The Best Wine Stoppers for Preserving Your Bottle
Even if you’re a real wine lover, finishing an entire bottle of wine in one night doesn’t always happen. The next day when you go to pour yourself another glass, you want it to be just as enjoyable as it was the first time.
Thankfully, squeezing the cork back in is not your only choice. The best wine stoppers prolong a wine’s nuances and flavors into a second or third day or perhaps even a week. We spoke to wine experts about their favorite wine stoppers, to help save you the agony of buying products that don’t perform well and—worse—deliver lackluster wine the next time you go to re-open the bottle.
First, it’s important to know there are many types of wine stoppers. They include vacuum stoppers, preservation systems, classic stoppers and decanter-and-stopper combos. The reason you want a stopper is to prevent oxygen from creeping in, compromising the flavor profile. Because of this, a tight fit is crucial, whether it’s sparkling or still wine. Here are the best to try.
Vacuum Wine Stoppers
Vacuum wine stoppers—such as this automatic vacuum wine saver and preserver—are lightweight and portable enough to tote to a picnic or a friend’s house. They work by sucking out the oxygen from the bottle to avoid tainting the wine and can preserve for up to a week. With automatic stoppers, the work’s done for you and makes an auditory sound when it’s done. This pack includes four silicone stoppers with date-set rings, so you can track when you last opened the bottle.
At a slightly lower price point and no need to charge, this Vacu Vin wine-saver display pack includes a pump and two rubber stoppers. All you must do is pump the wine saver until you can no longer do so, and the wine has been preserved.
“Vacuum stoppers are an easy, convenient and inexpensive way to preserve wine,” says Jahdea Gildin, a sommelier at Luthun in New York City. “A regular wine stopper will work fine if you drink the wine the next day, but because the wine will still interact with the air in the bottle, and oxygen is the enemy of the wine, it won’t last as long as when vacuum-sealed.”
Wine Preservation Systems
When you’ve opened a special, expensive, or rare bottle that you want to enjoy later, a wine-preservation system does the trick. Air-tight sealed stoppers work in tandem with a vacuum gun to close up the bottle, and a tiny needle injects argon gas into the bottle after it’s been opened.
These two models from Coravin preserve wine for up to four weeks. They can be used on both still and sparkling wines, depending on the model. The Coravin sparkling wine preservation system ensures bubbles don’t disappear and comes with two sparkling stoppers, a sparkling preservation charger and four gas capsules. The Coravin timeless three and wine preservation system is designed for still wines and includes the preservation device, two argon capsules, two screwcaps, an aerator and a needle-clearing tool.
These are winners in restaurants where it’s not always clear what wines customers will order—and if enough glasses of a particular bottle will sell in one night. “We take wine preservation seriously and spare no expense to keep our opened wines fresh,” says Regan DeBenedetto, wine director and director of operations at Spuntino Wine Bar and Italian Tapas in New Jersey and New York. “For our higher-end pours and reserve bottles we utilize handheld Coravins tableside. This technology allows us to offer guests luxury wines by the glass, and even by the ounce, on our monthly Wine Keeper flight.”
Gildin agrees, adding, “We use it at the restaurant, and it gives us the chance to offer our guests something different—wines that wouldn’t be normally sold by the glass.”
“Another plus is that when you have those single diners or someone that has never had the opportunity to try something on that high-end side, you now have the ability to provide this wonderful experience,” says Johnny Kozlowski, beverage director of The Avra Group, whose restaurants include Avra Estiatorio in Beverly Hills, Miami and New York City. This applies to at-home wine drinking, too. With Coravin products, you can open an expensive bottle and not feel pressured to finish it within the next few days. Who knows, you may even open another pricey bottle that week—and have both on reserve for an impromptu flight.
Wine Decanters with Stoppers
If you want to have a visually appealing way to serve and store wine or need to decant it before serving, this wine stopper is your best friend. It’s not an option used as often by sommeliers and wine directors, but it does exist if you don’t want to return the wine to the bottle after your night comes to a close.
“The most your wine could last would be two days, maybe more, if the wine is kept cool and out of sunlight,” says Kozlowski. “In all fairness, this is my least favorite of all the options. I may be a bit old-fashioned, and if a wine is worth decanting, then I typically will see it through to the end. Technically speaking, once you do expose the wine to decanting in the beginning, you have really expedited the timeline for drinking what is inside.”
The Art Series catalyst wine decanter is a good option that works essentially as a crystal decanter—which can even be personalized with your initials—with a ball-shaped glass stopper for a glam addition to your bar area. The double-wall wine saver decanter and glasses set folds in two stylish double-wall glasses for sipping wine with a 36.5-ounce double-wall decanter.
Classic Wine Stopper
These stoppers can be reused endlessly, and different versions exist for still and sparkling wines. Simply push them into an uncorked or open bottle, and they help keep wine overnight. This is a category where you find a sea of decorative options, everything from Mickey Mouse and holiday-themed corks, to your first name’s initial on top of the stopper.
“Rubber stoppers are simple and help seal off a snug cover to prevent any additional air from affecting your wine,” says Kozlowski. “These are nice to have around if you break your cork [while opening].”
Jill Weber, owner of Sojourn Philly, a Philadelphia restaurant group including Jet Wine Bar, Café Ynez, Rex at The Royal and Sor Ynez agrees. “I prefer the pliable cork or rubber, simply because one gets a tighter fit,” she says. “The key is simply that the stopper is stopping air from getting inside the bottle.”
For sparkling wines, try the Champagne preservation recorker, which is specially designed with a chrome-pleated re-sealer to keep in the effervescence.