How I Drink Red Wine Over Two Evenings

This process has improved my wine-drinking over the past few years, greatly reducing the number of times a wine lost itself or started to smell/taste funky by the second night:

  • Open the bottle.
  • Drink what you’d like.
  • When you’re through for the evening, pump air and wine-spoiling oxygen out of it with a $12 Vacu Vin (here’s a demo on You Tube).
  • Put the bottle in the fridge.
  • The next late afternoon, two to three hours before you’d like a glass of wine, remove the bottle from the fridge and set it on the counter (out of the sun).
  • When it’s wine time, open and enjoy.

If need be, you can sometimes push this to a third night (depends on the wine). The Vacu Vin part is the obvious tip, as we’ve all seen these preservation systems presented in stores. I’ve tried the one where you spray inert gas into the bottle before corking it, but I couldn’t taste much difference the next night. It’s also kind of creepy.

On temperature: I’ve long been a proponent of giving almost all red wines a half-hour chill before drinking, so for me the fridge isn’t a weird place for a Malbec to find itself. (The Wine Merchant in St. Louis, where I bought almost all our wine before moving abroad, advises using the ‘30-Minute Rule’ almost aways: Before opening/drinking, put red wines in the fridge for 30, take whites out for 30.) But the question I had, and which I posed to STLwinegirl Angela Ortmann, was this: Yes, putting the red wine in the fridge overnight would help reduce additional oxidation, but isn’t temperature fluctuation also bad for wine? Would I lose more than I gained? Angela’s answer to me was basically: That’s minor fluctuation. You’d see greater benefits with the fridge-overnight route, since oxidation is the central villain. Containing it means better wine.

Related: A feature I wrote for St. Louis Magazine called “What We Talk About When We Talk About Wine,” which includes nods to both Angela and the Merch. (The PDF version of the article is much prettier to look at.)