7 Ways to Save Wine Without a Cork (Keep Your Vino Fresh!)

How to save wine without a cork

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Here’s a situation most of us can relate to.

You’ve had a few friends over for dinner. The food was wonderful, each of your friends had a glass of wine or two but somehow there’s wine leftover. The wine was fantastic, and you’d like to save what’s left for the next day, but you don’t want it to go bad.

What is the best way to preserve a bottle of wine after it’s been opened?

In this article I’ll outline 7 ways to save wine without a cork.

A Brief Review Wine Storage Basics

Generally speaking, the guidelines for storing unopened wine also apply to wine that has been uncorked.

Light, air, and sustained temperatures above 68°F (20°C) are an open bottle of wine’s sworn enemies. Anything you can do to mitigate the effects of these elements will help preserve your cherished vino!

If possible, you should seal the opened wine bottle and store it upright in a cool place like a wine fridge or the refrigerator in your kitchen.

Now that we’ve gone over the basics, here are 7 ways to save wine without a cork!

Method #1: Re-Cork the Bottle Right Away

One of the first things you should do is get into the habit of re-corking your bottle of wine right away.

I’ve been a wine enthusiast for years and I’ve always done this.

I re-cork any bottle of wine I’ve opened as a preventative measure. I figure if the bottle gets knocked over with the cork in it, I won’t have a mess to clean up! It turns out that re-corking a bottle of wine is also a great way to minimize the wine’s exposure to oxygen, delaying the effects of oxidation.

After you pour a glass of wine, put the cork back into the bottle.

Personally, I insert the “clean” end of the cork into the bottle’s opening. That end usually expands less than the side that was in contact with the wine while the bottle was in storage.

Re-corked wine bottle

This technique assumes that you still have the cork. If one of your guests has carelessly tossed it in the garbage, you’ll have to evaluate the other methods on this list!

Method #2: Use Plastic Wrap or Aluminum Foil

If you don’t have the cork that came out of the wine bottle, you’ll have to improvise.

Cap the open wine bottle using plastic wrap or aluminum foil then wrap an elastic around your makeshift assembly to ensure an airtight seal.

This method works well, it uses common items that most of us have in our kitchens, and I feel like MacGyver just thinking about it!

Method #3: Use a Wine Stopper

I think these are actually bottle stoppers but since we’re recommending them to preserve an opened bottle of wine, I’ll take some artistic license and call them wine stoppers!

If fashioning makeshift cork out of plastic wrap or aluminum foil is unappealing, you may want to keep a supply of wine stoppers on hand.

These silicone bottle stoppers I found on Amazon are great for preserving an open bottle of wine and they feature silly captions that make me smile every time I look at them!

Method #4: Use a Vacuum Seal

So far, the methods we’ve examined have all sealed an open bottle to limit the wine’s exposure to oxygen.

Use a vacuum seal to remove oxygen from your wine bottle to limit the effects of oxidation before sealing it up!

The Vacu Vin Wine Saver Pump is the original wine saver.

Made in the Netherlands and trusted by wine enthusiasts for decades, this device is an investment that will pay for itself the first time you use it… assuming you enjoy decent, moderately priced wines worth preserving for an additional day or two (wink, wink!).

Method #5: Use an Inert Gas Wine Preserver

If you want a truly “next level” wine preservation system, you need to remember the name Coravin.

The Coravin wine system lets enthusiasts pour any wine in any amount without removing the cork.

Think about that for a minute. You can pour a glass of any wine that you like… and you’re not limited to the wines that you have open. That’s the magic of the Coravin wine system.

The Coravin Model Two Wine Preservation System comes with a Teflon needle that gently pierces the cork in your wine bottle, allowing you to pour a glass or two of your favorite wine while replacing the volume of extracted wine with ultra-pure argon gas. This ensures the remaining wine will taste great for years to come.

Method #6: Pour the Leftover Wine into a Smaller Bottle

Some wines are available in smaller bottles. These smaller bottles hold half as much wine as a standard 750 ml (25oz) wine bottle, coming in at 375ml (13oz).

If you’re lucky, your favorite wine will be available in this smaller format. Even if it’s not, consider buying one or two smaller bottles of wine then hang on to them and wash them out when they’re empty.

Any time you can’t finish a bottle of wine, you simply pour whatever’s left over into the smaller bottles. There won’t be as room for air in the smaller bottle after you fill it with wine. Less air means less oxidation.

It’s a creative and functional strategy for preserving any wine you can’t finish.

Method #7: Switch to Boxed Wine

I suspect this method will be controversial. Many wine enthusiasts believe that only low-quality wines come in boxes.

I’m not going to weigh in on that debate. I’m here to offer solutions.

Boxed wines typically contain a plastic bag (or bladder) with a convenient spout mounted toward the bottom of the box. One of the advantages of buying boxed wines is they will keep for a long time because the wine is never exposed to air.

You simply place your glass under the spout and pour yourself a glass of wine whenever the mood strikes!

The difficulty with a boxed wine is that it can be difficult to tell how much wine is left… and your favorite wine might not be available in this type of packaging.

Now You Know!

There are many ways to preserve leftover wine from a dinner party or social gathering with friends.

With the exception of Coravin’s inert gas wine preservation system, these techniques merely delay the inevitable. But, if you’re not able to finish a bottle of wine, it’s much better to be able to enjoy it a day or two later than to pour it down the drain.

Salut!

By Michael

Chief mixologist and cocktail enthusiast at Swizzle Club.