How-To & Diy

Saving Leftover Wine

April 27, 2012


Saving leftover wine is risky business. It never tastes quite the same, even if you use one of those fancy air-vacuum pumps. Sure, you can just put the cork back on and stick the bottle in the fridge, but that only keeps the wine drinkable for another day or so.

We'll admit that bottles don't usually go unfinished around here, but in the rare instance that we've got leftover wine on hand, we want to be able to keep it for a few days -- and we want it to still taste good. Today, Amanda's sharing a gadget-free trick she learned from Moore Brothers Wine Company for saving leftover wine that meets our demands.

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And just for fun, we're including a photo tutorial of our new favorite wine-saving process. 

Saving Wine Full
Fill a sealable container to the very top. Make sure it's just a little too full.

Spill Close
Some wine should spill while you're covering the container -- this is a good thing. Close it tight, wipe it off and store it in the fridge for up to a week. 

Today's video was shot by Alex Lisowski, and edited by Kyle Orosz. Photos by James Ransom.

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I'm a freelance food and prop stylist, writer/editor, and video producer.


Margaret M. April 30, 2012
Love to drink beer and 'moonshine' out of Mason jars. It never would have occurred to me to STORE leftover wine in an overfilled Mason jar. We're always grumbling about too-tall Riesling bottles toppling on the fridge door. Here is the solution!
Peter April 30, 2012
So funny -- years ago I bought a bunch of smallish glass marbles. The idea was to drop them into the half-finished wine bottle until the bottle was overflowing and then cork it up.
Helen R. April 29, 2012
Great idea! A beer bottle work's great for this. It's exactly half of the wine bottle and since it has such a small opening, almost no wine is exposed to air once it's filled to the top. My husband came up with this awesome trick. Every time we open a bottle of wine, we first pour enough of it into a beer bottle to fill it to the brim (use a funnel for this), close it, and put in the fridge. Then we drink the rest. Half a bottle is all we can drink on the daily basis.
LeBec F. April 29, 2012
helen, tell your husband he is BRILLiant! And it is also a very clever quota enforcing technique!!
Pauline April 29, 2012
It's rare that I have leftover wine but your solution is great!
RobertRoss April 29, 2012
This is a very good idea for saving wine; I've used the quarter and half bottles in the same way, especially with screw caps, but the advantage of a Ball jar is the larger opening. It's a great way to have half a bottle for a meal (a bit of budgeting at work) and saving the balance for another meal later when the saved wine might match the food better.

One suggestion: the basic idea here is to avoid getting air in the wine and the resulting oxidation, hence the great advice to overfill the jar. You can reduce the aereation when filling the jar with wine by pouring the wine very slowly down the side of the jar avoiding as much turbulence (and air) as possible.

Freezing wine works very well indeed. I use it for drinking (usually), cooking and making vinegar, depending the wine.

I've used the freezing and the quarter/half bottle techniques for over 15 years, and wine will keep for months if you are careful to avoid adding air as you pour into the container.

Robert Ross
dymnyno April 28, 2012
FYI, Jim Laube, Senior Editor of the Wine Spectator claims that he regularly freezes leftover wine, with good results.
LeBec F. April 29, 2012
dymnyno, since you are out there, smack dab in the middle of the wine industry, i was hoping you would pipe in! He freezes it to drink later or to cook later? I had read awhile back of reducing wine and freezing it or just refrig'ing it- but only for cooking, iirc.
thnxttthx, mindy

dymnyno April 29, 2012
Jim freezes the wine to drink later. We don't usually have left over wine, but if I do, I add it to my vinegar. Love your attitude...keep it up! You are one creative, passionate lady!!!
coffeefoodwrite April 29, 2012
I wonder how this would work with champagne...Dmnyno do you know? thx!
(we did have one airtight champagne cork that worked pretty well -- but the flavor dissipated...)
Tracy A. April 28, 2012
What leftover wine?
LeBec F. April 28, 2012
Don't get me wrong. I think this is a terrific trick. But 1 question> Don't you guys have an awful lot more important ways to use your time than producing a video of something you've so easily and simply alREADy explained through a few photos w/ text? Do you have some video quota you have to fill or something? I love watching Amanda's smart articulate preentation and beautiful face, I just don't know why youall think it best to rpvide photos w/ text AND a video , for something so simple. OVERkill!
But a great tip, so thanks much for that. 52 is the best.
cookiestmj April 28, 2012
oh MY god @LE BEC FIN -- someone NEEDS to stop over-thinkINNNg this whole thing --is it thinking or serious amounts of free time-- and have a glass of wine her damn self. OVERbuzz on the feed! Pretty sure they said "JUST for FUN." My goodness, want some disco fries?
cookiestmj April 28, 2012
also -- some of us don't want to watch the video and look at this website from work when we shouldn't be. thx.
LeBec F. April 28, 2012
gee, sorry if it offended you. c. For me, i just see the maaaany things that need attention on 52 (their lists are very long, i know) and that old phrase"so little time, so much to do" pops up.

