Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Wine >
Sep 27, 2006 05:00 PM

ISO corkscrew and wine preserver

i'm looking for a new wine opener and wine preserver. either purchased separately or in a set, which would you recommend?

i came across the rabbit corkscrew set that had a preserver as well. had decent reviews but would rather hear from fellow chowhounders. which do you use and/or which would you buy or own? TIA

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Clamp-and-lever-type corkscrews are efficient but unweildy. I tend to use them only when I have a large number of bottles to open, like for a tasting.

    The closest thing I've found to a fail-safe corkscrew is the Screwpull. That said, I almost always reach for a hinged waiter's friend: fits in a pocket; is easy to hold; has an integrated foil-cutter; is unfazed by wax capsules; allows fast removal of corks from the worm; and is inexpensive (the luxury models are nice but don't do a better job).

    By the way, the worms on most fancy corkscrews are Teflon-coated these days. While that's generally a good thing, beware that many synthetic corks will strip off the Teflon. That's why I keep a non-Tefloned waiter's friend just for the synthetics.

    Having tried and even taken part in blind-tasting tests of most popular domestic wine-preserving systems, including air pumps like Vacu-vin, I've come to the conclusion that inert-gas systems like Private Preserve are the only way to go.

    1 Reply
    1. re: carswell

      Second on all of that.

      Some synthetic corks I've ecountered have been hard enough to bend a Screwpull.

      Another caveat on corkscrews: most Italian bottles have a slightly narrower neck, so if you push an Ah-So all the way down, it'll crack the glass.

    2. An effective wine preservation system I use is to transfer the leftover wine from a 750ml bottle to a half bottle and store it in the refridgerator (yes, even reds).

      1. I've been very satisfied with the inert gas system made be WineLife.

        About $10 a can, will treat 120+ bottles.

        As for corkscrew, I really like the new auto-twist model by ScrewPull. Like a lever opener, no "yanking" is involved, just twist and out comes the cork. Not as bulky as a lever opener either.

        1 Reply
        1. re: newJJD

          By way of another suggestion, but also to ask if you have any comparison to offer....... Private Preserve seems to be a more widely available inert gas preservative in this area. But......... I notice that Winelife claims TEN days of preservation without any oxidation, while Private Preserve seems to offer NO specific claims.

          Everything I've ever read on this subject suggests that a fairly educated palate can detect changes after 4 days or so at best with ANY of the available systems.. Does Winelife stand up to it's 10 day claim, in your opinion? Any experience with Private Preserve?

        2. Sorry I am not familiar with Private Preserve, I'd never even heard of it until today... maybe it is not available in Canada, where I live!

          Winelife does hold its claim in my opinion, within reason. If there is an inch of wine at the bottom of the bottle, the life span for drinkability is 3-4 days depending on the quality of the wine. If the bottle is half or 2/3 full, 7-10 is not out of the question.

          Case in point - We did a blind tasting featuring 6 bottles of 2003 Los Cardos Malbec (a well made $10 wine) as follows:
          1) Freshly opened bottle
          2) A 1 hour decanted bottle
          3) A half-full bottle that had been "vaccumed" for 3 days
          4) A winelife treated near full bottle left for 10 days
          5) A winelife treated half full bottle left for 7 days
          6) A winelife treated near empty bottle left for 5 days.

          The results

          #2 was clearly the most flavorful
          Very little difference betweeb # 1, 4, 5
          #6 had started to oxidize
          #2 undrinkable

          For anything less than half full - I transfer it to an empty sterile 1/2 bottle first. And I re-cork IMMEDIATELY after spraying (The stopper/cork is already on it way in as the straw is coming out!)

          Hope this helps

          4 Replies
          1. re: newJJD

            hey, newJJD... I'm sorry...I think you have a typo here with
            the second #2 --is that supposed to be wine #3??

            Good, informal study, BTW...

            1. re: maria lorraine

              Yes it should have read #3 undrinkable, thank you for pointing that out.

            2. re: newJJD

              Your posting of your blind tasting is much appreciated. Our group is of many minds regarding how to save an open bottle (mostly hey, just drink it), and your data helps.

              What is missing datawise (for me) is 1/2 bottle, vacuumed vs corked for one day. Although, the comments above and below regarding the use of a half bottle make more sense regardless. Can the half bottle just be run thru the dishwasher to sterilze, anybody?

              1. re: Steve K

                Yes, the dishwasher does the trick (just make sure to rinse it afterwards to remove any lingering soap residue).

            3. Not to mention that if you know you're not going to finish a bottle and have a half bottle lying around, it will keep longer if you immediately fill it when you open the larger bottle and then cap it off. If you fill it far enough, you don't have to bother with gas or vacuuming.