Freya’s tips for keeping wine fresh (don’t tell the sommeliers)

This is something people ask me: how do you keep wine fresh when you don’t finish the bottle?

I just put the cap back on and keep it upright in the fridge. Simple. I know it might sound like sacrilege to some people, but it will keep your wine fresh for a couple of days – even more these days with a screw cap. (Don’t let the sommeliers hear that, they won’t like it.)

Dad believes wine can be even better on day two.

Especially the reds, but even the whites. Often they’re just getting rid of the free sulphur, “they’re just coming out of themselves by day two,” he says.

It goes back to the days when dad was going around and selling his wine himself. His restaurant and hotel customers were buying his wine then trying to sell it by the glass. They were afraid the wine would go off, so they were all buying vacuum machines.

My dad actually did a fridge test with a group of wine-maker mates, tasting bottles that had been opened, and then re-corked for 4 or 5 days. And they were fine. After that he told his customers: put the vacuum machine away, put the bottle back in the fridge with the cork in it and you’ll get four days.

I wouldn’t recommend if it’s a special bottle though – best to drink that all in one night.

Taking it a step further

I don’t know if I’d go this far, but dad doesn’t think it’s such a bad idea to open a bottle the day before, if you’re planning to drink a whole bottle and share it with friends. If it’s a screw cap.

It just has to be quality wine.

Even sparkling wine – because dad doesn’t drink it, he’ll pop the cork a few days before and drink it as a still wine. What he’s learnt is: if it’s not good as a still wine before you put the bubbles in – don’t bother putting the bubbles in.

According to dad, champagne as a still wine is challenging, but nice.

Mixing up your leftovers

This is probably even more uncouth but another tip is if you have a few bottles open, make your own blend by mixing them together. It doesn’t matter if they’re a Chardonnay and a Riesling – put them in together.

We’re constantly being given already-opened bottles that come off the bottling machines. We get so much of it and by the time we get it, most of it’s already four days old.

You can keep that blended wine for up to 6 days, as long as the bottle is full to the brim (to keep the oxygen out). I’ve tasted a lot of these concoctions and they’re not bad at all.

I hope that helps to extend the life of some good wines at your place.