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What to do with Leftover Wines

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Whether you have leftover wine from dinner or from a larger get together, the question comes up - what to do with the wine, when finishing it isn't necessarily your best bet? When it comes to leftover wine, you've got several options: keep it, pitch it, or "recycle it."

To Keep or Not to Keep

If you are trying to decide to keep the wine for a day two debut, know that it just won't be the same, no matter what recorking and storing techniques you implement, but there are some strategies that work better than others.

Rule #1 in the battle against oxidation is refrigeration. Whether you want to prolong the life of a red wine or a white, make sure to pop it in the refrigerator instead of letting it sit out on the counter overnight.

Rule #2 to up your odds of preserving the wine intact, make sure you recork it with the tightest fit possible. Often the cork that you popped will still fit the bottle top, but if not make sure to use a replacement cork that fits snug to ensure the best possible seal. Many of the "decorative," hobby-top corks are cute, but don't hold a tight seal. The Vacu Vin stoppers or the Lever Bottle Stoppers typically hold well and serve as a good replacement cork if needed.

Another strategy for tackling wine degradation is to use a squirt of Private Preserve, an inert, non-toxic gas that displaces the oxygen that creeps into the empty portion of the bottle.

There is also the smaller bottle option. If you have a half-bottle or less of wine, then pouring it into a clean 375 ml wine bottle will significantly decrease the bottle's capacity for holding surplus oxygen at the top. To use this option, simply pour, cork and pop in the refrigerator - enjoy the next day.

Recycling Wine

There is no reason to let a favorite wine go to waste, when you can put it to good use in another venue. While an opened wine may not be up to the same performance level a day later, it could star in a Sangria recipe where the fruit, sugar and additional alcohol will give it new life. Or consider using the past-prime wine in a mulled wine recipe or an easy marinade or perhaps playing front and center in a wine-based salad dressing. Cooking with wine is another way to both redeem an opened bottle of wine and infuse richer flavors into sauces, soups and meats. Definitely a win-win!

So, when it comes to deciding whether to finish the bottle, pitch the bottle or hold it over for day two - remember you've got some options.

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