Wine is a a great item for any home or party. Many people love a good wine to sip on for the comforts of their own home dinners or relaxations as well as a lavish wine to enjoy on a dinner or party out with friends or a significant other. Wine is truly very versatile and potent in its flavors and texture. It greatly enhances the flavors of any meal or snack, and instantly allows for a true relaxing and calm environment. There is no secret that wine is so beyond potent, but just as much as it is potent, wine is a very fragile drink. I mean it makes sense considering wine encompasses a wide variety of flavors and textures on the palate in a way that only something that has been crafted carefully and delicately can. For this reason, when possessing bottles of wine, it is so beyond important that one is knowledgeable about all the factors that can actually age a wine in a bad way, destroying its natural, crisp flavors. For someone who wants the best and most out of their wines that they keep at home, it is so beyond important that you read up on this article so that you can get the gist of how storing wine bottles is very tricky business and must be done with the utmost knowledge and care. It may seem like a lot for a drink, but if you really want the best of your wine, it is what you have to do!
Signs & Consequences of Improperly Stored Wine
Before I get into the logistics of how to keep an open bottle of wine fresh and crisp, it is very important that I begin with relaying how detrimental not storing your bottle of wine properly can be for the flavor of your wine. The effects are not just a mere or slight stale taste that makes the wine manageable. Having wine that is completely and improperly stored, completely changes the makeup of the wine in a way that will have you throwing your bottle out in disgust even if it was only open for less than a day. There is no doubt that you will be doubting if your wine truly went bad or not. There are a lot of ways the wine will let you know immediately that it has gone bad. If you are trying to understand if your wine went bad in the first place, here are some signs to look out for!
● The cork looks bad. This is the first sign of wine that has surely gone bad. When it is stored improperly (possibly position or temperature wise), you will notice that the wine’s cork has become too dry. It begins to crumble and this unfortunately causes the demise of your once great tasting wine, which is now being exposed to the air.
● Once your wine has been exposed to the air, the wine has immediately gone flat and begins to taste weak. In this case, even popping the cork back on the wine after you have already popped the cork off, will not do anything for your wine. At then point the damage has already been done.
● If temperature becomes the issue for your wine then that completely wreaks havoc on the flavor of the wine. This can cause your wine to acquire a sort of burnt or rubbery-like taste. One tell-tale sign that temperature has surely affected the flavor of your wine, is if your cork begins to leak a little bit of wine. This shows that the cork was exposed to a lot of heat and the heat caused the cork to be less sturdy or built.
● Other times bad wine can simply be a result of being kept way past its prime. If your wine starts to acquire a vinegar type smell (nobody likes vinegar tastes, it isn’t good at all) then surely that is a sign that the wine was stored way beyond the age of the wine.
● It is no secret that even really healthy and popular wines can be accompanied by some serious funky smells, but that doesn’t necessarily mean the wine has gone bad. Some wines are just like. Yet at the same time, there are definitely some smells you should keep an eye out for, that is known to be not normal in a bottle wine. These include smells of mold, wet dog, wet newspaper, and vinegar. If such smells accompany your bottle of wine, then I hate to be the bearer of bad news but chances are that wine has done its time. Raisin or cooked fruit smells are also a strong sign of young wine gone bad.
● Tasting wise, there are a lot of signs that your wine is no longer good to drink. If you take a sip of your wine and taste a strong chemically or vinegar taste then for sure your wine has gone bad. Also keep an eye out for what type of wine you have, what it should taste like, and what it shouldn’t. If you take a sip of a red wine and notice it tastes sweet (even if it may be pleasant) chances are it went bad. Red wines naturally shouldn’t taste like that so if your reds or whites start to have flavors that are similar to one another then your wine has sadly gone bad.
● Keep an eye out for carbonated wines. We love carbonation in our sodas and sparkling water but trust me a carbonated wine is not what you want. Carbonation is a sign that your wine has gone through what is known as secondary fermentation. in this case, the yeast in the wine begins to consume the sugar and covert it to about half alcohol and half CO2 gas also known as carbonation. This is another sign that your wine has gone bad due to improper storage. Now that you have become familiar with the many ways that wine can go bad and what to watch out for, it is time to move on to how you can properly store open bottles of wine, so that you can avoid these frustrating situations!
