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Preservation Power: “Airing” On the Side of Protecting Your Wine

Tuesday, April 15th, 2008 at 3:47:33 PM
by Erika S., Wine Enthusiast Companies

With decanting, we refer to the benefits of air on wine, yet for preservation, air becomes an enemy. Why is this?

Wine can only take so much air before crying out, “mercy!” A half-hour of air exposure for an old wine or a few hours for a young tannic red can help a wine express itself. However, longer periods of time begin to damage the wine. As oxygen starts to integrate with the wine, it expands the chemical compounds, called phenolics, that give your wine its unique character. A small amount of air opens them up, while air exposure over a long period of time causes the compounds to spread apart and dissipate. The wine will lose all of its wonderful aromas and flavors and ultimately turn sour. This is where preservation comes in.

An unfinished bottle of wine has empty space in it which fills up with air that begins to change your wine. If you’d like to keep your wine fresh for a few extra days, preservation is a method of sucking the air out of the empty space so that less oxygen gets to your wine. There are plenty of preservation tools, in all shapes and sizes.

Vacu VinMy personal favorite is the traditional Vacu Vin Vacuum wine saver. It’s a small accessory that you can keep in your kitchen drawer. You simply place the Vacu Vin atop the bottle of wine and give it a few pumps until the oxygen is sucked out. You reseal the bottle with the stoppers provided. Use of the Vacu Vin will buy you many more days of fresh, drinkable wine. A Vacu Vin is essential if you plan on sampling more wine than you can drink in a night, or for any budding enthusiast.

Another option is to add an inert gas like nitrogen or argon which forces the air out. Don’t worry, the gas won’t harm your wine. Many large wine dispenser systems you see in restaurants and wine bars utilize this method. Our Private Preserve is a great example of this type of tool, as is the PEK Wine Steward and the Winekeeper.

Check out this video as an example, it brings the Private Preserve to life.

YouTube Preview Image

If you’re not ready for a preservation tool, you can pop your wine in the refrigerator, if only kept for a few days. The temperature will slow down the oxidation process. You can even do this for red wines. To maximize my preservation power, I typically use my Vacu Vin and the refrigerator as well. Folks looks at me like I’m crazy sometimes, but it works! Just be sure to let your red wine come back up to temperature before serving.

I hope these tips will serve you well to maximize your own Preservation Power. What are some of your favorite methods? Leave a comment!

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