Back to Basics: I need closure Part 1/4! Seal the deal to enjoy it tomorrow.

15 02 2010

Preservers Montage 1

Preservers Montage 1 © Tales From the Trellis, 2010

Part 1 of 4 – Wine Preservation Overview

One important question that I hear all the time is what do you do with the bottle if you are unable to finish it right then and there. As more and more people are drinking wine, many new products are being created or updated – and are hitting the market to capitalize on the trend.

I run into this situation from time to time – but clearly the best way to avoid this situation is to enjoy it all so this won’t come up. Ok, seriously, that is not a good idea if you are driving or operating heavy machinery.

As I mentioned in an earlier post about storing your wine, much of what is out on the shelves is for immediate consumption. This also means that once opened, the shelf-life will fade very fast. Oxidation (aka maderization) is the enemy here. So, what to do to prolong this and be able to enjoy it later?

There are many products in stores that can help extend the life of the wine once opened. Over the years, I think I have purchased and tried just about all of them. I will speak to some of the newer products with interesting use of technology and features in a later post.

I have tried many methods and tricks and have come  to this conclusion. Hurry!  These gadgets work to remove the oxygen and create a vacuüm that can help slow down (never prevent) the eventual spoilage from oxidation. Cooler is also better!

There are three basic catch-all categories of preservers that I will be discussing here:

  • 1) Pumps: Manual or battery/ac charged pump that works like a tire pump, but instead of putting air in, it takes it out and forms a seal. “I’m tellin ya baby, that’s not mine”– Austin Powers 1997 (warning: possibly NSFW).  Sharper Image, Vino Vac and Houdini are three widely available models.
  • 2) Gas Injectors: A pricier option that I have used on my finest and most expensive bottles. Producers like PEK puts an inert layer of gas on top of the wine, so that air can not get to it.
  • 3) Change the Vessel: Easiest and cheapest option (and sometimes used with either 1 or 2). Simply buy a half bottle of your favorite wine, or ask a friend that has an empty half bottle you can use.  Alternately, there are decanter “wine saver sets” on the market. The concept with this third option is to change (reduce) the percentage of wine exposed to the air.

I will be expanding on the above mentioned methods in upcoming posts to break down these options and speak to the pros and cons of each. Stay tuned!

Thanks for your participation, as always.

Steve from the Trellis

steve@talesfromthetrellis.com

© Tales from the Trellis 2010

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4 responses

15 02 2010
Lisa Nielsen

Great info. I especially like the last out-of-the-box thinking. Get a half bottle…brilliant. While finishing a bottle once opened is rarely an issue for me, can you share how long each of the above methods typically preserves a bottle. If I’m correct, it also varies depending on the type of wine…sweet lasts longest, white is next, and red has a short life-I think.

15 02 2010
trellis66

Lisa, thanks so much for your excellent questions and thoughts. True that is all depends on the type of wine, the vintage and of course the conditions. Actually, the whites (most) have a shorter life than the reds. But again, depends on where, when and which. Overall, yes, ports, late harvest rieseling, top quality riesling, and sauterne happen to have a long lifespan overall.

24 02 2010
martacurry

I would love to learn more about the hardware costs associated with all three methods. Although I rarely buy anything above $20 (that applies to everything apart from eyeglasses and shoes), it would be great to know how I can preserve ‘nicer’ bottles for a couple of days, if need be.

24 02 2010
trellis66

Marta,
I am going to be publishing the rest of the series in the next few days. I can tell (without giving anything away) in the meantime that you can do this most cost effectively by using the “other vessel” method in the most current preservation post. Costs for some of these methods range from 0-hundreds.
Thanks for you question!

Steve from the Trellis

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