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How long does a bottle of wine last after it is opened? (vinography.com)
305 points by devilcius 42 days ago | hide | past | favorite | 305 comments

Go to Airgas and buy a 40# argon tank meant for welding. Thirty seconds will displace the air in a nearly empty wine bottle threefold. The tank will last years.

One stops worrying about bottle boundaries. One buys magnums. ("A difficult size, too much for one but not enough for two.") There is a faint mellowing effect by the next day, but nothing like the effect of oxygen.

We sometimes deliberately skip argon. In Italy you know you're tight when friends serve yesterday's wine. Those wines need the abuse. Most wines don't handle the abuse of an open day well.

Scale matters. There are $300 units made of cheap plastic aimed at wine "connoisseurs". The cartridge is the same size I'd carry mountain biking, to fill one inner tube on an emergency basis. That's supposed to last 50 bottles? How stupid does the manufacturer think I am?

Yes, argon is heavier than air, but there's this thing called diffusion. There's argon in the air around us; if argon cleanly separated from air and formed a bottom layer, we'd all suffocate when we lay on the floor. Obviously, we don't. Put it together.

I'm reminded of Thomas Keller's Bouchon Bakery cookbook taking heat for proposing 350 ml of water for bread steam, poured onto 30 lbs of thermal mass such as an aluminum disk in a cake pan. That also generates enough steam to displace the volume of an oven threefold. A commercial bread oven depends on serious steam for the first few minutes; this is a home approximation. People liked the idea of spritzing 10 ml of water from a plant spritzer, and were offended Keller did the science. They were just genuflecting.

One can wait months to obtain medical grade argon. It's the same process, only tested to confirm the fact that the process doesn't introduce toxins.

My wife is a practical engineer; she indulges every exploration like this. Some take. This one took. A standard after-dinner question is "Did you argon the wine?"

Off topic, but, do you blog? This comment led me to quickly read some of your priors (something I rarely do) and you have some good stories/experiences. Kinda blog I’d like reading

Thank you? The place I pontificate the most, where I understand my audience, is the Komodo Kamado forum (the best ceramic BBQ made, by Art Linkletter's grandson who I've come to know): https://komodokamadoforum.com/profile/249-syzygies/

I'm known there for a "smoke pot" system for controlling smoke, and doing the math on creating steam for bread.

As a mathematician, I'm best known for my "seven shuffles" card shuffling work with Persi Diaconis, the computer algebra system "Macaulay" (too much C code), and being the math consultant for "A Beautiful Mind".

I really shouldn't blog. I'm still trying to come up with an understandable proof of the Poincare Conjecture.

and being the math consultant for "A Beautiful Mind"

I love Hacker News

Maybe you should blog. I love your writing, here and in past comments.

By the way, curious about your reference to Italy and wine in the above comment. I'm from Italy and thought you could be from there, or at least had an experience in Italy.

I've probably lived there six months, in pieces. I love the islands off Sicily.

A Beautiful Mind was a great movie, congrats for participating in such a nice contribution to popular culture. Do you write on window glass? ;)

Yes. I was Russell Crowe's hand double. If it wasn't his head showing it was me.

He got the idea of acrylic nails to make his (our) hands longer like Nash. I'd be out in the village drinking with friends, and they'd point out my hands, describing the story. No one bought it. Then I'd say I was a Barbra Streisand impersonator. That I could sell, there was probably one in every bar down the street.

I got my nails done at the same NJ salon that Edie Falco used for the Sopranos. The woman who had promised to do the work was on a Caribbean cruise, so she phoned in. She asked me if I was doing anything else on the film besides being Russell's hand double? I told her I was also his love double.

"Will you be needing an extension for that too?"

What a delightful anecdote! Such a rich set of experiences. Is your last name also the name of a major German pharma corp?

> I told her I was also his love double.

In stitches right now. Did you get to hang out with Russell Crowe, Paul Bettany and Jennifer Connelly? Must be fun being a celeb :D

EDIT: you are in the pen ceremony as well! Wow I need to rewatch this urgently, it's definitely one of my favorite movies and I'll be on the lookout for the cameo :)

EDIT: I was born in 1992, watched it in theaters when I was 9. Time flies.

Not often an HN comment makes me laugh out loud.

I wonder/hope (if) it is real

> "It was supposed to be in some sense numerological gibberish, but he had the sense that it wasn't quite gibberish, and he wanted me to say what it was." And Nash was right, Bayer said: "It wasn't quite gibberish."

So what was it? The article seems to end on a cliffhanger.

That's a rabbit hole I'm happy to traverse.

In the Pentagon "War Room" scene, the walls are lined with backlit code transparencies, and Nash infers they're lattitudes and longitudes. The Art department was creating one slide at a time in Adobe Illustrator, and people can't pick random digits, so I wrote a C program to generate all the slides, that Art could control for creative effect. As the scene drew near, I was asked to pick locations along the US/Canada border, such as Starkey Corners, Maine. Russell, fearing we were making these names up, challenged Akiva to prove they existed. Luckily I had a Maine atlas in my car.

Art made an error entering a longitude by hand. It moved the spot 200 yards, so instead of pointing this out I updated the script (mistake #1). Day of filming, Art tells me they caught the mistake, and had overnighted a corrected slide just in time. The "wrong" slide matching the script in Russell's trailer was two hours away. There was no question in Akiva's mind that we should get it. We sent a driver.

Now, I knew Ron Howard would be asking me which slides were which, when we filmed the crucial scene. I asked Art so I could move slides as needed, and was told the head of Art had spent all day positioning them. I innocently found the head of Art to ask him to relay his permission.

Oops. In front of dozens of crew he eviscerated me, telling me I was assuming too great a role, I was just a consultant, I should learn my place. (My role had indeed expanded. There's too much to do on a film.)

After we each had a word with Akiva, I discovered that the soon-arriving "wrong" slide was already in perfect position for filming. I had needlessly prevailed in a confrontation I could have avoided (mistake #2).

During preproduction I had offered to Russell that if he ever wanted to use me in a joke, I was game. Russell had missed the festivities so far. Rehearsing at a map table, he feigned not knowing where one of the locations was. The room froze for what seemed an eternity; he didn't mind. I snuck up silently to point on the map. He bellowed "Fuck off! I'm acting!" and turned to match my grin.

No one laughed. Anyone surprised I hadn't already quit that day was sure I'd quit now. Russell had no idea. He came to me later, wondering why no one laughed, he thought that was funny. I told him, "I thought it was funny. Who cares what anyone else thinks!"

We then spent half a day filming in front of the now-arrived "wrong" transparency matching the script in Russell's trailer. It turned out that Russell had memorized the coordinates (I hadn't). Yikes.

Akiva and I gave each other a silent hi-five look over this. Right call, getting a driver. This could have gone badly. So many decisions on a film set are a game of chance.

I even patched things up with the head of Art. The cinematographer Roger Deakins discovered that if he pulled down the slides the wall made a great backlight. The crew could only restore the original slide pattern because I'd made a chart. There was a strong pattern to the slide colors; this would otherwise have lead to continuity gaffes that many viewers would have noticed. So it appeared at first that I was the heathen about to destroy this artwork, when I was the person in the room who saved it.

