On average, a properly stored bottle of wine loses its optimal taste and richness within about three days to a week after opening. Lighter wines with fewer tannins, such as a Pinot noir, are even more short-lived. There are numerous environmental threats to an opened bottle of vino, but the two most pervasive are over-exposure to air, which leads to oxidation, and bacteria that can cause other forms of spoilage. In short, unless you do something to preserve a favorite wine (such as committing it to memory by drinking the whole bottle at once), that fine Merlot basically begins turning to vinegar within a matter of days. Here are three ways to help preserve the character of your favorite label for much longer.
Some preservation systems allow you to pour from the bottle without ever removing the cork. Coravin
The most sophisticated wine-preservation systems use vacuum-sealing to prevent oxidation. Some devices rely on CO2 cartridges while others are manual, and the most expensive incorporate a pressurized, self-sealing pouring system that allows the connoisseur to serve and then store a prized bottle without ever removing the cork.
Preventing air from entering a wine bottle slows down the oxidation process. Vacu Vin
For a simpler solution, consider a manual vacuum-seal device with removable stoppers. This low-tech alternative is far more affordable than a gas-operated system, but manual sealers do require you to remove the vineyard’s cork, which could lead to spoilage or leaking if the seal is not airtight.
If you can’t afford a high-end bottle topper, even something as simple as a stainless steel stopper is better than using nothing at all. ERHIRY
Even without the vacuum function, a basic bottle stopper will at least prevent unwanted exposure to air. Auxiliary stoppers are particularly useful on those occasions when the house sommelier and self-proclaimed grill master fumbles his presentation and the cork ends up inside the bottle. Unless you plan to finish the wine upon opening, a surrogate stopper is essential.