Keep your Wines from becoming Middle Aged, Like Me

As opposed to talking about my favorite wine, be it chardonnay or the noble cabernet sauvignon, I want to discuss the on-going effort to keep the rest of that bottle that you didn’t sell fresh until you do. Not only to keep your customer pleased with the product you serve him but to protect your rather large investment when you consider how many wines most establishments sell by the glass these days.

mr_middleagedThere are many preservation systems for sale to use by restaurateurs and wine bars, most of which work well… except the “replace the cork” method. Understand, of the many things that hurt wine…heat and light to name two… the one you do the most battle with is air. Yes, the life source to us is death to wine. You need to choose a method of keeping air from oxidizing your wine with considering the economical budgets of business. The customer of today expects you to care for the wine properly, don’t be the one to disappoint them.

Gas is one choice. Gas whether nitrogen or argon is inherently heavier than air. Thus, as any good wine person knows a layer of this gas injected into the bottle will lie on the wine and form a blanket over the wine not allowing the oxygen to it, simple. There are many different types of systems to give you this capability, some not so simple. Choosing one depends on your budget and the time you want to spend at the end of the shift or evening performing this task.

Cabinet style systems such as winekeeper and Cruvinet have multiple models and are highly effective. They keep the wine at the correct temperature, look great and entice wine customers with their appeal of freshness. A new entry to the U.S. is Enomatic, an Italian company founded in 2001 in Tuscany. They also have many models to choose from and are the cutting edge of the industry. From in line, mobile, round kiosk units to custom made…they have it all. They also may be customized for 3 different volume pours, digital price display, temperature control, software to be controlled from a central computer and more. It may be smart enough to gauge your mood and pick your wine for you, who knows? Also check into wine Saver Pro for more affordable systems, but they don’t have the selection or pizzazz of the other systems.

Many by the glass programs offer 20 wines and up and you look at the cost of these systems and gasp! You can also get the performance of gas without the big expense with products such as Private Preserve, gas in a can marketed by the wine Enthusiast. It gives you up to 120 saves at a cost of $10.00 a can, and it’s easy to use. The can is so light you’ll think it’s empty when you pick it up, allowing bartenders and wine stewards an easy and effective way to preservation when compared to pumping bottles after their shift. With just a couple of squirts of gas and you will be saving your investment and giving tomorrow’s customer a fresh glass of wine.

The other popular way is to get the air out of the bottle. The original is Vacu Vin. This instrument sucks the air out of the bottle and the special cork used closes behind it to form a seal until it is pinched to allow air in and removed for use. There is a similar product called V-Gauge which has a gauge that shows the vacuum process is complete. Vacu Vin also makes a similar model that makes a clicking sound when the process is complete called Concerto. These products, at a cost of $19.95 compared to $4.95 for the original, hardly seem worth it to me. All Vacu Viners know when the air is out of the bottle without a gauge or LED light telling you. Motorized systems that are great for home use and all around gadgetry are also available but at a cost of over one hundred dollars for most. One complaint of this form of preservation is the purists feel it vacuums some of the delicate nuances out of the wine. You can smell the wine in the air you pump out, but the system works.

Whatever your choice of preservation is, at least you are using something. Don’t just replace the cork and think everything will be OK, because come tomorrow morning your wine will have become middle aged, overnight, like me.

Some web sites to browse for wine systems: