Preventing wine spoilage
William 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 http://cseweb.ucsd.edu/~wgg/Wine/serving.html.
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
- storage in a smaller bottle
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.“