Posts Tagged ‘preservation’

When the Lights Go Out: Keeping Your Wine Safe in Hurricanes & Other Power Outages

August 31st, 2011 No comments

Road Damage from Hurricane Irene (image from

Residents of the East Coast recently experienced the wrath of Hurricane Irene.  For the fortunate individuals who did not incur serious property damage and flooding, there were other issues to contend with: power outages.  Some storms can leave areas without power for days, meaning your wine cooling units will not operate.  And who wants to see a multi-thousand dollar investment ruined because of a power outage?  Aside from hooking your wine cooling units up to a generator, which is an option only if your personal survival is not dependent upon the same generator, there are a few things you can do to keep your wine safe (if you can still access your cellar!)  If you own a wine cabinet, like the Vinotheque Wine Reservoir, or a  N’Finity two temperature cooling unit, obtain a large block of dry ice and, while wearing work gloves, wrap it in clear cellophane (plastic wrap.)  Position it just above the top of the unit, and your wine will remain cool for about two days.  If most of your bottles are racked and you don’t have a wine cabinet, choose your most valuable wines and stand them upright in a large cooler or plastic storage tub.  Fill the container with ice.  Drain and re-ice as necessary. (Standing the bottles upright is okay in this emergency situation.  It helps minimize water/ice damage to labels, and also keeps the corks from being exposed to a fast temperature change.)  If your wines do happen rise above their typical storage temperature, they will age a bit quicker than anticipated.  This may mean that some will be ready to drink much sooner.  Keep this in mind when restocking them after the disaster, and consider using bottle tags to mark any questionable wines.  This way, you’ll remember to enjoy them before it’s too late.

ETL-Certified Monterey WineKeepers: The Safest Way to Preserve & Dispense Wine

July 18th, 2011 No comments

ETL Product logo

Several of Vintage Cellars’ products are ETL-certified (see our Education Center article about ETL for more information about the certification), but three of the new Monterey WineKeeper products are our first WineKeeper Wine Preservers & Dispensers to be tested and approved by Intertek‘s Electrical Testing Labs!

Feel confident that our Monterey 4-Bottle ETL WineKeeper, Monterey 8-Bottle ETL WineKeeper, and Monterey 12-Bottle ETL WineKeeper offer the safest way to preserve and dispense wine in your restaurant or bar. These products can cool several bottles of wine at once and they make dispensing both reds and whites a snap, especially during parties or wine tasting events. Monterey ETL WineKeepers keep your wine tasting fresh for weeks, so you never have to worry when you’re too tired for more than a single glass of wine before bed, and they reduce the risk of you filling up your fridge with half-consumed bottles.

So, consider an ETL-Certified Monterey WineKeeper. You’ll know that Intertek independently tested it for safety, and you’ll be pleasantly surprised by how perfect each and every glass of wine will taste and feel.

ETL Magnum 12 Bottle Wine Keeper

Wine Review: Jelu Malbec 2008

May 25th, 2011 No comments
Jelu Malbec 2008

Jelu Malbec 2008 Label

This hearty, Argentinean Malbec is quite robust!  Its delightful nose contains pleasing plum and vanilla scents.  The wine itself has prominent spicy flavors–very characteristic of Argentinean Malbecs–as well as those of dark plums, blackberries, and traces of vanilla.  The finish is quite good, lasting well over 40 seconds, and includes satisfying blackberry notes.  This is a wine sure to delight fans of “spicy” and “peppery” wines.  Often found at $12 a bottle, Malbec enthusiasts will want to try this affordable, solid example of a Bordeaux varietal that falls somewhere in-between a Cab and a Merlot.  Though the label mentions this wine is a good fit for “barbecue meat,” be careful of the barbecue sauce you use.  Sweeter sauces will not compliment this wine, but certain pasta sauces and rich cheeses certainly do. Any dish incorporating cranberries, unsweetened or semisweet, also makes a surprisingly good match, as will cashews.  Of course, this spicy red is quite good on its own, so enjoy a bottle of Jelu Malbec 2008 today!

Jelu Malbec 2008

Jelu Malbec 2008

If you’ve been faithfully trying all the wines we’ve reviewed here recently, you may find yourself with a few partial bottles that need storing! We carry a variety of wine preservation and dispensing systems to suit a range of needs, from the casual drinker (try the Pek Preservo for a single bottle–also a great gift!) to home (or restaurant) wine bar (check out the WineKeeper systems). These systems use argon or nitrogen to prevent oxidization of your open bottles.