Akiva Goldsman's instruction to me was to have Nash make gradual progress on the Riemann hypothesis, after he emerged from hospitalization. This isn't historically correct, but the film is a fictionalized account. That's challenging; most mathematicians only have experience with fiction writing for for grant proposals.

For the library scene late in the film, Nash is starting to make sense. I consulted with a few people actually thinking about the Riemann hypothesis. ("Working" on it is staring into the sun.) For those blackboards, they advised me to borrow from Pierre Deligne's work in characteristic p. I made sure that missing definitions prevented anyone from actually proving the boards were wrong. "Freeze-framing the DVD" was a stock phrase for us on the set, but in fact people mostly paid attention to the acting.

As a first year graduate student, I was struck by the similarities between covering spaces in my topology course and field extensions in my algebra course. Asking Barry Mazur in the hallway, he quite mystically intoned that everything is connected. That was the basis for the student approaching Nash in the library. Russell Crowe completely winged his long response at the table. I was seriously impressed.

Earlier, I got pilloried by some for the Harvard Lecture Hall scene where Nash is institutionalized. Hey, it comes with the territory. Nash associating spacetime with the quaternions? Brian Greene gave me such a great look when I tried this line on him that I knew we had to use it. It is crazy, and the scene required crazy. Nevertheless, complex quaternions can model geometries used in physics. The quaternions and octonions extend the complex numbers, one could look there to better understand the Riemann hypothesis. The quaternions are most famously used by game developers for efficient rotations, and one keeps seeing references (here on HN!) to the octonions as deeper. I was at a tech dinner party in Berkeley where various gamers including the founder of Second Life swarmed me to share a moment "Oh! The octonions!"

For the porch scene in question, where Nash is still pretty gorped, I had him playing with a visual notation for continued fractions. The Riemann zeta function doesn't even converge where one wants to understand its zeros. Continued fractions exhibit different convergence properties, somewhat like the light cast in a a park with trees. So I could imagine a gorped Nash obsessing on continued fractions.

Fascinating read - thanks for providing so much background information on the production!

And to add to the others, you should really blog about all this, or write a book.

The movie did receive much flak for taking too much creative liberties with Sylvia Nasser's book, and being too much of a Hollywood Conspiracy film.

This is the most beautiful thread I've read on Hacker News. Thank you.

thank you for commenting this, it lead to an amazing thread.

This comment is a good reminder that you don't need the argon if you just drink the bottle.

To paraphrase a bartender at a bar I've been to a few times, "I'm not 16 anymore; I drink wine by the bottle."

Just drink it with one friend, bottle finished.

Don't do this. Industrial argon isn't necessarily clean enough for food-grade purposes and may well contain unknown / poisonous substances. You should know better than to make hazardous recommendations.

Industrial argon is produced by fractional distillation of air and is a mostly inert gaz. Most of it is not food rated because it's mostly useless in food production. You are taking an extremely limited risk by using it to displace air in a wine bottle especially considering you are not actually puting it inside the wine.

Obviously you should use food rated argon if you want to be safe. It's just going to be more expensive and harder to source.

Yes, my understanding is that it would take a mistake in the process to introduce a toxin. The tanks are dedicated to argon over their lifetimes, though they do have a complicated chain of custody. For food-grade argon they do check for safety.

My sense is that I'd be better off avoiding all plastics (not feasible in this world) than waiting for food-grade argon. But yes, this is a decision each person should make.

Obviously you should use food rated argon if you want to be safe.

Ah yes, the common problem all of us face in our daily lives.

“If you want to be safe” doesn’t really jive with “extremely limited risk.”

> “If you want to be safe” doesn’t really jive with “extremely limited risk.”

Of course it does. To put it bluntly, it is extremely likely that any bottle of industrial argon is actually food safe because it's produced in basically the same condition that food safe argon. The main impurity while producing argon is oxygen. The main difference between industrial and food safe argon will be how their container is handled but argon as an environment is not really suited to bacterial development.

If you don't feel okay taking this risk, you can buy food grade argon which, well, is guaranteed to be food safe.

Also, don't get me wrong, I'm specifically talking about argon there. I would never use industrial distilled water or ethanol with food for example. That would be risky. I have heard of people using industrial CO2 to carbonate beverage. That makes me uneasy because CO2 is a good solvent.

> Most wines don't handle the abuse of an open day well.

I've had a wine that, although initially intended as a cooking wine, tasted fantastic 4 weeks after opening it.

Just pointing out there's no objective evidence I could find in this thread, the linked article, or on a quick Google scholar search that a bottle of wine degrades or even changes significantly after N days open.

Yes, some wines do that. I think, very rarely in general, but I've encountered that too. This occurs more commonly with stronger beverages, such as cognacs/brandys, btw.

For some strong beverages, it's actually recommended to let it "breathe" several hours, to allow the alcohol to dissipate a little, which make the "good" flavors emphasized.

Is there any concern about contaminants in non-food grade argon?

I'm not sure most wine would qualify for food grade

It depends on the gas supplier. For the suppliers I deal with the difference between food grade and non-food grade is for insurance purposes.

You can ask or check the SDS from your supplier. I just checked a local suppers SDS and it listed that there were no known contaminants posting a safety hazard.

I've also had good luck with nitrous canisters and a cream-charge dispenser. You can order the canisters via Amazon, which is more convenient for me. I do a lot of baking and cocktail infusions, so I kill two (or more?) birds with one stone there.

Wouldn’t the n2o oxidize things like o2 does?

My (admittedly qualitative) experience, is that N2O oxidizes less than O2, although it's probably not as good as GP's suggestion to use Argon. It's mostly useful for finishing a bottle the day after without compromising on taste. I'm not sure how it might keep if you're hoping to save the wine for longer.

Argon might last for longer than one day, which is a plus! But I tend to finish the bottle within a day or two, so N2O works fine for me.

I've had good experiences with pumping out the air from the bottle with a wine saver vacuum pump and special bottle cap. Very effective solution, next to finishing the bottle.

The vacuum devices take more effort, but work well for up to a week or so.

I think the author is incorrect about vacuvin being rubbish, and loses all credibility when describing replacing the cork being a good method, but vacuum sealers being ineffective.

The beginning of the article asserts that oxidation is one of the primary causes of wine going bad, then completely dismisses vacuum systems, which remove most oxygen out of the bottle. Scientifically, this MUST be superior to simply replacing the cork (or screw cap in Australia).

I’ve found that if I open the bottle and pour two glasses and immediately seal and vacuum (most of) the air out, I can get about 2-4 days of the wine tasting good stored at room temperature, versus about 1 day simply replacing the lid.

Vacuum systems aren't bad because they don't remove the oxygen, they're bad because they create a pressure differential that begins pulling some of the aromas out of the wine.

Yeah, I have great experience with vacuvin, except that my first vacuum piston broke after 2 years.

I even drank a wine after 10 days that, while not great, was still drinkable. It was like a 2 day open bottle roughly.

> Scientifically, this MUST be superior to simply replacing the cork (or screw cap in Australia).

Why must this be the case? This is a genuine question, not a pure objection.

