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How to store an open bottle


Best Drink Up
The obvious solution to this problem is not to let it occur at all. But if the eye is bigger than the appetite, help is at hand.


A well-sealed, fairly full bottle will remain fresh in the fridge for a considerable time if stored upright. An average cru bourgeois will stay drinkable for a week or more. You must remember to let it warm up to room temperature before drinking it. On the whole, reds last far better than whites.


When putting a cork back in a bottle be sure to put it back the way it originally came out. This is particularly important for older vintages if you don't want the wine exposed to the dirt and mould which may have built up under the capsule.


Stand The Bottle Upright
Oxygen is the enemy of wine. When storing a recorked bottle, stand it up to ensure the minimum surface area of wine is in contact with the air.


Try Using A Half Bottle
Save half bottles. Pouring unused wine into a clean half bottle reduces the surface area open to the air. If the bottle is full and sealed with a clean, fresh cork, the wine inside may keep for years. Remember not to wash your halves out with detergent or washing up liquid as the residue may taint the wine.


Vacuum Pumps
Sucking the air out of the bottle with a Vacuvin can help a wine keep longer. These devices, available from supermarkets and kitchen supply shops for about £6 (US$9), use a pump with a special rubber bung to create a partial vacuum in the bottle. This reduces the amount of air in contact with the wine.


Give It Some Gas
A layer of inert gas can help protect wine from oxidation. Several systems exist, but the most suitable for home use is WineSaver. It squirts a mixture of nitrogen and Carbon Dioxide into the bottle. The gas covers the surface of the wine and prevents air from getting to it. This method preserves wine in a decanter too.


A Champagne saver is a vital accessory if a sparkling wine is to retain its fizz. The best designs have arms which clip down over the collar around the neck of the bottle as the press down variety have a tendency to fly off rather dramatically. Check for a good strong spring to ensure an adequate seal.


The Silver Spoon Trick
Some premium Champagne bottles, such as those of Dom Pérignon or Taittinger's Comtes de Champagne have necks which are too narrow for many Champagne savers. Whilst one can try the old trick of placing a silver spoon in the neck of the bottle, the only real solution is to trim the cork with a knife and reinsert, being sure to wire the cage back on well.


Should all else fail
All is not lost. A grand cru classe makes a great wine vinegar or a superb base for salad dressing.



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