The Essential Guide to Wine Preservation and Dispensing
Wine connoisseurs understand the importance of proper wine storage and preservation. However, even casual wine drinkers want to protect their investment in a good bottle. With the right wine preservation and dispensing systems, you can keep the wine fresh for weeks or even months after opening. This allows you to enjoy every glass to the fullest.
In this comprehensive guide, we'll cover everything you need to know about wine preservation and dispensing:
· The benefits of wine preservation · Factors that degrade wine · Types of wine preservation systems · Features to look for in wine dispensers · Tips for getting the most out of your wine preservation system
Why Wine Preservation Matters
Once you pop the cork or twist off the cap on a bottle of wine, the clock starts ticking. Exposure to oxygen begins oxidizing and degrading the wine. Before long, it loses its aroma, flavor, and complexity. Proper wine storage slows down this process. Cool temperatures in the 55-60°F range retard oxidation. Storing bottles on their sides keeps corks moist and airtight. But even with ideal storage, an opened bottle only stays drinkable for a few days. This is where wine preservation and dispensing systems come in. They protect opened wine from the elements that damage it. This extends the drinkable window from days to weeks or longer.
The benefits of preserved wine include:
· Maintains flavor and aroma. Preservation systems minimize oxidation that depletes a wine's nuanced flavor and scent. · Retains ideal serving temperature. Dispensers keep wine chilled at proper serving temperature for white, red, and sparkling varieties. · Reduces waste. Preservation lets you enjoy every glass from a bottle over an extended period instead of dumping unfinished wine down the drain. · Saves money. Preserving wine means you can buy better quality wines by the bottle instead of settling for single serve options.
Enemies of Wine: Factors That Degrade Opened Bottles
To understand why wine preservation is important, it helps to know what damages wine after opening. The main culprits are: Oxidation When wine gets exposed to oxygen, it starts oxidizing. Chemical reactions break down flavor compounds and alter the wine's taste. Whites turn dull and flabby while reds lose vibrancy. Heat Heat accelerates oxidation and other chemical reactions. Even short temperature spikes from nearby appliances or sunlight can quickly degrade wine. Light Ultraviolet light causes chemical changes in wine similar to heat. Clear and colored glass bottles block UV rays. But decanters and stemware don't offer protection. Cork Drying Natural corks need moisture to maintain a tight seal and prevent oxidation. Once open, corks start drying out and allow damaging air into the bottle. Bacteria Wine is acidic enough to inhibit most microbial growth. But some bacteria can multiply in wine exposed to oxygen and high temperatures. They create off flavors and turbidity. Proper wine preservation minimizes all of these damaging effects. Next, let's look at different systems that get the job done.
Types of Wine Preservation Systems
Many options exist today for preserving and dispensing open bottles of wine. Choosing the right system depends on your budget, space constraints, and how soon you finish opened bottles.
The simplest preservers use a rubber stopper and hand pump to remove air from the bottle. They create a partial vacuum that limits oxidation. Models like the Vacu Vin are inexpensive at around $10-$15. However, the vacuum seal lasts just 1-2 days. You'll need to re-pump the bottle periodically for longer storage.
Wine canisters replace air in the bottle with inert gases like argon or nitrogen. The inert gas blanket prevents oxidation.
Popular options in this category include:
· Private Preserve - Uses a 100% nitrogen spray to fill opened bottles. Nitrogen lasts up to 5-7 days for around $10 per canister. · Vinquish - Argon gas fills the canister and wine bottleto preserve wine 2-3 weeks. Starts at $200. · Winesave - Also utilizes argon gas with expected wine preservation of 4-6 weeks. Available for around $300.
Canister systems offer effective short to medium-term preservation. But for long-term storage, an active pumping system works better.
Wine Preservation Systems
Wine dispensers provide the ultimate in preservation and storage. They pump out air and keep wine under argon, nitrogen, or vacuum sealing. Models with refrigeration maintain optimal serving temperature. Dispensers preserve wine for 4-12 weeks or longer after opening.
Leading wine preservation system options include:
· WineemotionUSA - The leading commercial wine preservation systems. Dual temperature zone dispenser keeps reds and whites at proper serving temps. Preserves wine up to 60 days using vacuum and inert gas technology. · EuroCave - Freestanding or built-in wine dispensers holding 6-160+ bottles. Utilizes Thermo-Electric Cooling for precise temp control. Estimated preservation of 4-12 weeks. · Vinotemp - Countertop and larger format coolers with inert gas or vacuum wine preservation. Stores up to 32 bottles at ideal serving temperature. · Vigilant - Commercial vacuum wine preservation systems used in restaurants. Designed for speed and ease of use. Provides 30-60 days of wine preservation.
For serious wine enthusiasts, investing in a dispenser system pays off in the long run. The ability to preserve any bottle for weeks means you always have access to the perfect glass of wine.
Key Features of Wine Dispensers
With an array of wine dispenser models on the market, it helps to know what features to look for. Prioritize systems offering:
· Inert gas or vacuum wine preservation - Argon, nitrogen, and vacuum pumping are proven technologies for keeping wine fresh weeks after opening. · Dual temperature zones - Separate compartments for red and white wine storage ensures optimum serving temp for each. · Humidity control - Maintains proper bottle humidity so natural corks don't dry out. · Removable shelving - Adjustable shelves accommodate different bottle sizes and allow easy reconfiguration. · Digital display - Allows monitoring and adjusting of interior temperature and humidity levels. · Capacity for growth - A dispenser holding 12, 16, or 24 bottles provides room to grow your collection. · Quiet operation - Compressors that don't disturb with excessive noise or vibration. · Easy cleaning - Interior surfaces that wipe down cleanly makes maintenance simple.
With the right preservation system, you can confidently buy quality wine in volume. Enjoy a taste now, then save the rest for later knowing it will stay fresh for weeks. Next we'll cover tips for maximizing the benefits of your wine dispenser.
Maximize the life of your opened bottles with these 6 wine preservation tips:
1. Before storing wine, be sure to vacuum out leftover air using the dispenser's pump. The less air inside, the longer the wine will stay fresh. For added protection, use an air-tight stopper in conjunction with the dispenser vacuum.
2. Store corked bottles laying down to keep corks moist and swollen, preventing air from sneaking in. Stand them up only briefly when serving. 3. Never put away dirty bottles. Give them a quick wipe-down first to eliminate odors, bacteria, yeast, etc. A clean start prevents problems down the road.
4. Refer to the manufacturer’s guide for ideal temperature settings. In general, red wines do best from 58-65F, whites 45-50F, and sparkling varieties around 40-45F.
5. When not in use, fill empty slots with canned wines. Limiting air exposure whenever possible is key. As a last resort, use placeholders like rolled towels.
6. Clean shelves and parts regularly per manufacturer instructions. This prevents any microbial growth that could spoil wine flavor. With a quality preservation system, SIP doesn’t chug. Resist the urge to polish off every bottle. Savor each glass knowing the rest will taste just as stellar next week. Never let a drop go to waste again. Drink confidently by investing in the right wine dispenser technology for your needs. Wine preservation gives you the freedom to enjoy every glass on your schedule.