Starting today - Monday's will be "Wine Hack" days, featuring a new gadget, idea or process chosen to help increase my reader's enjoyment of good wine. The most obvious "hack" that has had the biggest impact for me has been the Vacuvin wine saver.
This nifty little gadget comes with a hand operated vacuum pump and little rubber stoppers for the top of your bottles, preventing over-oxidation that can make a $50 bottle of wine taste like rat pee in a matter of days. And it's very easy to use, all you have to do is pop the little stopper into the wine bottle, put the pump on top of it and pump out the air until the pump won't move any more.
You see, no matter how good of a job you do putting a cork back in the bottle, you can't put it in like it was originally. That means oxygen can get into the bottle - a little oxygen is a good thing and exposing wine to the atmosphere is what is meant when serious wine drinkers talk about "letting the wine breathe". But too much oxygen will kill a person, or a good bottle of wine. You know that a red wine is over oxidized when it tastes like salad dressing (yeah, it sounds nicer than rat pee).
According to the manufacturer, you can expect your wine to remain fresh for up to 2 weeks - and you can use Vacu Vin for anything except sparkling wines.
Although this may be old news, as most serious wine drinkers have at least a few bottles with Vacu Vin stoppers in them at all times - I love mine enough that I thought it deserved its own blog post! It allows me to enjoy a good wine just a glass at a time, or to save a bottle not finished after a dinner party.