Does nitrogen really help preserve opened bottles of wine?

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Dear Dr. Vinny,

I’ve heard that nitrogen can stop wine from going bad when you’ve opened a bottle and poured just one glass. I am lucky to have a nitrogen generator in the factory I work for. Have you had any experience on how to get this nitrogen into the bottle?

—Alain H., Negombo, Sri Lanka

Dear Alain,

Please step away from the nitrogen generator! Here in the United States, wine consumers can buy cylinders of compressed nitrogen specifically made for wine preservation. A quick squirt is all people need; the inert gas fills up the extra space in the bottle. The nitrogen displaces the air, which is good because the longer an open bottle of wine is exposed to oxygen, the more it will begin to fade.

I know it’s tempting to use science to help preserve open bottles of wine, but messing around with an industrial nitrogen generator sounds like it could be dangerous, so I can’t recommend it. Here’s another method: simply transfer your leftover wine to a smaller container, where less of its surface is exposed to oxygen, and keep it in your refrigerator, which will slow down oxidation. With this method, you might be able to enjoy the wine for a few days before you notice any changes.

—Dr. Vinny

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