When you've had a long day, it can be tempting to polish off that whole bottle of wine at home. But this can't always be the case when you have to work in the morning. To save yourself from a dreaded hangover, the best thing to do is re-cork your wine instead. When done right, your wine will remain fresh for up to five days.
Method #1: Push the Cork Back In
After it's removed, a natural cork can puff up and become larger than the bottle opening. Usually a little patient twisting is all you need to get the cork back in. You don't need to push it all the way back in. Insert it just far enough to create a tight seal.
If the cork is damaged or old and crumbling, wipe off any loose bits and examine it for cracks. A damaged cork may still adequately seal out the air, but if it is badly damaged, find another sealant. You can replace a damaged cork with a rubber wine stopper, or cover the bottle opening with plastic wrap secured with a rubber band.
Method #2: For a Cork That's Stuck, Push the Cork Inside the Bottle
For a cork that is stuck in the neck of the bottle, use a pen, pencil, chopstick or other fine utensil to push the cork all the way in. Replace it later with a different closure for reuse.
Method #3: If the Bottle Has a Screwcap, Screw It Back On
If your wine came with a screwcap closure, simply re-screw the cap on. If you threw the screwcap away or it isn't sealing tightly, you can use a cork from an old bottle, a rubber stopper or plastic wrap to seal the bottle.
How to Properly Store Wine
To keep opened wine fresh for as long as possible, store the wine -- white or red, it doesn't matter -- in the refrigerator. Chilling slows the movement of oxygen molecules in the wine and delays oxygenation; which is what causes wine to develop stale aromas and flavors after being opened.
You don't need to store bottles on their sides after they've been opened. Storing wine bottles on their sides is meant to keep natural corks moist over years or decades. Once bottles have been opened, they have a shelf life of less than a week, so the cork condition isn't that critical.
Remove red wines from the refrigerator a half-hour before serving to reach the recommended serving temperature, which is 55 to 60 degrees Fahrenheit.
How to Use Wine Accessories to Preserve the Life of Your Wine
Some wine accessories can help to prolong the life of wine. Inert gas sprays, containing nitrogen or argon can be used to replenish the oxygen in the bottle. This will not adversely interact with or decay the wine. Studies have shown, however, that refrigeration works even better than inert gas remedies.
If you've accidentally pushed the cork into the bottle, don't hesitate to serve the wine. After all, the wine has already been in contact with the cork. It won't damage the wine. However, if the cork is old and falling to pieces, decant the wine before serving to remove the cork dust and crumbly bits.