Preventing wine spoilage


Glass of White WineWilliam G. Griswold from the department of computer science & engineering, University of California, San Diego, is also known as The San Diego Wine Dilettante and in this capacity has written about Storing, Serving, and Drinking Wine at

In the section on Finishing and Saving he says:

“If you are not finishing the wine, you probably want to store it so that you can drink it at a later time. A typical wine left overnight without any special handling will not be drinkable due to oxidation. On the other hand, a wine that did not fully open up during the first night of drinking may well be better with a night to continue evolving.

There are four complementary solutions, all of which minimize the effect of oxidation on the wine: 

  • vacuum corking
  • gassing
  • storage in a smaller bottle
  • refrigeration

Vacuum corking works for the short term, longer if the wine started a little closed in the first place. Laying down a gas blanket works better, but a wine will still react a little with the “neutral” gas or continue interacting with the air mixed in earlier. There is some debate about which gasses work best, but I haven’t experimented.

A small bottle, of course, reduces the amount of oxygen in the bottle, but pouring into the smaller bottle is tedious and exposes the wine to more air. I use half-bottles and quarter-bottles that I’ve saved. Refrigeration is controversial. Some feel that refrigeration “kills” a wine–even a white. I disagree, but if the wine is a red, it needs to be allowed to warm up some before drinking.

Whatever you choose, don’t spend a lot of money on contraptions; the cheap ones work fine if used properly.

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