ask dr. vinny

Hello there! I'm Dr. Vinifera, or "Vinny" for short. Ask me your toughest wine questions, from the technical aspects of winemaking to the fine points of etiquette. I hope you find my answers educational and even amusing. Looking for a particular answer? Check my archive and my FAQs. You can also follow me on Twitter: @AskDrVinny.


Dear Dr. Vinny,

What is your opinion on those rubber stoppers that evacuate some air by a suction device that are meant to cap an already opened wine bottle? Do they really help in preserving the wine for a longer period rather than reusing the original cork?

—Luis A. del Valle, Mayaguez, Puerto Rico

Dear Luis,

I have mixed feelings about these products. On the one hand, they're inexpensive and easy to use. Many folks I respect are happy with them. On the other hand, my personal experience is that they just don't work all that well. The seals don't hold very long, so in general they work no better (or no worse) than just sticking a cork in a bottle of wine.

Personally, I prefer to deal with the problem of excess air more directly. Simply transfer the wine to a smaller container—say, one of those half-bottles or even a handy plastic water bottle. This is the surest way I know of to reduce the amount of air your leftover wine is exposed to. And stick it in the fridge, which will slow down the aging process.

There are other types of preservation systems that can help prevent wine in open bottles from oxidizing. But no matter what method you use to preserve the wine, most wines will start to fade after a couple of days.

—Dr. Vinny


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