Consider two oxygen levels, o_1 and o_2, where o_2 << o_1 due to vacuum removal. Consider a set of chemical reactions that occur between wine and the surrounding environment. Of oxygen, glass, trace chemicals, cosmic rays, astological auras, etc. Let ℜ be the set of chemical reations that affect phenomenological quality (flavour) (presumably negatively, as a just-opened bottle of wine is at the peak of quality and can only degrade).

Why must it be the case that o_2 is the limiting factor for all, or even some, of the elements of ℜ? What if another quantity (surface area, pressure, etc) limits the pace or extent of the reaction, and just as much degradation occurs with partial vacuuming (o_2) as without (o_1)?

Perhaps you or someone else is a wine chemist, professional or amateur, and can enlighten me. Until that point, there are more things in heaven and Earth, dear dhsysusbsjsi, than are dreamt of in your philosophy.

You’re 100% correct that it doesn’t have to be better, if gp was wrong about oxidization being the main issue. If the largest problem was evaporation of some oils or something, the vacuum would likely exacerbate the problem (imagine someone vacuum sealing a carbonated drink thinking it would preserve the carbonation!).

In the end, though, I think most people discover that those pumps do help preserve the wine for significantly more time.

Wine is a very reactive environment for oxygen. So oxygen will definitely be the limiting factor, because all the chemical reactions have been starved of oxygen (if you’re interested lookup the Fenton reaction). Of course, it’s not always that simple. If you have an very old wine it’s probably been oxidised, due oxygen ingress from the closure, in which case the vacuum is just sucking out the very small amount of remaining volatile compounds. Also, dissolved CO2 is very important in wine, even still wine, so if you have a light bodied, “fresh” wine vacuuming is going to lower the dCO2 - this will generally make it seem worse. Bringing it back to oxygen - increasing dCO2 can be used to increase shelf life, by decreasing oxidation, on wines where you want to limit use of SO2.

there are also lots of screw cap wines in the states and other places.

I was in the market for a Vacuvin, but I ended up looking hard at both the Coravin and the Eto (both also mentioned in the article).

I went with the Eto for a few reasons. One was price (pays for itself after a few bottles of wine), but the main reason was that it's so much simpler with fewer moving parts and there are no cartridges to replace. And it works well. I recommend the stainless steel version. Happy customer.

I was an initial Kickstarter backer and it works very well. Just remember to clean it sooner than later or you have to break out the baking soda to get rid of the smell!

Why the stainless steel version?

I don't have any proof of this because that's the one I have, but I wondered if the brass versions would get discolored quickly because of interacting with the wine. Stainless is easy to clean.

Vacuvins don’t maintain enough of a pressure differential to make a difference. It’s not like you are pulling a hard vacuum and maintaining it. At best you reduce the amount of O2 by a relatively small fraction.

As others have stated, losing more volatile aromas into the head space of the bottle is the larger consequence of these devices.

his point was that it was no more effective than corking it and putting it back in the fridge not that it did nothing at all.

I disagree: with the vacuum devices you're creating a pressure differential that's likely to pull aroma compounds you want to keep in the wine out into the bottle.

This may be a dumb question but if a tank that size were to somehow release all its argon in an average house, would it be dangerous?

I don't think there is a concern about suffocation.

but you should be aware that these tanks are pressurized to 2500 psi (in the states), and that can get pretty dangerous.

use a new regulator with an overpressure release valve.

myth busters did a segment where they chopped the top valve off a tank - it shot all 100lbs of steel through a cinderblock wall.

I'd be interested to hear why you think buying magnums is better.

The bigger the bottle, the smaller the ratio between exchange surfaces/volume. Small ratio means slower reactions, longer conservation, which is empirically better. And you know, a big bottle, so you don’t have to leave the table.

My friend the professional sommelier says a magnum is the perfect size to share with a friend for lunch. Especially if the friend is driving so they can't drink too much.

I think this is probably not right. If you always have exactly one bottle open, the magnum will always have more total surface area. If you drink less than 750 ml from both, yes the ratio of area/volume will be smaller, but conversely it also means you are tainting more wine. And if you wanted that effect, you could always open the second bottle the next day and mix the two regular sized bottles.

Your right - where this comes most in to play is that the wine isn’t stationary. Every time you pour, which will happen more often with a magnum, you encourage interaction between the wine and atmosphere.

Your posting sounds weird.

"Yes, argon is heavier than air, but there's this thing called diffusion." What has diffusion to do with it? Nothing. Most diffusion effects in our life are negligible because of convection.

I had to check how much argon costs. It is indeed not very expensive. Why do you need medical grade? What "toxins" do you expect?

This is an overkill for 99% of the population. Does your wife ask "Did you argon the olive oil?" too?

Curious if you can describe the setup you use for dispensing Argon into the bottle from the tank.

My receipt from 2017 says I also bought a RAD64003037 Regulator Flow Gauge with 10' hose. $120.

It's easy though. Tell them what you're doing, and take their advice.

I cut the 10' hose in half, and promptly lost one of the halves. I set up the cut end so it was inches away from fitting into a bottle on the shelf, for dispensing.

Here's a photo: https://komodokamadoforum.com/topic/8968-funky-old-cow/?tab=...

After the obligatory lecture on medical grade argon versus what I was buying (no difference besides a title), the guy tried seven times to talk me up from a 20# tank (which they don't always have) to a 40# tank (smallest standard size, same price to refill). I kept telling him I wanted to stay married. Then the tank ended up in the "middle shed" with the chamber vacuum sealer. When I went for a refill I reminded him of this hilarious conversation, and upgraded to a 40# tank that's still going strong.

Why argon instead of CO2 ?

I displace air from primary fermenters using CO2 and have had good success ... I would be open-minded to switching to argon but wonder if there is a reason ...

There might be a good reason for argon vs CO2; I'm not a wine guy.

But note that re: safety, if you need an inert gas, CO2 is usually your safest option. Why? Unlike other inert gases, you have a decent chance of detecting CO2 intoxication. For most people, excess CO2 is very unpleasant, giving you a chance (NOT a guarantee!) to recognize the hazard and escape. Meanwhile, if your body is short of oxygen because an inert gas leak has reduced O2 concentrations in the room you are in, there's a very good chance that won't notice and at some point will just pass out suddenly and die. Our bodies just don't have the ability to detect a lack of oxygen directly; we evolved to detect an excess of CO2 instead.

Now, I don't want to fear monger: you can certainly handle nitrogen and argon safely with some care and common sense. I myself used to work with liquid helium in large enough quantities to need an O2 alarm. But all things being equal, I'd use CO2.

> CO2 is usually your safest option

People with COPD need not apply.

CO2 intoxication is unpleasant for us because the baroreceptors in our arteries can detect when the partial pressure of CO2 is too high. This is the feeling you get when you hold your breath. You have somewhere between four and ten minutes of oxygen supply in your blood, but it becomes unpleasant within the first minute because CO2 is building up instead of being exhaled.

People with COPD always have an abundance of CO2 in the bloodstream because their alveoli don't exchange gases correctly. They likely wouldn't be able to tell the difference.

Just saying. Your argument is sound and generally true, but it's true not for everyone.

Helium is lighter than air, argon heavier.

Important safety difference. You'd still need to be careful, but unless you're lying on the floor...

Dangerous safety strategy if you have toddlers... Or pets, I guess.

Co2 will carbonate the wine.

