Is oxygen a wine’s friend of its most hateful enemy? I guess, oxygen could be both, in the right amounts, oxygen can help open up all the goodness in a wine and release all its aromas and flavors, this is why we decant wines and often swirl them in a glass, but the truth is that once we open any bottle of wine and wine is exposed to oxygen, a bacterial process kicks in, eventually turning wine into vinegar.
Chillax! this process doesn’t happen instantly, it takes some time and this is why it’s so important to drink wine right away, or in a few days.... However, there are few gadgets in the market, that can help prevent oxidation and give wine a longer life after the cork has been pulled up. Most of these gadgets will displace the air/oxygen from your bottle, either by vacuuming or pumping the air out, by adding inert gas or by using a substance that absorbs oxygen.
I happen to own the two gadgets recommended below, a little gift I gave recently to myself.
picture courtesy of Coravin
Coravin has been in the business of preserving wines for years, and they have many models, I just happened to choose the most affordable one. Coravin 3
will allow you to pour wine without pulling the cork. How? by inserting its super thin wine needle into the cork. Once you press the handle, wine comes out and argon gas enters the bottle, protecting the remaining wine from oxidation. Because corks are elastic, the little puncture on the cork inflicted by the needle will seal itself again, allowing you to keep your wines for years. Always make sure to keep your bottles flat, so that wine is in contact with the cork all the time. Don't ever keep your bottles standing up, since then, the corks will dry and shrink, allowing oxygen inside the bottle that will eventually ruin your wine.
This system is great but only works on natural corks, it doesn’t work on synthetic corks (because they don’t seal again), though my set came with a capsule that can be used for screw cap bottles and synthetic corks, but in this case the preservation will last only a few months. This system will cost you around $149 and up, plus the gas capsules. I know, it's kind of expensive, but for me, it’s great! since it allows me to pour tiny amounts of wines to taste the many bottles I receive to review and keep them to enjoy at my leisure, at a later date. Thanks to Coravin, I'm no longer dumping any wine in my kitchen sink.
picture courtesy of Repour
The Repour is much cheaper than the Coravin, $18 for 12. The Repour is basically a wine stopper that has a package inside that absorbs oxygen, and of course when there’s no oxygen, no bacteria can spoil the wine. Each stopper is good for 1 bottle, having the ability to keep your wine good for up to two months. It’s also good for the environment, since it’s made from 100% recycled materials. It was invented by Tom Lutz, a PhD in Chemistry, who thought to apply the same oxygen absorbers that have been used in the food industry for many years, to wines. Each stopper can reduce oxygen in the bottle to less 0.08 %. You could use each stopper up to 5 times or pours, which is normally what you would do when you open a bottle of wine, in this case, the bottles should be kept vertically, not horizontally like with the Coravin, for the Repour to do its job. After 5 uses, you will dispose used Repours when you recycle.
So, there you have it! Two great ways to extend the shelf lives of your wines, that I hope you will find useful. Off to the Chianti Consorzio tasting in NY... yes after 14 months, in person tastings are back! I will tell you all about it in my next post. Cheers! Silvina.
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