Here in Sonoma Valley, we don’t even recognize the phrase ‘leftover wine’ as a legitimate concern. We can’t remember the last time we didn’t finish an open bottle (hey, we’re completionists, OK?).
Yet, we know that not everyone is as wine obsessed as we are. And we can’t bare the thought of any wine wasted because of improper storage. We get it, parties happen. Sometimes we open the wrong bottle. Maybe you’re just not as thirsty as you thought.
Which is why we are imparting some vital knowledge: a few ideas that will help you use that leftover wine. Consider it a public service.
How Long Should You Save Opened Wine?
Sadly, opened wine doesn’t have the longest shelf life. Once you’ve corked a bottle, it will only stay drinkable for a few days. Most wines can last up to five days once corked. Sparking wines will only last up to three days (tops).
Once a bottle of wine has been opened, an oxidation process begins. Yes, some wines need air to breathe, but this is also the beginning of the end for your vino.
How to Store Opened Wine
First things first: get that cork back in the bottle as soon as possible. If you leave the wine open on the counter for hours on end, it won’t last as long. It definitely won’t last throughout the night if you don’t replace the cork. Wines with a higher tannin content tend to spoil faster, too.
Wine lasts longer if you pop it in the fridge after opening it. You can also try cool tricks, like using a vacuum sealer. Yet if you really want to use that wine in the best way possible, you can always try one of these handy tricks.
Drink It or Save It
The easiest way to ensure wine doesn’t spoil is to either drink it or save it. Consider building a menu around your leftover wine (and possibly leftover food). If you have a few bottles of unfinished wine, ask a few friends to come over to help you finish it — otherwise known as throwing a kick the wine bottle party.
If you are wined out for the week, you’ll want to use it in another way, possibly one that doesn’t have anything to do with drinking it.
Cook With It
The easiest way to use leftover wine is to cook with it. Plenty of people make the time-honored mistake of cooking with wine they would never drink. For your dishes to taste delicious, you’ll always want to cook with the same wine you drink.
Linguine with clam sauce is one of the most classic recipes that utilizes white wine. Beef bourguignon calls for a half of a bottle of medium-bodied wine. Add a little white wine to cheddar cheese soup or fondue. You can even whip up a tasty garlic chicken recipe with a little leftover white wine.
If you want to cook with your leftover wine — just not right now — you can always freeze it to use later in sauces, soups and dips. Simply pour the vino into an ice cube tray (we like silicon). When you’re ready to use it, you can pop a cube of wine into a recipe.
You might even start freezing new bottles of wine in ice cube trays just because it makes cooking so darn easy.
Another reason to freeze wine? To pop a cube of chilled wine in a glass of wine that’s room temperature. Granted, you’ll need to remember what wine you’ve frozen before mixing and matching. You can always pop an iced cube of wine into a spritzer for a cool visual effect.
Another one of our favorite reasons to freeze leftover wine is to make wine popsicles. These are ridiculously fun to eat (especially in the summertime). Serve these popsicles on their own — or dunked in a glass of bubbly.
Don’t Want to Waste a Drop of Wine?
Consider buying boxed wine if you know you won’t drink an entire bottle. Yes, we know some of you fear the ‘low-brow’ stigma that boxed wine brings to the party. But we’re here today to help you release those misguided fears. Boxed wine can taste just as good as bottled wine — but you don’t need to worry about finishing it after you’ve cracked open the box.
We know that finishing all that wine can often be a tough job, but somebody’s gotta do it. We’re counting on you to ensure every bottle of wine will fully be enjoyed.