Refill Canisters for Wine Preservation Systems–On Sale!

January 25th, 2011 No comments

If you use a wine preservation system like The Keeper, don’t forget that you’ll need to stock up on refill nitrogen canisters.  And nowwine preservation is a great time to buy!  These refill canisters are on sale right now, so it’s a great time to buy a few extras so that you won’t run out in a time of need.

refill canister

Each canister preserves 25 bottles of wine or so, and they’re available in 2-packs, 4-packs, 6-packs, or 12-packs.  So stock up now and forget about worrying that you’ll run out of nitrogen!

If you don’t have The Keeper wine preservation system, you’re in luck–it’s on sale too.  The Keeper is a wine preservation system that allows you to keep a bottle of wine fresh even after it’s been opened.  Wine preservation systems allow you to open a bottle of wine without worrying whether you’re in the mood to finish the whole thing.

The Keeper is a particularly elegant solution to this problem.  This system isn’t bulky and won’t take up a ton of space in your kitchen.  Just open a bottle of wine, plug in the stopper and the nitrogen, and you’re good to go.  The system replaces the oxygen in the top of the bottle with nitrogen, which is non-reactive and won’t change the taste of your wine like oxygen does.  It makes a great gift too!  You can get the standard preservation system, or even one that comes with an extra canister and stopper, allowing you to preserve more than one bottle at a time.

Wine-Saving Solution: The Napa 4-Bottle WineKeeper

January 13th, 2011 No comments

wine preservationIf you’re a wine aficionado, you’ll be drooling over this 4-bottle wine saving system by WineKeeper. WineKeeper makes devices that preserve and dispense open bottles of wine. If you’ve ever wanted to open a special bottle of wine, but haven’t felt up to finishing the whole thing at once, you’ve faced the dilemma of many wine collectors. You don’t want to leave a bottle open to lose some of the precious flavors you’ve been looking forward to, yet you don’t always want to down an entire bottle in one night.

If you’ve ever wanted to savor a bottle over a couple of nights, you might think about investing in a wine preservation system. This Napa 4-bottle WineKeeper is a great option for the home wine collector.

Here’s how it works: piping connected to each wine bottle dispenses nitrogen, replacing the oxygen in the tops of the bottles with this non-reactive gas.  While oxygen will interact with the chemicals in the wine, changing the way the flavors taste and pushing the wine towards rancid, nitrogen doesn’t.  Your wine is preserved in perfect condition, allowing you to drink it at your leisure.  When you’re ready to enjoy your wine, the WineKeeper smoothly dispenses it into your glass.

In addition, the WineKeeper keeps your wines at the correct temperature, and this model even comes with dual temperature zones, so you can store both whites and reds perfectly at once.  Perfectly kept wine, always at hand?  Sign me up!

The Thanksgiving Leftovers Solution

November 21st, 2010 No comments

The thing about Thanksgiving is that when the dishes are done and the last stray family member has been gently coaxed out the door, there are always leftovers.  I’m talking about two kinds of leftovers, one good, one bad.  The food leftovers are the wonderful ones: almost better than Thanksgiving itself is a perfect Thanksgiving leftovers sandwich with roast turkey, stuffing, and cranberry sauce inside.

But the leftovers you’re sad to find in the kitchen?  The half-empty wine bottles that collected on the table and in corners.  Whether you’re opening a new wine for each course, or pleasing everyone with one white and one red, you’re bound to have a couple of strays lingering in corners, unnoticed until after the guests have left.

Throwing out this kind of Thanksgiving leftovers would be sacrilegious to any true oenophile.  But what to do?  They’ll go bad before you can finish them off.  Meet the WineKeeper, a wonderful invention for wine lovers all year round, but especially useful for the adult version of Thanksgiving leftovers.

The WineKeeper is a wine preservation system to that allows you to keep your bottles perfectly fresh for weeks.  It works by

WineKeeper's 4-bottle "Napa" model

replacing the oxygen in the top of an opened bottle (which is what speeds up the aging process–too much exposure causes the wine to spoil), with nitrogen gas, which doesn’t react with the wine.  The bottle is hooked up to a tap, so that you can easily pour yourself (or a guest) a fresh glass whenever you please.

The WineKeeper is a great product for wine lovers, because it allows you to keep open several bottles at once.  Say you and your spouse feel like drinking different wines, or you’re hosting a small dinner party in which you show off your expertise by matching the perfect wine to each course.  A wine preservation system allows you to keep several bottles open at once without ever worrying that your hard-earned investment will end up down the drain.

