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Tips on How to Preserve an Open Bottle of Red Wine

August 6, 2019

In each of our newsletters, we want to give you some practical knowledge about winemaking, drinking, or in this case, preserving.

So what do you do with a bottle of red wine after you open it? I realize for some of you, this is a rarely encountered problem; however, for the rest of you, read on.

There are three principal external factors that will impact your red wine’s ability to continue to be enjoyable after it’s been opened: air, heat and light. All of these have to do with oxidizing the wine, which causes chemical degradation — it begins to taste bad. Clearly, once opened, wine is exposed to more oxygen in the air. So seal it with a cork or a non-porous stopper. Heat speeds up the oxidizing of the wine and light can add heat, so store it in a dark, cold place.

Generally, an opened bottle of red wine, if resealed with a cork and put in a cool, dark place, will last 3-5 days — personally, I’ve never met a third day bottle of wine at my house, unless it got hidden behind a one day bottle. Storing the bottle upright will expose less surface area of the wine to the oxygen that’s in the bottle, helping it to last longer.

What about putting the bottle in the fridge? Yes, a refrigerator can serve all these purposes, but the pros discourage this. A fridge is a bit colder than is ideal to store red wine, even a previously opened bottle. If you can find a cool, dark place with a temperature closer to 55 than 42, like a wine cellar, wine cooler, or basement.

Of course, you can invest in one of many devices that will take the oxygen out of the bottle and extend the lifespan. You can go really top shelf and buy a Coravin wine system. With a Coravin, as you extract the wine from the bottle, the air is replaced by argon gas. Theoretically, you could sample this bottle over months. Maybe even years. Why you would ever want to do that is beyond me. But so is a bottle of Petrus.

There are principally two inherent factors about your red wine that can also give it longevity: more tannin or acidity. Because of its high tannins, a Bordeaux will last longer than a light red wine like a Pinot. Conclusion: Only drink the Sixmilebridge Estate Cuvée. It’s a Bordeaux blend.

If you’d like the opportunity to purchase Sixmilebridge from our inaugural 2016 vintage, you can signup for our allocation here.

It only asks you for your name, email and zip code. By signing up, you are not obligating yourself to anything. It only means you will receive an offer to purchase of our 2016 wine in October — you can purchase all, some or none of the allocation. Your choice.

And to learn more lifesaving tips for wine drinking, please visit our Sixmilebridge blog here.