It takes a fair amount of pressure or reduced temperature (or both) to get enough CO2 dissolved for the resulting beverage to be noticeably 'sparkling' (Source: Friends force-carbonating home-brewed beer in a keg (in a fridge) w/CO2 cylinder). Don't think it would happen much from just filling the air space with CO2 at room temp and pressure.

Sticking dry ice in a drink will make it taste noticeably carbonated. This is 1 atm of CO2 at the freezing point.

(Carbonating to 1 atm does not produce much fizz — it only produces any at all because the CO2 offgasses as the drink warms, but bubbles and the taste of carbonation are different phenomena.)

You’re being downvoted, but this matches my experience. A depleted can of CO2 gas produces weak carbonation, similar to dry ice.

One of the tricks to CO2 canisters is that CO2 liquefies around 6 atm at room temperature, so a canister of CO2 will maintain that pressure until the liquid CO2 is depleted. Dry ice produces about 1 atm of vapor pressure (obviously) which matches the vapor pressure you get when displacing air.

CO2 will acidify the wine, which might well alter its taste.

Carbonation (in the sense of making the wine fizzy) will not happen unless pressure is used to drive the CO2 into the wine. You need a supersaturated CO2 solution to get fizzies.

What kind of source is not pressurised? SodaStream (and other brands) work exactly this way, there's nothing fancy in the box, it's just a button letting gas out of the canister.

It's not about the source; it's about the application. The intention with wine is to let gas layer in the bottle, not introducing it into the liquid directly.

I have a SodaStream for making seltzer. I also use it to put a 'float' of CO2 in bottles that I want to last longer.

Simply, I put a bottle under the SodaStream nozzle and give a few puffs of CO2 to be confident that it's displaced most of the air.

I do this with normal drinking wine sometimes, but more often things like vermouth that I don't open daily.

> Why argon instead of CO2

Argon is a bit less soluble in wine. But both are used by professionals.

Given a free choice, I chose the heavier argon. I'd seen it in use in an SF wine store where one could try fifty wines. (An obsessive friend showed me this store. I have better follow-through.)

It is said that CO2 can carbonate your wine. If you haven't experienced this, you're fine. I know no reason to actively prefer CO2 to argon, if one is making a free choice.

CO2 will not carbonate your wine unless you pressurize it.

1atm of (normal air) displaced by 1atm of CO2 is not going to lead to any carbonation ...

Which store, if you wouldn't mind me asking?

Argon is better at reducing oxygen ingress in the short term, less than 2 weeks. But only strictly as a measure of dO2, sensorily a panel of experts were unable to determine the difference. So I would choose whichever is cheaper.

why not nitrogen?

I had some experience with a commercial (restaurant sized) wine dispenser that used nitrogen

Is there a reason to use argon rather than CO2 ?

CO2 is how you carbonate a beverage. CO2 can dissolve in the liquid and makes it more fizzy and acidic-tasting.

That would be desirable for champagne but most likely not for wine.

Title needs to be changed to "how long does a bottle of wine keep after it is opened", because I can assure you from long experience the answer to the titular question is: about an hour and a half.

About a month or two, in my kitchen. I use a few splashes to deglaze pan sauces, or accelerate the caramelization of onions. I'm sure it's gone off by somebody's standards, but I get no complaints

I do the same, but I would not call that "wine" after a few days. It's effectively vinegar-in-waiting.

If kept at room temperature, sure, but it will take a good few weeks in a fridge.

Indeed, it's a matter of perspective. I don't touch the stuff to my lips, but it's a great reagent

I use wine to do the same, but I just finish off the bottle. Also get no complaints.

How much does it accelerate caramelization?

The alcohol is great at dissolving sugars that are stuck to the pan -- by doing so near the burning point of sugar, you "rescue" the sugars from burning to carbon, et voila, caramelized sugars. Further, the steam breaks down the cell walls, freeing delicious juices for caramelization and breaking down the structure to improve heat transfer. You can get there low & slow, or you can add a few well timed splashes on medium high for nicely caramelized onions in minutes. It's a threshold game, and the closer you come to burning the pan, the darker onions get. Contrary to the sibling comment, I prefer white so I get clearer feedback about that threshold.

That's super good to know. Caramelizing onions takes forever

Red wine makes it look darker. Also, you may need some liquid to loose the onions from the pan that would burn otherwise (deglazing). So using red wine allows more heat and optically gets you there faster.

So you can get the right taste before you get the right optics?

Not a wine drinker myself, but this is roughly what I was thinking when I read the title. My thought was it depends largely on how many friends you have over and whether there is good beer around to distract them.

This is very accurate estimate. Frankly, I very much doubt many people would leave half empty wine bottle for weeks or months.

A few parties I've been to have had several bottles of partially-remaining wine left over - unless you drink a moderate amount daily, it could easily take a couple weeks to get through. For that kind of scenario, you're left with options like "drink it all ASAP", or "drink a little, dump the rest", or "find some way to make it last longer".

Or if you opened something far off your normal preference, such as a bottle of white for me.

I do, often, unfortunately. It gets poured down the drain.

That's very wasteful. Use it for cooking; for that purpose it can be kept for months and even mixed with other same-color wines. There are plenty of dishes that can "pop" with just a bit of extra wine here and there.

This is why I avoid buying beer in growlers. My wife and I just don't drink enough to kill a bottle before it's done. If I have friends over, it goes fast, but that's not really a thing right now.

They do make cans of wine... I know it's a crazy idea, but my friend who likes wine loves the single serving size.

In Oregon at least yes. https://www.cannedoregon.com/

Pretty sure that isn't the only brand I have seen.

Huh. I didn't realize this was a local/ Oregon thing and had assumed it was country-wide.

Bag-in-box style of containers are pretty good regarding oxydation. Up to 6 weeks after opening it says on the label.

A bottle is obviously better long term.

There's perfectly good bagged wine in France, but they get pretty bad rep in other countries, it's often terrible wine in these boxes sadly

I thought the 750ml bottle was a single serving size?

For a joke, my family got me a 750ml glass a couple of Christmases ago. I have yet to use it.

750 ml has nothing to do with how much wine people are expected to drink at once; it's an artifact of glass-blowing. A typical medieval glass-blower's lungs allowed them to create bottles of 700-800 ml with a single long breath.

That's a very cool piece of useless trivia. Thanks.

Is there something about glass blowing which makes it air-inefficient? My vague recollection from my time as a low brass player in college is that the prof's lung capacity measuring apparatus (yes, really) put most of us in the 3-4L range, with one outlier around 5L. Granted, we were trained for such magnificent feats of blowing hot air, but so too must glass blowers be.

It is more about the pulmonary strength needed to start the bubble in sufficent glass for the bottle size.

I'd guess that it's also relates to a pressure that glass blower had to create. Then the total volume would be less than free volume.

Sounds like something you should aspire to :)

I can drink a bottle myself lunch to bed on a weekend, but not every weekend.

If you plan to cook with the remaining wine, it will remain viable longer for that purpose than for drinking. At least, according to the internet.

Just put it in the fridge. But even vinegar is useful.

I do, as a bottle of wine for one is too much so I keep it in the fridge for weeks and drink half a cup or less once in a while.