If there’s a wine collector in your family, you might also consider a WineKeeper for a fabulous Christmas present.  Bonus: no wine will be wasted this Christmas dinner!

Wine Preservation: What to do with That Open Bottle

February 19th, 2010 No comments

Tightly sealed, a bottle of wine can keep for years.  In fact, if you’ve been reading this blog you know that many times, the best thing you can do for your bottles is to let them hang out in your cellar for a few years.  Wine slowly improves with age, in part because of a minimal exposure to a small amount of oxygen, which facilitates many of the reactions amongst the chemicals in the bottle.

But once opened, wine is extremely delicate.  An opened bottle is exposed to a drastically different environment than it is used to; one full of air, light, and temperature fluctuations: all the factors that drastically change the rate of the reactions the wine is undergoing.  An opened bottle of wine will oxidize and the next day will be, at best flat in flavor, and at worst, be full of acetic acid and taste like vinegar.  The wine drinker will have to pour that long-anticipated wine down the drain.

And so the wine drinker faces a conundrum: she must wait an agonizingly long time for her wine to reach the perfect age, using part science, part artistry to decide when it will reach its peak in flavor, but once she opens the wine, she must drink it all within a few hours.  Some bottles are so good that she’d rather savor them slowly.  And sometimes she’d like to enjoy a single glass of good wine without imbibing in the whole bottle.  Those who make an investment in wine shouldn’t feel pressured to down the whole bottle in a single sitting.

Fortunately, new technologies now allow the wine connoisseur to have her wine and drink it too.  Wine preservers (also called wine savers or wine keepers) allow an open bottle to stay perfectly fresh and ready to be enjoyed for several days.  Wine preservers attach to the top of the bottle and work by removing some of the air in the space between the wine and the top.  Some wine preservers displace the air in the bottle with a harmless gas, a practice that ensures that all of the air is removed and the aging process is drastically slowed.

Vintage Cellars offers several different types of wine preservers.  The Wine Keeper is a great one.  Its design is simple: a stopper attached to a small canister of nitrogen gas which flows into the bottle, keeping oxygen out and flavor in.

But the Pek Wine Steward is my personal favorite.  It replaces the air in the bottle with argon gas instead of nitrogen, and also micromanages the temperature of the wine bottle, serving as a perfect small-scale wine refrigerator.  Its sleek modern design is attractive enough to look great in any kitchen.

If you’ve ever had a bottle of wine go bad because you didn’t want to drink the whole thing in one sitting, check out these great products from Vintage Cellars and savor your wine at your own pace.

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Drink it, Preserve it or…Recycle it?

September 1st, 2009 No comments

As the world moves to a greener frame of mind, just recycle wine.  I’ve been in many discussions with clients and friends about the topic of an unfinished bottle.  In my opinion, you have 3 options: drink it, preserve it or recycle it.  For the sake of argument, let’s remove the drink it option and you are left with preserve the wine or recycle it.

Use the search word “wine preservation” in Google and you’ll spend the next 24 hours looking at the vast array of wine preservation equipment.  You can spend hundreds, even thousands of dollars on dispensing and preservation.  The battle is against oxygen and the oxidation of the wine.  PEK Preservation equipment uses argon gas to displace the oxygen.  The Keeper line of equipment uses nitrogen.  It’s an entirely separate debate on which is better.  You can even consider the inexpensive Vintner System which will allow you to preserve and pour wines by the glass.  These are just a few examples of available wine preservation equipment.  The least expensive option? Cork the bottle tightly and place it in the back of the fridge.  It will keep for about 2 days.  Which ever wine preservation method you choose, it’s likely the wine will lose some of the qualities you noticed when it was opened.

Personally, I prefer to recycle wine rather then preserve.  Recycle may not be the proper term, but an open bottle of red wine can turn into great sangria for the next party.  The fruit, sugar and higher alcohol content will bring a new life to the wine.  Another idea is to make red wine vinaigrette or other salad dressing.  Use it to deglaze a pan to add richer flavor to a sauce.  A few weeks ago, I used 1/3 a bottle of a great Zinfandel in a slow cooked beef short rib recipe.  Delicious!  You could simply marinade a good steak to add a new dimension of flavor.

So whether you choose to drink, preserve or recycle, there are many options available for that lonely, leftover or unfinished bottle of wine.