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,
I am a wine salesman, traveling with wine in the trunk of the car. Does using the vacuum pump do any good once the bottle is being moved around, carried, etc.? A friend says the pump only does its job right if you don't move the bottle around much, otherwise the movement does put the wine in contact with the small amount of oxygen still in the bottle and renders the vacuum pumping ineffective. Thanks.
—Donn R., Oakland, Calif.
I've never had much success with those vacuum pumps—in my experience, they don't offer much added protection from oxygen. Sloshing a half-full (or half-empty, depending on what kind of day you're having) bottle around will indeed expose the wine to more air, thus losing its freshness. My best advice is to 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.
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