Our winemaker Richelle Collier explores the theories behind keeping open wine in the bottle – and shares one of Spy Valley’s worst-kept secrets.
An open bottle of Spy Valley wine doesn’t last long in my house. I hear rumours, however, that some of you like to eke it out a little longer. So, just how long should you hold on to that last glass remaining in the bottom of the bottle?
While a wine will do you no harm if you drink it past its peak, it will lose its vibrancy, and won’t offer the same enjoyable bouquet. Wine exposed to air for too long loses aroma first, and naturally, flavour follows.
As a rule, at Spy Valley’s cellar door our white wines are kept for only three days, and up to five days for the reds. Of course, they never last that long.
But at home, how long is too long? Can you have a couple of glasses one Saturday night and the rest the following weekend?
In short, for most of us, no. As soon as you open a bottle, the oxygen is in, and the wine starts to deteriorate.
There are, however, plenty of tools you can invest in which claim to extend the life of your wine. Vacuum caps and hand pumps do a fairly decent job at reducing the oxygen in the bottle, and are widely used in restaurants and bars. You’ll get another day or two out of an open bottle this way.
Newer systems now on the market replace the oxygen with argon gas to form a protective layer over the surface of the wine. By preventing the oxygen in the air from causing oxidisation, the theory is that the wine remains fresh for days or even weeks. A less pricy option is to decant your remaining wine into a 375ml half bottle, reducing the oxygen levels in your stored wine.
Still, some would say why bother. We believe that the secret to really great wine is to enjoy it on the day it is opened.