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June 16, 2006

Well Preserved? How to Keep an Open Bottle of Wine Fresh Forever

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A few months back, I posted about freshness and offered to tell the world my secret for keeping an open bottle of wine fresh forever.

Once a bottle is opened, a series of chemical reactions takes place that at slower or faster rate depending on the wine, ruins it. The wine oxidizes, loses its fruit and just goes bad. No different than milk or vegetables.

So, clever marketers over the years have developed many, mostly expensive ways, to preserve wine. The basic theory is about keeping the wine away from oxygen. Inert gas (nitrogen, argon or CO2) can be squirted into a bottle, or there are gizmos that try to pump out the air from a bottle and create a vacuum. Problem is that for all the trouble and expense, these products don't work as well as another, essentially free way to achieve the same thing.

Wine is really no different than anything else. Keeping the wine fresh tasting is about slowing down the chemical processes that destroy it once its open. So, if you want to keep your orange juice from spoiling, you keep it in the fridge. And, you probably know, if you want to keep your orange juice from spoiling indefinately, put it in the freezer.

That's right, the best way to preserve an open bottle of wine is to FREEZE IT.

Put the screw cap back on or shove the cork firmly in the bottle, stand it up either on the door or lay it down on the shelf of the freezer and forget about it. (make sure that you have removed at least a few inches of wine from the bottle before freezing).

When you want to drink the wine, take it out of the freezer and let it defrost it in the fridge for a few hours. Or, I do something that still seems really naughty, but works: Zap it. Yup, just put it in the microwave, giving it 30 second shots and when it is still slushy, take it out, give it a few shakes and let if finish defrosting. You do not want the wine to get warm or it will blow the cork. It works, just be careful.

In my freezer, there is an average of about five bottles of open wine. Reds, whites sweet and dry. Some of them are in there for a year or more. When I get back to them, they taste as nice and fresh as the day I opened them. Oh, and it doesn't work on Champagne, unless you like it without the bubbles.

There is one potential downside to this, which I will discuss next week.

Posted by Jason at June 16, 2006 2:53 AM

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Comments

What's the potential downside?

Posted by: Mark at June 30, 2006 5:02 PM

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