Opened a bottle of wine at home but can’t finish it? Allow us to show you how to properly store it.

Once a bottle of wine is opened, it goes bad quickly — usually within a week. Oxidisation and exposure to air will change its flavour profile and also colour. Then, you’ll end up with something bland, has more tannin, or tastes sour and astringent, depending on how tainted the wine becomes.

But don’t let that stop you from opening that bottle of wine. Not all hope is lost — allow us to enlighten you with these fool-proof tips on storing opened wine. This is especially helpful if you live alone and can’t necessarily finish an entire bottle of wine in one sitting. You’ll want to keep those expensive wines tasting delicious and fresh.

Re-cork it right

You can preserve your wine well if you replace the cork correctly. Use the same stained side of the cork to keep the wine ‘clean’ if you’re planning to pour another glass in a day or two.

Use the existing cork to seal wine bottle if you aren’t planning to finish the entire bottle at one go. (Credit: Marcelo Leal/Unsplash)

Wine Stoppers

If you accidentally threw the cork or screw caps away, use a wine stopper that’s made of plaster or metal to create an air-tight seal for opened wine. It is the best alternative if you’re not able to fit the original cork back into the bottleneck. There are also stoppers designed specifically for sparkling wines, so you don’t lose as much fizz when you’re planning to enjoy it the next day.

Exposure to air and natural light can tremendously affect the quality of your favourite wine. (Credit: Jeff Siepman/Unsplash)

Rebottle your wine

Air flattens your wine, and along with it affecting its flavours and aromas through oxidisation. Use a funnel to transfer the remaining vino into a smaller screw-cap half bottle (recycled tall mason jars work as well) to minimise air exposure. This helps to maintain the quality of your wine within the next few days.

Refrigerate immediately

Cooler temperatures cannot stop exposed wine from breaking down, but it can surely slow down the process significantly. Refrigerating also keeps the bottle out of light, which is best for storing both red or white wines longer.

Store opened wine in dim-lit spaces. (Credit: Hermes Rivera/Unsplash)

Avoid sunlight

Exposure to light can be devastating for opened wine. Any source of natural light can cause a build-up of heat inside the bottle, speeding up the oxidisation process. If you don’t have a wine cellar, you can store opened wine bottles in low-light wine racks or in the refrigerator to avoid exposure to UV rays that can degrade the wine — it’s the very reason why red wine comes in darker coloured glass bottles.

Use a vacuum pump

Wine connoisseurs will also agree that the vacuum pump is an inexpensive way to preserve opened wine, especially for red variations. Reduce as much air from the ullage in the open bottle by literally sucking it out using the vacuum pump. 

And if you’re not able to finish the opened wines within the week, you can also use them for cooking. Make pasta sauces, deglaze roast pans, and enhance flavours of stews or marinate meats.

(Featured/Hero image: Pinterest)

Martin Teo
Content Editor
Martin loves traveling the world to see ancient ruins and classical architecture. He enjoys the culinary experience of various cities but (still) refuses to eat anything insect-like. On a daily basis, he finds time hitting the gym to compensate for the amount of food he needs to eat just to write an article.