On top of an isolated Arizonan mountain, Cody Burkett – aka The Wine Monk – commonly drinks wine alone in his humble abode. The wine blogger, and former seminarian, is very familiar with how to store wine after opening it. After all, he’s constantly writing wine reviews and trying new pours.
“I drink wine just about every day,” said Burkett, who posts his reviews on his blog The Wine Monk. “Sometimes I like to surprise my liver by drinking water, but there are enough Arizona wines where I can drink a new one every day.”
A wine’s archenemy tends to be oxygen, so learning how to store open bottles of wine properly is important if you want them to last for more than a day or night. If you’re a light drinker, or one with an expensive palate, keep reading for wine storage tips from Burkett. We also got advice from a longtime wine shop owner to lift your spirits – both figuratively and literally.
No Fancy Corks Needed to Store Open Wine
While there’s plenty of fancy and decorative wine stoppers on the market, our experts recommend using a bottle’s original cork or cap to store open wine.
“I stick the cork back in, because the bottle was corked that way for a reason,” said Burkett. “I have a few fancy wine toppers if I’m feeling in the mood, but the cork works fine.”
There are devices that claim to vacuum out the oxygen in an open wine bottle, but Lou Amdur of Lou Wine Shop in Los Angeles begs to differ.
“Once the cork is out, there’s air in the bottle no matter how careful you are,” he said. “There’s no way a human can create enough power to take all the air out.”
He advises to flip the original cork around and use the unstained end to recork the bottle, as it will be an easier fit.
Keep Stored Wine Cold and Away from Light
You want to store wine in a cool and dark place, whether the bottle is open or closed. Both heat and light degrade wines, so it will last longer in the refrigerator.
“You want to keep your wine in stable conditions, especially if it’s going to be a couple days before you drink it,” said Burkett. “Keep it cool in a refrigerator, because keeping it on a counter will decrease its stability and it will deteriorate more rapidly.”
Wine will start to cook at 80 degrees Fahrenheit, said Amdur, so you never want to store wine – open or closed – outside of refrigerator in a warm climate.
“Good wine is a fragile product, so you should be concerned about how you store it before you open it,” she added. “(Refrigeration) will slow down the oxidation of both red and white wines.”
How to Store Wine After Opening it With Argon
For dedicated wine aficionados, adding nitrogen or argon gases to an open bottle of wine is a costly way to preserve a wine for several days to a couple weeks.
“The gas will sit in your bottle on top of the wine and act as a natural seal,” said Burkett. “(These systems) fun, but expensive.”
Popular brands, including Coravin and NitroTap, cost upwards of $100 but can potentially save pricey varietals for collectors by blocking oxygen from the wine. Private Reserve is a cheaper alternative for the wine lovers who want to protect more common bottles, say our experts.
Inside his trendy Los Angeles wine shop, Amdur sells a wide range of wine varietals and commonly hosts wine tastings. Instead of paying top dollar for one-use gas canisters, he uses a refillable argon system to keep open bottles fresh between events.
“Our goal is to keep a bottle open for several days so we can open a range of bottles,” he said.
Some wine varietals need more or less storage knowhow for the perfect next-day drink, so make sure to ask your local wine shop for further details on specific bottles.
“A good wine shop will know what to expect with the progression or regression of a wine,” said Amdur.