your comment also reminds me that women really do have a thing about criticism on sites like these. the climate is overwhelmingly"!!!" and aren't you wonderful. I have always believed that constructive feedback is essential for improvement. Constructive, not destructive.
cookiestmj April 28, 2012
well, i think they are hiring, so you should send in your application! the "maaaany things that need attention on 52" could be your job alone!

Here's something constructive: read the post, and it says "fun" in it. read the comments that aren't yours. they're "fun," I'd say.

On the same "constructive" note, I'd say that your incessant barrage of the ways to clean up the "maaaany things that need attention on 52" comes across as destructive, and maybe as a member of the site you should think about HOW you come across, because you mostly just sound like a sourpuss who wouldn't need this post -- just drink the bottle and relax! geez!

* I only became a member recently to respond to you, though I've read the site and enjoyed its ebb and flow like any other growing website with typical growing pains. *

Maybe you should turn the mirror back on yourself and think before you type. Or maybe pull the mason jar from fridge and sip the leftovers before leaving a comment! Relax and maybe your comments will be comments, not noise!

LeBec F. April 28, 2012
Ha! well, if you only just became a member to respond to me then I guess it's def worth it, taking one for the team. look forward to seeing your participation more.
cookiestmj April 28, 2012
Well, when something so simple is so oddly misconstrued, it proves that at times the small things really make the difference. I guess it's true: sometimes just enough is -really- just enough.

I personally am looking forward to Food 52's continually amazing posts, pictures, videos, et al. And some amusing posts, like yours!

Cheers! (filled-to-the-brim mason jar of wine to toast)
Amanda H. April 29, 2012
Overkill is our specialty -- have you seen our April Fool's extravaganza? Photos and video can be distributed very differently, plus we just felt like doing both, because that's the way we roll. Thanks for your concern.
LeBec F. April 29, 2012
Oh, that's so cool to know that these pieces have outlets beyond what we see on I had no idea! So glad others get the benefit as well.
Greenstuff April 28, 2012
What I understand is that it's best to use a somewhat hard plastic, like a used and empty commercial water bottle. Pour your leftover wine in, squeeze until it's about to overflow, and then cap. Custom sizing for the container.
Stinky April 27, 2012
I'm thinking maybe avoid aerating the wine any more than necessary by pouring it carefully against the side of the jar?
Droplet April 27, 2012
Thank you, Amanda. I think it would be a good idea to designate a jar for the sole purpose of storing wine and tuck it in the cupboard somewhere, because otherwise a pickle jar that has previously served its purpose will surely make the wine worse than any oxygen amount can.
jeanmarieok April 27, 2012
Ha, you made me laugh!!
jeanmarieok April 27, 2012
Sorry - this was supposed to go under wssmom's comment - but it made me login again, and made it like a new comment!
pierino April 27, 2012
Well, I do own stock in Ball (they make other surprising things besides jars) so keep it up. Buy more jars!
amysarah April 27, 2012
I do the filling a Ball jar to the brim with leftover wine thing all the time. Due to the color, we refer to it as the 'specimen' in the fridge. Think about it. (Sorry - we're very infantile around here.)
Panfusine April 27, 2012
I thought only confirmed Lab rats like me used that term 'specimen'.. !
Susige April 27, 2012
wssmom, you just made me laugh out loud.... I'm still chuckling. Thanks!
Panfusine April 27, 2012
Thats it?? & here I was assuming that the only way to store left over wine was in my stomach! Dang.. all those 25% that I've poured down the sink..
Speaking of wines. David Lebovitz had an article on the subject:
wssmom April 27, 2012
The other day someone told me I could make ice cubes with leftover wine. I was confused. What is leftover wine?