So the Coravin is a cool thing, but just too much for the average person, or even the above average wine collector. The refills cost too much. I know one wine company here in NorCal that has one that they hacked with a line to a commercial grade tank of argon to reduce the cost (a Coravin on a long tube to a big tank...and yes they are all ex-techies). I have thought about getting one for awhile but the cost is just too much and I own 2672 bottles right now (yes, I may have a problem, but it down from a high of 4907 - Covid times). For the most part any bottle we open gets finished in 2 days. For any $$ bottle, it is opened with friends (not in Covid time but..) and it will get finished that evening.

The real interesting use for the Coravin is for when you have a number of the same bottles and you want to taste it over time to see how it ages. Buy a case, set it down and Coravin a bottle and taste it every year to see the progression.

Anyway wine is a fun thing to get into as long as you understand that $$$ does = best. I have had some $1000 bottles that are amazing wines, but not more amazing then a $100 bottle. The exception would be some very very old bottles 30+ years, but that is an acquired taste as old wine is very different from the normal today to 10 years that most people drink.

Wait you drank 2300 bottles in the last 10 months?

People that have that much wine are collectors. The fate of most of what they have is to be sold on, not drank by them.

I was more impressed by the number of significant figures. If I had to guess, I'd say I have 2 or 3 bottles around just now. I can't even manage one sig fig, and it isn't because I started with over 4,000 bottles.


Run it on an old iPad mounted by the cellar door. It took weeks to put all the data in the first time.

No, sorry. Poor choice of phrasing. That as the maximum number of bottles I reached since I started to keep track. That’s number is from 2017. We had a few big parties in 2017/18 that cut that number down.

I use an application called CellerTracker. It’s a great app. I have an old iPad mounted in a stand next to the door of the cellar and make sure to record what gets drunk.

ok we all feel much better about your well-being

That's what I'm thinking. How?? I mean unless you're throwing a party every day or two, but that doesn't jive with "covid times"

You can also sell or donate wine...

I have donated wine for charity auctions. Checking...says 218 bottles.

I generally take all donations offered at parties.

In order to keep woodworking finishes from drying in the can, many woodworkers displace air in the can by dumping marbles in. You could probably do the same thing with a wine bottle:

1. Drink as much as you want.

2. Pour small clean marbles into the bottle until the level of the wine is near the top again.

3. Put cork back in.

Yes, this is very common in beer brewing and wine making - filling up headspace in primary fermenters with glass marbles.

I don't like the idea as I don't need a 14th thing to carefully sanitize. Instead, I just displace the headspace with CO2 and have had good success with that.

This is not at all common in beer brewing. I cannot speak for the wine world but most of them have variable height lids.

No brewery would ever put glass marbles into a primary fermenter. As a professional brewer we routinely try to have the beer touch as few items as possible, post chill, due to sanitation risks. Not only would marbles be a nightmare to sanitize (tiny chips or cracks would not be properly sanitized), its a logistical nightmare to later get them out to clean the tank. Tanks are cleaned in place with a pump and spray ball method without ever opening the tank. Getting excessive hops out is enough work much less marbles.

Breweries purge any air out of a tank with Co2 before filling, for multiple reasons, but since Co2 is heavier than air it will settle on top of the unfermented wort as it is gently transferred into the fermentation tank thus removing the need for any kind of marbles or headspace reduction.

A second major reason this would not be done is that when beer ferments it needs extra headspace as the yeast in an ale ferments on top of the beer. A hefeweizen will routinely create a yeast layer about 10-15% of the height on top of the liquid. So if this space was blocked it would be forced out the top, which for most modern breweries would create a large mess into the floor drains and lead to the yeast count being too low reuse.

On the flip side I would be very interested to know of a brewery doing this and why.

Sorry - I am speaking specifically of the home brewing community. You can see them using, and recommending, glass marbles / glass balls all the time.

Yes, I cannot imagine this method being used in serious retail production.

What would happen if you didn't carefully sanitize it? What would start growing?

Air and surfaces are filled with random mould spores and bacteria. If they touch your beverage (which is by definition full of stuff that mould loves, because yeast is a mould) then they will grow, causing off-flavours or even poisons. You prevent this by sanitising everything, and making sure that any headspace is filled with either carbon dioxide or sulphur dioxide. CO2 is produced naturally by fermentation and because it's heavier than air it settles in the headspace displacing oxygen (moulds need oxygen to reproduce). Sulphur dioxide can be added using sterilising tablets (Campden tablets). Other techniques are to reduce the headspace by adding more liquid, or marbles, apparently, and using an airlock to stop air entering.

"causing off-flavours or even poisons. "

There is nothing that can grow during fermentation in beer or wine that will hurt you. It will just taste terrible, or unplanned.

In lower abv fermentation such as kombucha or fermented vegetables. Molds can be a risk if the starting medium is not low enough ph, or high enough salinity.

Something like aspergillus flavus could poison you, although you'd notice that because it would be clearly visible as a green mould with a terrible smell & taste. I homebrew myself and agree that poisoning from ordinary brewing (not distillation) is incredibly unlikely.

I'm sure co2 works great, but much cheaper is a manual vacuum device.

The article strongly implies these devices don’t work at all in practice.

They work abolutely amazing for me, if you leave it for a while the wine often tastes much better. The vacuum appears to produce a special kind of decanting. (Technically, it's more like 0.5 atmospheres)

the ones like Eto work because they displace air which is necessary for the bacteria to turn the alcohol to vinegar. Well actually slow it down. I can confirm the Eto works okay and wine keeps pretty well for a week or so. and yeah I did a side by side with a couple of $10 wines of the same variety after two weeks one was nasty and the other was still drinkable and not gone completely off by then.

This feels like a surprisingly obvious idea

Printmakers sometimes float a layer of water on top of partially used ink to stop it polymerizing. I suspect that floating a layer of oil on top of wine might have some undesirable side effects

> I suspect that floating a layer of oil on top of wine might have some undesirable side effects

I love starting a meal with a refreshing glass of Caprese salad dressing.

I guess the big issue with marbles is that it gets progressively more annoying the less wine you have left. And with little left, it wont even be possible to get the level to the top because of all the space between the marbles.

Good point.

Isn't there an even more obvious idea though - use a smaller bottle or a vessel that can be shrunk to the right volume?

Zip-Loc bag for the win.

Woodworkers also commonly use argon, most often via the product "Bloxygen" which is just canned argon.

I've used displacement, vacuum sealing, CO2 via my breath and argon. Argon works the best and is the easiest.

Probably a cleaner option is to just decant your wine into a smaller container, such as a half bottle (375 ml) or some Boston rounds.

I have no idea what marbles are made of, but if they are even remotely similar to actual marble and not, say, glass, I'm sure it'll react with acid in the wine.

Marbles are made of glass. Completely inert in this context.

I'm surprised the article didn't suggest just buying bagged wine. The bag takes the shape of the contents, so no oxygen enters. El cheapo bagged wine lasts way longer.

> so no oxygen enters.

Not strictly true, some air does get back in the wine bag, even with the best boxes I've bought. But not enough to spoil the wine before I've manage to polish it off :)

There aren’t any bagged wines worth drinking. There are some ok wines with screw tops or synthetic corks. Wine drinkers don’t like the idea of things changing.

