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Storing Your Leftover Wine

A sparkling-wine stopper, a device that fits over the opened bottle and keeps it closed, is really effective in keeping any remaining Champagne or sparkling wine fresh (often for several days) in the refrigerator. But what do you do when you have red or white wine left in the bottle?

You can put the cork back in the bottle if it still fits, and put the bottle into the refrigerator. (Even red wines stay fresher there; just take the bottle out to warm up an hour or so before serving it.) But four other methods are more reliable in keeping your remaining wine from oxidizing:

  • If you have about half a bottle of wine left, you can simply pour the wine into a clean, empty half-sized wine bottle and recork the smaller bottle.

  • You can use a handy, inexpensive, miniature pump that you can buy in any wine store, called a Vac-U-Vin. This pump removes the oxygen from the bottle, and the rubber stoppers that come with it keep additional oxygen from entering the bottle. It's supposed to keep your wine fresh for up to a week, but it doesn't work with all wines.

  • You can buy small cans of inert gas in some wine stores. Just squirt a few shots of the gas into the bottle through a skinny straw, which comes with the can, and put the cork back in the bottle. The gas acts as a layer between the wine and the oxygen in the bottle, thus protecting the wine from oxidizing. Simple and effective. Private Preserve is one of the better brands; it is highly recommended.

  • A new device, called WineSavor, is a flexible plastic disk that you roll up and insert down the neck of the bottle. Once inside the bottle, the disk opens up and floats on top of the wine, blocking the wine from oxygen.

To avoid all this bother, just drink the wine! Or, if you're not too fussy, just place the leftover wine in the refrigerator and drink it within a day or two — before it goes into a coma.

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