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THE QUESTION: Will removing the air from an opened bottle of wine make it last longer?



THE ANSWER: Unequivocally, yes. Oxygen spoils a wine the way it spoils many unprotected foods, such as a peeled apple. Flavours in an uncorked wine always develop nicely after a few minutes or hours. But most will eventually degrade. After a day or two, most half-finished bottles, even when resealed, start to taste less than pleasant, not as crisp or fruity as before. There are various options to keep your wine fresh. Some liquor stores sell canisters of inert gas, equipped with a thin, straw-like flexible nozzle, that acts as a heavier-than-air blanket. Before resealing the wine with the cork or screw cap, squirt a few shots of the gas into the bottle. One popular brand, which sells for about $15 to $18, is called Private Preserve. One can is good for up to about 100 uses. Another option is to decant the leftover wine into a smaller bottle, say, a half-size wine bottle, eliminating or minimizing the air pocket above the liquid. There's another trick that Archimedes would applaud, too. If you've got a bunch of spare, and clean, marbles handy, drop them, one by one, into the half-empty bottle. The volume of the round spheres will displace the liquid until it reaches back up the neck, eliminating the air pocket. Of course, you'll have to strain the wine with some sort of sieve when you go to pour it back out. See, that high-school physics class wasn't as useless as you thought it was going to be.

Have a wine question?

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E-mail your wine and spirits questions to Beppi Crosariol. Look for answers to select questions to appear in the Wine & Spirits newsletter and on The Globe and Mail web site.

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