I hate to say that this is nonsense and a touch of wine snobbery, and I'm a "wine drinker". As daily drivers and post work glugs there are plenty of decent bagged wines (or rather boxes). I've had plenty from pals who've brought these things back from French supermarkets to Scotland, which are super cheap and decent quality for the money.

It all depends on the wine you want to drink in the moment. As my brother once pointed out when our mother passed away, there's drinking whisky and funeral whisky.

> this is nonsense and a touch of wine snobbery,

I think you're in more agreement with GP than you realise - as I read it they're saying it's a good system, but we (collectively/on average/'Big Wine') don't want it to change, so box wine is mostly at the low end.

Naked (vintner in the UK, and I think recentlyish launched in the US too) has started doing some boxes though, so some of the more popular (and again, cheaper, but it's a higher starting point than a supermarket) stuff they sell is starting to be available boxed instead of bottles.

I think Naked actually does all the bottling itself in the UK, so if it's popular it'll probably be quite easy for them to expand (i.e. bag and box more instead of bottling it) maybe just needing agreement from the vineyard.

I would have quite mixed feelings about it becoming standard though, even if I know it's better on paper.

I'm wondering if you're replying to a different GP comment than I did, which pretty much dismisses bagged wines:

> There aren’t any bagged wines worth drinking.

Do you have any suggestions for bagged wine in the us that would be comparable to a $20 bottle?

I have tried most and haven’t found any

I do not believe that you (or anyone) can reliably distinguish in a blind test the average $10 bottle from the average $20 bottle.

I think that could be true for for averages, but I usually don’t drink randomly selected wines. I pick wines I am familiar with and like. I think that I can find more wines I like at 20

You should google sommelier tests - they can name regions in blind tests, not just quality.

Whether it’s actually “better” in any real sense is debatable. But wines are certainly distinguishable

Most of us aren't sommeliers though. In a blind test the best I could do would be to say "I like that one, don't like this other one etc". And I feel I know a reasonable bit about reds and have done plenty of tastings over the years. I usually go for the best bang for the buck, and at the moment there's a bunch of great South American wines priced at around GBP5.50-7.00 that are great daily drivers.

Is it quality they can't identify, or price? Is there even an objective measure of wine quality? Price at least is objective.

Quality is inherently subjective, but there are widely adopted rating systems

Costco. Both the cab & pinot grigio are decent- and I have hated every other boxed wine I’ve tried.

Thanks, will check it out!

So if you are looking for something nice and reasonable I cannot recommend enough going to Trader Joes and just trying every bottle under $12. There are some pretty dang good ones.

We tried all the various boxes and found ones we like (bota maybe - the wife buys it), mainly white wines. They seem to keep in the refrigerator fine for a couple of weeks.

Haven't really found a box/bag red that I like enough to keep buying. Instead I keep a bottle of some sort of red on hand so I can have a 1/2 glass with whatever food I cook that night.

Additionally, I order cases of more unique wines from b21 and keep it on hand for special occasions.

Sadly I didn't keep any notes on the producers or grapes. I trust my pals not to bring back cheek puckering bags of vinegar :) Also these are 10 litre duty-free boxes which the equivalents would be eye wateringly expensive in the UK due to the tax our government slaps on wine. So I have to wait until their next trip (who knows when?) for another lot.

I drink a lot of wine, I love buying Yalumba/Winesmith Shiraz casks. Taste great and no ill effects.

If you live in France, Taipei or Lausanne, you may live near a BiboVino shop, they sell good quality wine in bags. On top of that they sometimes also act as bistronomie restaurants with really diverse wine pairings.

https://stjohnrestaurant.com/collections/bag-in-box these are great if you're in the UK.

I disagree. But the context is what you are comparing it to. I think boxed wines (Bota Box mostly) easily beats most 10-20 dollar bottles (reds) at <1/5 the cost. If you are comparing it to a 20-50 dollar bottle, yah, you are right.

Also, your comment is US centric. I lived in Italy for several years and the boxed wine was fantastic. Same quality as bottled, fixes the issues presented, and viewed as better for the environment.

The article mentioned pouring an opened bottle into a half-sized (presumably glass) bottle, but I'm surprised it didn't suggest pouring the wine into a plastic PET bottle, and then squeezing all the air out.

It's a trick I've seen suggested elsewhere before, and one that I've used often myself — it certainly beats paying a hefty sum for a Coravin or VacuVin!

Wine drinkers would be horrified with the sigh of any wine touching any plastic

Hikers would be horrified at the prospect of carrying a 750ml glass bottle any distance. Most of us, incidentally, develop a taste for whiskey if they don't have one already. It's a lot more weight efficient, and its drinkable at most any temperature sans ice or mixers.

Jim Beam even sells a 750ml plastic hiker bottle. If Beam isn't your thing, you can always use it as a decanter for your preferred poison once you've finished the OEM liquor.

Last time I was hill-walking in the UK I was very happy with little tins of wine I got from Marks & Spencers.

I've done this on hiking trips. Passing by a cellar door during the day, decanting into PET, then savouring it over the next few evenings.

> a plastic PET bottle

Quelle horreure! With all due respect, that sort of container will spoil the wine in other ways after a very short time.

How? PET is very non-reactive.

It's permeable to O2 though unfortunately

Downvoted for stating a fact. Ah well.

I remember Nicholas Joly [1] recommending to do a longitudinal tasting of his wine, drinking a glass from the same bottle every day for a week, just to see how it evolves.

He is the kind of fascinating winemaker that does not even have electricity in his cellars so I doubt he would go for inert gas storage in lieu of re-corking it.

I think I managed to do a full week tasting just once, with a lot of discipline. It was an interesting experience with his wine, but in my experience the optimal temporal span for tasting a single wine is no more than a few hours.

[1] https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nicolas_Joly

>optimal temporal span for tasting a single wine is no more than a few hours.

If you have tanin heavy wine, you might need to air it for 1-2 hours before drinking. Fortified wines can stay good for weeks after opening.

Agreed. I prefer to keep the wines off the table until they have opened up properly since there is a tendency for them to disappear quickly once the tasting starts. It also allows you to keep them a bit cooler for serving which has a huge impact on the experience.

Boxed wines solve this problem. The wine is filled in a bladder that simply collapses with air pressure as the wine is poured from the bottom tap. So no air mixes with the remaining wine and there is no deterioration in quality.

> Boxed wines [...] no deterioration in quality

It's hard to go down much, when you start low enough. /s

In Europe, you can find "good" wine in box, the type of wine you'd pay 25 to 30 CAD per bottle here in Canada.

Boxed wine is ideal for that one glass you want with your lunch. I wish we had more variety of it around here.

> "good" wine in box, the type of wine you'd pay 25 to 30 CAD per bottle here in Canada.

You've just killed my latent curiosity for life in Canada. I already suffer enough in the UK.

> Boxed wine is ideal for that one glass you want with your lunch.

I agree there.

Don't come to Canada if you're looking for cheap booze.

Indeed... they pay for ok bourbon what I (US citizen) pay for above-average scotch.

boxed wine can usually be improved (at least in altitude, if not in quality) by unboxing the bladder and pegging it to a hills hoist rotary clothesline

Ah yes, good old Goon of Fortune.


