We try very hard not to let this happen too often at home…. but there are times when one may need to store an opened bottle of wine. Here are a few tips on the best ways we have found to do it. An opened bottle of wine means the wine is in contact with oxygen which oxidises a wine. This process affects and diminishes the taste of a wine and so what we try to do is to preserve the wine as much as possible. We also like to store a wine in the fridge as chilling slows down the degradation process as well.
For years I’ve been using the method of placing a teaspoon into the opened bottle and popping it back into the fridge, while we continued to enjoy the bottle. This is a controversial method… nonetheless, I like to use this method but I’ve recently discovered a special stopper that allows you to pump air back into an opened bottle to keep it bubbly. For this, you just need to pump till you can’t pump anymore and ‘pop’ the bottle in the fridge. Technically, by pumping air back into the bottle, the gas that remains in the wine doesn’t escape so easily as the air space in the bottle has pressure. We’ve included this special stopper in our Christmas gift guide for collectors so I’m hoping Santa will bring me one and I can check it out… You can also try a simple sparkling wine stopper which would contain the air space that the bubbles are exposed to.
All things being equal, an opened bottle of sparkling, stored with a good wine stopper can last a day or two in the fridge. It is a balance of lasting bubbles versus oxidizing the wine. So to be honest, I would always try to finish a bottle of bubbly.
For leftover white wine I like to use a battery operated wine stopper and store the wine in the fridge. It is possible to recap or recork and store in the fridge but I find a wine preserver will take any air out of the bottle which helps to preserve the still wine. You'll also find this wine stopper listed in our Christmas gift guide for collectors.
You can enjoy the white wine straight from the fridge. Typically it will last between 3-7 days depending on the type of white wine and how it was made. For example, acid in a wine gives it longevity and freshness so these wines last longer. As you get familiar with different wines and brands you know how long you can keep them for.
As with white wine, I like to use a battery operated wine preserver and keep the wine in the fridge. The preserver takes out any air in the bottle and the fridge cools the wine and slows down any degradation of the opened wine. Do keep the bottle upright in the fridge as this minimises the surface area exposed to oxygen.
When we are ready to drink the leftover white, I take the red out of the fridge at the same time as the white, so that by the time you drink the red, it would have come up to room temperature.
An opened bottle of red wine will last on average of up to five days but again it depends on the type of wine and how it was made. For example, there are a wide range of reds, different growing regions create delicate versus more full bodied reds. If you open a red wine and it is quite tannic and young, you might not worry about the preserver and just close it with a cork or screw cap and enjoy the rest tomorrow. The oxygen overnight will help ease up the wine and make it much more approachable. Please know that for our reds, we track and taste them after bottling every year and typically release them when they are ready so you can just open and enjoy.
If you are opening a 20-30 year old Bordeaux, chances are it is pretty delicate, so these I would recommend you enjoy on the night and do your best not to have any leftovers aye… What I like to do is have a taste as soon as I open the bottle, see how it tastes and chances are for me, I’ll rarely need to let them breathe. I then enjoy each glass and have a lovely conversation with the wine.
Similarly an aged vintage Champagne will have generally have very refined and delicate bubbles so you would want to enjoy the bottle at its best on the night.
It does depend on how sweet and how it is made but in general you can keep an opened bottle of sweet for a few weeks in the fridge. For myself, I don’t actually use a preserver and I find they can keep for months. And if you use a wine preserver then you are even more set. I would recommend a non battery operated one which I might invest in and use, given I leave it for months, I might outlast the battery!