How To Keep Red Wine Fresh

Being a fan of wine, there is nothing more frustrating than uncorking a bottle of red wine and discovering it has spoiled. The flavor is off, the smell is unappealing, and all the pleasure is …

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Being a fan of wine, there is nothing more frustrating than uncorking a bottle of red wine and discovering it has spoiled. The flavor is off, the smell is unappealing, and all the pleasure is ruined. However, don’t worry! I have a few proven tricks to help preserve red wine’s freshness for as long as possible, so you can relish every sip without any letdowns.

1. Store it at the right temperature

Temperature plays a crucial role in maintaining the freshness of red wine. Ideally, you should store it at a consistent temperature between 55-65 degrees Fahrenheit (12-18 degrees Celsius). Fluctuations in temperature can cause the wine to expand and contract, which can lead to oxidation.

It’s important to note that storing red wine in the refrigerator for an extended period is not recommended, as the temperature is too cold and can negatively impact its flavor. However, cooling it in the fridge for a short period before serving is perfectly fine.

2. Seal it properly

Avoid using the cork that came with the bottle to reseal it once it’s opened. The cork may not fit snugly back into the bottle, allowing air to enter and spoil the wine. Instead, invest in a good quality wine stopper or vacuum sealer. These tools help remove excess air from the bottle, preserving the wine’s freshness.

If you don’t have a wine stopper or vacuum sealer, you can also use plastic wrap and a rubber band to tightly cover the top of the bottle. This makeshift seal can help reduce air exposure, although it may not be as effective as specialized wine preservation tools.

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3. Keep it away from light

Exposure to light, especially sunlight and fluorescent lighting, can degrade the flavor and aroma of red wine. UV rays can break down the compounds in wine, leading to unpleasant flavors and aromas. To prevent this, store your red wine in a dark place, away from direct light.

If you’re displaying your wine collection, consider using UV-filtering glass or keeping the bottles in a cool, dark cellar. This will not only protect the wine from light but also help maintain the optimal temperature.

4. Lay it horizontally

If you have a bottle of red wine with a cork closure, storing it horizontally can help keep the cork moist and prevent it from drying out. A dry cork can allow air to seep into the bottle, leading to oxidation and spoilage. By storing the bottle on its side, the wine stays in contact with the cork, helping to maintain its integrity.

However, if your red wine has a screw cap or synthetic cork, storing it upright is perfectly fine and may even be preferable to prevent any potential leakage.

Conclusion

By following these tips, you can ensure that your red wine stays fresh and flavorful for longer periods. Remember to store it at the right temperature, seal it properly, keep it away from light, and if applicable, lay it horizontally. Cheers to enjoying a perfectly preserved bottle of red wine!

John has been a hobbyist winemaker for several years, with a few friends who are winery owners. He writes mostly about winemaking topics for newer home vintners.
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