I was highly disappointed to read this:

"Whatever you do, please don’t buy a VacuVin or anything resembling such a device that allows you to “pump out the air from the bottle.” These devices just don’t work as advertised. Sure, they remove some air, but not enough to truly protect the wine."

So I guess we'll just finish the bottle!

You just have to set realistic expectations. Some internet people have done tests and concluded that it does extend the life of a wine by a couple of days, and some internet people have not found a difference. Based on anecdotes from a friend, it works better on some wines than others. I haven't searched hard to enough to come across anyone claiming that it makes things worse.

For a $12 thing, it's not a huge investment to get one and see for yourself whether it works or not.

""Whatever you do, please don’t buy a VacuVin or anything resembling such a device that allows you to “pump out the air from the bottle.” These devices just don’t work as advertised. Sure, they remove some air, but not enough to truly protect the wine.""

That may be the case, but I can assure you that a very inexpensive "brake bleed kit" with a vacuum gauge attached will, indeed, vacuum the headspace and maintain that vacuum.

Again, you have a gauge with mmHG or whatever and you can verify that the vacuum is unchanged.

I speak elsewhere in this HN thread about displacing air in primary fermenters with CO2 but I have also removed air with a hand vacuum (brake bleed kit).

I disagreed with this - although it may be a matter of expectations. We use our vacuvin to keep partials for a day or two, and they keep much better with it than with a cork. I’m not trying to keep wine for a week, and I prefer to keep reds out on the counter - fridge cold red tastes horrible to me, and who wants to wait for it to warm up?

That said, reading about the eto has sent me down a rabbit hole on Amazon. I’m seriously considering ordering a wine squirrel now!

You don't have to wait for it to warm up. Microwave it. Really. Try it. For best results, use the smaller bottle trick, but the refrigerator adds same extra level of protection and warming it up takes 12 seconds. I drink a fair amount of the same wine (I make it) so I can assure you the fridge + microwave trick tastes the same as a fresh bottle.

I didn't get the vacuum pump hate either. Such a pump is really great!

What I have noticed is that some bottle necks are slightly too large or of a weird form for the corks, letting the vacuum escape. When everything is OK the cork makes a pleasantly sharp "ssssshhhhup" sound when releasing the vacuum. For some bottles there's just a faint sloppy "shh" or perhaps even nothing, and for sure the taste isn't optimal then.

After pumping I always put the bottle to the fridge. If storing a pumped wine at room temperature I suppose the wine would quickly end up tasting like donkey.

Then later, when it's time, I open the cork and let the wine warm up (!) to the required temperature.

A pumped wine won't hold for months of course, but I've kept more robust red wines up to a few weeks max, and they are OK for my tastebuds.

So, after any decanting and airing I usually test the bottle with the pump + cork, to see that it gets sealed properly, if I plan to pump it.

Probably all Frenchmen and Italians are rolling their eyes and writhing in agony now but hey, it works for me...

I'm not so sure, I think vacuvins do make a difference. They certainly make a vacuum too because you hear a noticeable air rush when you break the seal. Maybe I'm fooling myself but it did seem to keep the wine fresher than just leaving the bottle open or corked up.

That doesn't mean it's a vacuum inside. Just that it's lower pressure than outside. The question is how much lower :)

I'm curious now what the volume per cylinder pump is. It normally takes several pumps before you start hearing the little spring clip noise thing communicate that the max vacuum has been achieved by the device. The more wine that has left the bottle the proportionally increased number of pumps to max out the device.

Well, if you think about it, vacuum created with such a device can't be real vacuum due to the power of the device and the environment vacuum created in. It can make the wine last a bit longer but not much. Fill the air gap with an inert gas heavier than air is a better option.

Sounds like someone needs to create a product to do nitrogen flushing / CO2 flushing for wine bottles for consumers. It's a technique already used commercially to protect food freshness, including wine; e.g. https://www.winespectator.com/articles/why-is-nitrogen-used-...

The most popular version that is currently used is called a coravin, and is discussed extensively in the article.

consumer nitrogen gas flushing solutions already exist, they've been around a long time.

They work absolutely fine actually. Weird.

There are alternatives that pump in a gas. The cheap ones are ~$15 and last for 40 bottle "refills".

I find red wine, particularly with firmer tannins, tastes much nicer the next day after some aeration in the bottle.

No surprise as one is supposed to air the wine before drinking. So the wine needs some oxgen to get to its best. The question only is: when is the optimal point reached? Depending on the wine and if you don't explicitly air it, it should indeed take till the next day to get to its best.

Fun fact: while it is said that whisky doesn't need to breathe, I always find freshly opened bottles somewhat disappointing and do think they get a little bit better over the first week open and then stay at the level for long times.

That's indeed a interesting question. The answer is: it depends of a lot of factor: oxygen and temperature, as said in the article, but also:

- age of the wine (old one usually doesn't remain good after one day)

- type of wine (red or white, varieties of grapes): tanic wines last longer.

- how good of a year it was (it mostly affect how well the wine will age, but also how long it can stay open)

Also oxygen have a big effect on wine, but it's not always a bad one: most Bordeaux (especially young ones) are better after having been exposed to oxygen around one hour before drinking (in a decanter), and sometimes they even get better by the next day!

The thing that matters is oxygen exposure more than anything. You can’t (trivially) reverse the effects of oxygen. This is why Coravin exists: replace the air (with oxygen) with an inert gas. You can do the same for cheap by putting the wine in a container (preferably gas) that reduces its exposure to oxygen, ideally entirely. There are companies selling other tools that do this, like an inflatable device that goes into a bottle.

Great advice in this thread, both technology and just life hacks too. My recommendation:

If your horizon is “finish same day”, buy what you like. This is the only horizon acceptable for frequently oaked varieties (like Cabernet Sauvignon), highly alcoholic varieties (like GSM), or bottom shelf supermarket wines.

If your horizon is “finish next day”, this is optimal for complex but light varieties such as Pinot Noir, Chardonnay. No technology needed.

If your horizon is “finish in 3-5 days”, the best bet is to buy unfiltered (and un-fined) wine. Generally the bottle fermentation continues and the flavors change over time. These have a lot more funk. With unscientific certainty, I posit this must be how the ancients enjoyed their wine!

If your horizon is “finish the next weekend”, then start looking at the technologies in this thread.

If your horizon is “finish within the month”, buy 375ml, then see above.

And as a PSA, generally avoid added sulfites. Wine is alive! Embracing its natural state extends the lifespan of drinkability. No technology should be needed.

How does this reconcile with the need to let a wine "breathe" before drinking it? Is that a myth?

No it’s not. The wine will improve as it oxidizes- up to a point. After that, oxidation makes it go bad. Where that point is depends on the wine.

Various things start evaporating once you open (e.g. barnyard aromas can blow off), and something does seem to happen to the tannins - they get smoother.

The half bottle trick is great. 375 ml is a great amount for 2 to split with dinner. Lets you open a bottle any night and not feel bad about not finishing.

Also, forgot to mention. Warm red wine up in the microwave after refrigeration. Really! Try it! Obviously just to get it to room temperature.

Most wine folks agree that red wine should be enjoyed a bit cooler than room temp. I honestly cannot drink room temperature red wine anymore.

