several parts, including a gas canister, needles and cleaning supplies. 

Price range: $100-$600

best wine preservers
Coravin Pivot™

With various wine preservers available at a slew of comfortable prices, keeping an everyday bottle of wine at its best for a couple of extra days is easy. However, it’s often worth the step up into vacuum preservers or preservation systems for more expensive bottles to get the best long-term drinking experience.

Life’s too short to drink bad wine. Make sure you have the proper stopper for your lifestyle and drinking situation.

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