Few things enhance the enjoyment of a meal as much as a good wine. This pretty generally comes in bottles, and especially if you’re only dining with one other person, or you insist on pairing a different wine with each course, 750 ml is often too much to drink at one sitting.
Storing a bottle, corked and in the refrigerator, usually doesn’t result in drinking actual vinegar a day or three later, but you can certainly taste the difference. A large part of this is due to oxygen reacting with your wine: letting a red wine breathe for a bit helps to tone down the harsher tannins, but anything beyond that just erodes the flavor and turns the wine acrid.
Letting half of a good, not to mention expensive, bottle go to waste in this way is nothing short of a tragedy.
There’s no need to suffer, though. As long as you suck most of the air out of the bottle before sealing it, it should last just fine in a cold, dark place. How long you have to drink it depends on the kind of wine, but you can count on it remaining palatable for anything up to two weeks.
To use it, simply place one of the special rubber stoppers in the neck, fit the pump over it and work the handle until you hear a clicking sound, which indicates that enough air has been removed. To open later, just nudge the center part of the stopper to one side – you can actually hear the air hissing back into the bottle.
There are several similar products out there, including electric ones (though pushing the plunger is hardly manual labor). Vacu Vin is the best-known and most reliable brand, though, while many competitors disappoint in one way or another. Considering how much money a gadget like this can save you in the long run, it’s certainly worth it to pay a little more for quality in this case.