I'm surprised by the vacuvin hate. Personally I think it works, but for the three days we usually keep a red, its become less important.

My winemaker contacts winced when I said I like my gamay and pinot noir chilled but I do.

I get chilling Gamay - Beaujolais is usually a fruity unoaked wine and maybe you don't like the grape perfume (Gamay is probably my least favourite grape); but chilling a good Burgundy is criminal.

Australian Pinot Noir sometimes benefits, not always. I avoid french wines because the ones I can afford here in OZ either have bred, which I hate or, are simply disappointing.

Chilled Gamay is a great way to end a hot day.

Here in the UK Burgundy under £50 a bottle isn't that great.

Brett I more associate with Cote Rotie Syrah. In small amounts it adds smoky bacon flavours. I like it.

Who keeps a bottle of wine around long enough to bother worrying about oxidation? If I was opening a very expensive bottle, I would invite people over to share it. Most wine I buy to drink or cook with costs $10-$20/bottle. Hardly worth making any effort to preserve it if I forget to drink all of it in a few days time - worst case, I toss half a bottle or mix it into some salad dressing.

>"Who keeps a bottle of wine around long enough to bother worrying about oxidation?"

Restaurants and wine bars who sell high end wines. These Coravin type devices have enable people to order expensive Burgundy or Barolos etc by the glass which were previously not offered by the glass as the unit economics weren't there. It's been a real boon for wine aficionados and wine bars alike. Also wine reps reseal bottles with gas as they generally pour glasses for their accounts and then put the opened bottle back in their trunk for the next account to sample. You would not reseal a $10-20 dollar bottle of wine.

Even those that serve lower end wine worry about it. (Our max bottle is $14ish wholesale). I run a brewery that also serves wine and our bottle loss is a significant enough percentage of our total wine sales, because of our low throughput. It commonly happens that a bottle goes "bad" with only 1 pour from the bottle thus returning a loss on that bottle.

Even with the bottles that leave two pours, at expiration, we are making a few dollars but not enough to keep the lights on.

Personally I don't bother trying to drink it, nor worry about tricks to keep it potable, after it's been open more than about 24 hours. Just keep it for cooking! White wine with chicken and fish, red wine with red meat. Although I usually only have a quarter of a bottle or less left (and it's usually only a mid-range wine, nothing too fancy), so it doesn't seem like such a waste.

We opened an Ulupalakua Red while on Maui. It was robust and sharp - not very enjoyable. The second night and thereafter it was absolutely amazing.

This can vary wildly. According to my experience it can start turning into vinegar in just a week or taste even better than it used to after a month.

I love wines for their tastes but I hate even slightest feeling of alcoholic intoxication, as a result I drink it in doses so small an opened bottle usually lasts about a year for me. I bloody wish all wines were avilable in 0.2 liter bottles...

About 40 minutes and then I open a second bottle.

Unfinished wine bottle? Just stick it in the freezer until you need it.

Are you being sarcastic or does this actually work?

It works. It's what I do.

Rather than keeping it in the bottle, I’ve found pouring the remainder in a Mason jar is very effective at preserving flavor.

How much is the jar filled? I wonder if it’s just a function of less air?

I do tend to choose a jar sized such that there’s more wine than air, but I suspect the lid’s superior seal is the big factor.

And I’m completely baffled by the downvote earned by my GP.

I’ve switched from mason jars to Weck jars and won’t go back. It probably wouldn’t make much of a difference in this situation but if you’ve not seen them / used them you might find them interesting.

It seems like it would be more than the seal since recorking a bottle still creates a decent seal (but traps all the air).

Yea I had another comment agreeing with another OP downvoted. Seemed odd to me as well.

I make a little wine. I bottle what's left into a 375ml bottle. Just make sure you drink in half bottle increments.

A restaurant I favour serves wine of exceptional quality by the glass, from $20 per serving, as thanks to the CoraVin system they can preserve the bottle over a few days. A good glass with a beautifully paired cheese is the perfect Saturday afternoon.

I once was given ‘wine condoms’ as a gag gift one year. It turns out to be the greatest way to preserve wine. Locks in the gas and blocks oxygen 10x better than the cork. They also last a long time. I highly recommend.

This bit was interesting:

“ If you want a longer shelf life, you can buy your own canister of inert gas, and spray that into the half bottle (or even the full bottle) to displace the oxygen. These canisters aren’t cheap, and there’s no real way to know when you’ve sprayed enough gas into the bottle, so most people overshoot out of an abundance of caution, and they don’t end up being great value for the money.”

It probably depends on the gas that is used. Argon is probably best, because it’s heavier than Oxygen. So a even small amount should form a seal just above the wine.

However, gravity’s effect on any gas will be minor.

I use such a product (Private Preserve) and it works pretty well. I think it is mostly CO2 and Nitrogen, with a smidge of Argon.

I don't drink much wine so I have bottles in the fridge that have been there up to a year. When using the gas, I think the decay is more related to how often the bottle is opened and poured. So a bottle that I gas-treat after the initial opening seems to be happy to sit for quite some time. Subsequent treatments are not as effective.

It doesn’t work that way because of Brownian motion. Plenty of oxygen will unfortunately contact the wine if only a little argon is there.

How about burning the oxygen with a small flame inside the bottle?

I wonder if there exists an oxygen "getter" suitable for this purpose. ("Getters" are reactive materials put into vacuum systems which react with specific types of expected contaminants, like oxygen, water, or carbon dioxide)

There's a product on the market that claims to absorb oxygen, called Repour. I haven't tried it since the cost per use is higher than I'd like.

Interesting idea. “Smoke taint” is a very negative characteristic of wine, so many sommeliers will react negatively towards the idea of any flames near wine.

But if the combustion particles can be controlled, there’s no reason this wouldn’t work.

Sounds like an innovative idea!

Perhaps use hydrogen gas as the fuel, and the only thing you'll get from the reaction is a little bit of H2O, no fumes. And you can generate the hydrogen by electrolysis in an external device powered by a battery.

I can imagine exploding bottles and some ‘memorable’ dinner parties.

There has to be some flame-lessly oxidizing material that could be used?

What about hand warmers? If you had one hanging inside a bottle would it use up all the oxygen?


> Air-activated hand warmers contain cellulose, iron, activated carbon, vermiculite (which holds water) and salt and produce heat from the exothermic oxidation of iron when exposed to air. They typically emit heat for 1 to 10 hours, it usually takes 15-30 minutes to start to heat up, although the heat given off rapidly diminishes after 1–2 hours.[5][6] The oxygen molecules in the air react with iron, forming rust. Salt is often added to catalyze the process.

Good idea, but they are quite expensive.

I want to see the schematics for whatever device you design to make this happen.

I imagine a dirt-cheap 'wand lighter' would do just fine for this purpose. Stick it in the bottle, click, it'll burn out in a couple seconds.

and you prevent the air rushing back in, how?

C02 is heavier than air, so... probably somewhat easily. If it's "rushing back in" at a truly significant rate, it probably wouldn't burn out.

It's not going to be perfect, of course, you're only burning things - tons of oxygen is left over, it's an imperfect process on its own. Achieving a perfectly-deoxygenated environment isn't the goal though, extending the wine is.

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