Edit
Financing

Preserving leftover wine

What to do with leftover wine is one of the few downsides of wine-by-the-glass programs. Oxygen is the enemy. That’s why re-corking is only a short-term option, because the air inside the half-empty bottle will soon cause oxidation and deterioration. Vacuum devices pump air out of the bottle, but experts are divided on the efficacy of this gadget. Another method squirts an inert gas through a straw into the partial bottle, displacing air. But again, this is time-consuming—and expensive—if you have more than a few bottles.

What to do with leftover wine is one of the few downsides of wine-by-the-glass programs. Oxygen is the enemy. That’s why recorking is only a short-term option, because the air inside the half-empty bottle will soon cause oxidation and deterioration. Vacuum devices pump air out of the bottle, but experts are divided on the efficacy of this gadget. Another method squirts an inert gas through a straw into the partial bottle, displacing air. But again, this is time-consuming—and expensive—if you have more than a few bottles.

Dispensing/preservation systems can keep wine drinkable for up to a month or more. Open bottles are held in glass-fronted cases and each bottle is attached to a spigot. As the dispenser siphons wine from the bottle, an inert gas such as nitrogen or argon fills up the empty space, keeping oxygen out. The dispensers keep wines at ideal serving temperatures for both whites and reds.

So-called bag-in-box packaging is ideal for inexpensive wines. The built-in spigot makes for easy dispensing and no air gets in to spoil the wine. In the past, quality was a problem, but that’s changing with a more decent selection now available.

Of course, you may not need any of these methods if you’re busy enough. Moving your wine inventory is key. Keep a record of when each bottle is opened. Any leftover wine can always be put to good use in educating your staff or offering tastes to good customers.

Finally, consider offering half bottles. Perfect for a deuce to share, half bottles are increasingly available at all price points.

Grape Expectations

The grapes have been harvested and the 2005 vintage is quietly fermenting. It’s time to consider where the best buys can be found.

Germany: As of mid-November, the 2005 vintage was not fully evaluated, but here’s an early report. “We are talking about a small crop, but great wines from Riesling,” says Raimund Prüm, owner of S.A. Prüm in Germany’s Mosel-Saar-Ruwer region. He notes that the yield is down about 40 percent, but the crop has great concentration and good acid levels.

Italy: “The weather in Piedmont was somewhat irregular, however the overall result was more than satisfactory,” reports Paolo Abbona, owner of Marchesi di Barolo, who adds that yields are about 10 percent below those of 2004. “At this stage, all of the important single vineyards in the Barolo and Barbaresco zones are very promising. The white wines like the Gavi are also looking well, with great balance between acidity and alcohol, fresh and fruity scents.”

California: “We experienced a very cool summer,” says Gladys Horiuchi of the San Francisco-based Wine Institute. “Grapes were on the vines a long time,” she continues, noting that 2005 was the second-largest harvest in history. Quality was high as well, notes Horiuchi. “I think there will be lots of good buys from California.”

France: “Dry, sunny weather enabled growers to achieve a perfect maturity for the main grape varieties,” reports Robert Cottin, president of Dubos, a Bordeaux negociant house. “The 2005 vintage is more complete than 2000, with more body, more power, more maturity. It is more delicate than 2003 with less alcohol, more balance and more complexity.”

 

Trending

More from our partners