How to Store an Open Bottle of Wine
Next task after realizing how important it is to properly store both open and closed wine bottles, I now will move on to the ways you can store your delicious wine for later in a way that will preserve all the good flavors that you love about it. That way you can have a delicious wine to look forward to again and again for those stressful days of work or school!
The Re-cork Method
When trying to re-cork your bottle of wine, do not be tempted to re-cork the bottle with the cleaner side facing inside the bottle and the stained side exposed. A lot of people think that the clean cork side should now be the one to fact inside the wine bottle, when storing leftover wine, but this is not the case. Technically the stained side of your wine bottle has already been exposed to the wine so exposing the stained side to the wine again won’t do any harm. Although the clean side may look clean, it could possibly not be and end up tainting the rest of the leftover wine. Another method you can utilize with re-corking includes wrapping your cork in wax paper before you put it back into the bottle. This actually really helps in preserving your wine because it acts like a lubricant, making it easier to stick your cork back in the bottle, and it ensures that you do not accidentally chip away at the cork in a way that causes pieces of it to be floating in your wine (not the idea situation). If you’ve only used a little bit of your wine (like a quarter or less) then use this method, yet if you drank more than a quarter then stick to the next method!
Stay Away from the Bottle
After popping open your wine and using up a good portion of the bottle, if you still want your wine to taste prime and delicious, the smart thing to do is to not keep the rest of the leftover wine in the bottle. This is because, despite the fact that you re-cork it, re-corking the bottle doesn’t stop the air that fills up the half of the empty wine bottle, from tainting the leftover wine. When trying to store open wines, it is best that you store the leftover wine in screw-cap half bottles. This eliminates the amount of air between the leftover wine and the cap of the bottle, ensuring that the air does not taint the rest of the wine flavors.
Room Temp or Heat is Not the Best
Contrary to some popular belief, an open bottle of wine that has been re-corked is not good enough to just chill out on the counter in room temperature. This aids in the wine breaking down at a lot faster rate. Put it in a place with a lot of heat and then you have another problem on your hands (that problem being you won’t have a delicious wine to drink). It is best to refrigerate your leftover wine as doing so can aid greatly slowing down the process of the wine breaking down. Note that I said slowing down and not stopping. After you have opened a bottle of wine, you cannot stop the wine from breaking down, but you can greatly inhibit the length it takes for the wine to break down and go bad.
Mason Jars Can Be Another Great Help
If you do not have any screw-cap half bottles lying around the house, then another great alternative for storing leftover wine can be pouring the wine into a mason jar. Simply pouring the wine into a mason jar, as close to the brim of the cap as possible, sealing it up, and putting it in the refrigerator, really does the trick! The rings and lids on mason jars provide an airtight seal, keeping a lot of the air out and away from the wine. Utilizing this method, you can actually keep your leftover wine in almost perfect condition for about five days, which is an incredibly long time for an opened bottle of wine. Guaranteed you will not need more than 5 days to finish off your delicious wine!
Lastly if you don’t want to have to resort to all these methods for keeping your bottle of wine fresh for the next couple of days, you can always treat yourself instead by choosing to finish up that bottle! Think about it. Wine is generally shared between two people. Wine bottles normally come in at about 750 ml which translates roughly to about 5 glasses of wine. Each person takes two glasses, split the last one, and share it all up with delicious desserts and wines, then you will realize how easy it can be to polish off a good bottle of wine. Studies show 1-3 glasses of wine can help with heart health so if you want to go for that 3rd glass don’t be worried! Drink up! It won’t hurt to enjoy those glasses of wine and you totally do not need to feel guilty about it at all. Yet if you are a one person, one bottle kind of gal and see only yourself polishing off those bottles of wine (which is totally not bad either) then now you can be grateful and rest easy that you can drink a little bit at a time and savor the rest for later without worrying that you shelled out money, only to throw the rest of the bottle away. Splurge a bit, treat yourself, share a meal, and have a laugh with your favorite leftover wine. With these tips, your opened bottle of wine will still taste as fresh as it did when you opened it!