Wine is specifically designed to last for a few days after it has been opened, and taking care can help you to save your wine for a few more days once you have already opened the bottle. One of the main things that leads to your wine turning bad is air.
Something that you might not have known is that when wine is in contact with air, or more specifically, oxygen, it opens up tannins.
This will bring out the flavor of the wine in the beginning, but after it has been in contact with the air for a long time, the wine will start to disintegrate and lose its flavor. This is caused by a bacteria called acetobacter.
The entire purpose of the cork is to separate the wine from air, but once the bottle has been opened, it will no longer fit back into the bottle, which can cause some issues if you don’t want to drink the entire bottle in one night.
Thankfully, there are some things that you can do to recork your bottle of wine and make it last for much longer. We are going to tell you exactly how you can do this below.
Why Do Some Wine Bottles Have Corks When Others Don’t?
Before we get into how you can re-cork a bottle of wine, here are some things that you might be interested to learn first. The first of these things is why some bottles will have corks, whereas others have spin tops.
Wouldn’t it just make sense for them all to have spin caps, so we can reseal the bottle and enjoy it later?
Well, there is actually good reasoning behind this. Corks have been the preferred choice for closing wine since as far back as the 1400s. This is because cork bark is one of the few natural products that is malleable enough to hold the contents inside of a glass bottle.
Glass bottles were something that started to become more popular for storing wine during this era.
Corks are still used today for a variety of different reasons. One of the main reasons why they are still used is because they are a natural and renewable resource.
As well as this, they are great for the long term aging of wine, which has proven to be successful, and they are also historically preferred.
However, cork bottle tops are around 2 to 3 times more expensive than other cheaper alternatives, and they are a limited natural resource. Corks can also vary in quality, which can be challenging, and natural corks will breathe at variable rates.
Screw caps have only been used for sealing wine bottles since 1964, but they have rapidly become a large share of the market. Interestingly, in Australia, you will notice that screw caps can be found on almost every single bottle in the country.
The main reason why cork alternatives have become so popular is that a period of decreased quality cork manufacturing during the 1980s made cork an unreliable option.
Winemakers quickly became tired of receiving low quality corks that would lead to the wine becoming contaminated through cork taint. Following this, they switched to other alternatives that were more reliable.
As well as screw caps, the most popular alternative, there are also other fake cork options that are made from things like plastics and plant-based polymers.
Do Wine Corks Allow The Wine To Breathe?
There is a longtime argument that suggests that corks are better than screw caps as they breathe, but this point has been discredited as breathability is something that can be achieved in both screw caps and other cork alternatives.
You can even buy screw caps more recently that have calculated levels of oxygen ingress overtime. Real corks are much more variable with their oxygen ingress rates.
Why Are Corks Used For Wine Bottles?
There are lots of reasons why manufacturers use cork instead of screw-caps. Cork is a material that is made from bark, which means that it is a renewable resource. In addition to this, it can form into the shape of a wine bottle, which makes it really easy to seal the wine.
However, on occasion, bad cork can get into the wine and lead to something that is called cork taint. This isn’t something that is likely to harm you, but it will make the wine taste or smell a little bit off.
Some people will still drink it, but other people outright refuse to, and understandably so.
This is even the reason why New Zealand decided to switch from cork to screw tops after getting fed up with bad cork that caused this cork taint. So, there are mixed opinions when it comes to the use of cork bottles, but they definitely have both benefits and drawbacks.
Others would argue that the screw cap style is the safest option.
How To Recork Wine
Now that you know a little bit more about why cork tops are used in wine bottles, you might be left wondering if it is possible to recork a bottle once it has been opened. We are going to tell you exactly how you can do this below.
Turn The Cork Around
The portion of the cork that is inside the bottle will expand once it is removed. Although, the other end of the cork will hold its form.
So, providing it fits, you could flip the cork around and use the other end to re-cork the bottle. If it is too difficult to push it through, then you could shave down the sides of the cork using a knife to make it fit.
You could also use wax paper to slide the cork in more easily. Wax paper is very slippery, and will act as a lubricant to allow the cork to slide smoothly into place.
Repurpose Old Cork Tops
If you happen to have any old cork tops lying around from a previous bottle, then you may be able to use it for your most recent bottle. Moisture is what causes the cork to expand, and over time, this moisture will be lost and the cork will go back to its original size.
So, you could save your old corks to reseal bottles.
If you don’t mind spending a little bit of money, then you could also purchase some stoppers and use them to cork your wine bottle. There are wine stoppers that are specifically designed for this purpose, and they can be very reasonably priced.
You can get ones that are made from metal with rubber paddings, or even silicon or rubber ones. This is an easy, simple, and affordable solution, and the best thing about these stoppers is that they are reusable.
They also help to ensure a tight fit that will help to keep your wine fresh for a few more days.
Plastic Wrap And Rubber Band
If you are looking for a simpler solution that you can do right now, you could cover the mouth of the bottle with some plastic wrap. You can then take a rubber band and use it to hold the plastic wrap in place.
Plastic in a non-porous material, so no air will be able to make its way into the bottle.
Even if you manage to seal the bottle somehow, there will still be air remaining in the empty part of the bottle. You could use a vacuum pump to suck the air out of the bottle and help it to keep for a longer period of time.
Some vacuum pumps will even come with rubber stoppers that can be used to seal the bottle when you are done.
You could also say goodbye to the bottle completely and instead put it into a smaller container. The surface area of the contact region of the wine will be reduced, meaning that it will last longer. You should make sure to use a compatible container for this purpose.
The final option that we are going to mention is also the most expensive one, but it does provide an ideal solution.
Coravin will stop the wine from making contact with the air, and it is one of the most effective products on the market, even though it comes at a higher price. If you are a wine collector, it definitely will be worth the higher price.