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Keeping oxygen from the wine....

OK, I'm not a wine expert by any stretch of the imagination, so forgive me if my question is too easy:

I attended a (fascinating!) lecture about nutrition, aging and disease prevention today (It was a continuing education lecture). Anyway, I won't overly bore you with the details (speaker recommends eating a serving of each of the following foods once per day: spinach, sardines, and blueberries...)..but he also recommends one glass a day of red wine for women (two is ok for men....)....and NO MORE. Oh, and did you know that Pinot Noir has the highest concentration of the good antioxidants you're looking for??

But, the kicker is this: If you open the bottle, drink your glass or two, then there will undoubtably be wine left. HOWEVER, if you just stick the cork on top oxygen will enter, and that will break down the anti-oxidants. Now, the speaker mentioned a device with some sort of vacumn seal...anyone know where you can get one? And this may be a really stupid question, but would a screw-top bottle help? (and if so, can anyone recommend good Pinot Noirs with good screw tops??) Or at least anyone know of any good Pinots that come in "half-bottles"? I hate to see good wine go to waste....

DH and I are serious about trying the glass of red wine a day thing, and appreciate your advice. I mean, its not like we're being forced to drink something we hate :-) This guy had some very convincing statistics. And since I like spinach, blueberries, AND sardines, we will probably attempt to incorporate those as well.

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  1. This has been discussed recently in several threads. For example, see www.chowhound.com/topics/show/303282

    In a sentence, many people who have experimented with home wine preservation systems prefer inert gas and freezing over vacuum seals.

    1. Janet,

      Unless you're going to keep that open bottle of red for more than 2-3 days without finiishing it off, there is really insufficient opportunity for oxidative reactions to take place which would/could significantly effect the levels of the many phytochemical compounds in wine that contribute to its healthful benefits.

      1. The key to storing leftover is, upon un-corking the bottle, keep a clean 375cl half-bottle with screw-cap (these are usually low-end wines and available in your local supermarket or wine stores) handy and fill-it and store it in your refrigerator.

        This does not fully prevent oxygenation, but I found it to keep the wine much fresher-tasting than a half-full regular bottle that I simple re-corked.

        1. I've used the vacuum seals with decent success, at least to store bottles overnight. I've noticed that most wines, especially light- and medium-bodied reds, retain their fresh fruit notes somewhat better with the seals. With bigger reds, the differences aren't as noticeable.

          The seals are available at wine stores all over the place.

          1. If you want to drink a glass of unoxidized wine a day, get wine in a box:


            However, the apparent health benefits of wine seem from the latest research to be the same as for any alcohol.

            Moreover, the theory that antioxidants are behind the health benefits of eating lots of fruits and vegetables has been pretty well discredited. It does not seem that drinking fruit juice or wine, or taking supplements, has the same benefits.

            1. Robert,

              If you follow these things closely, you may be interested in some of the research exploring the action of resveratrol (one of the promising phytochemicals in wine) in changing cellular functions to mimic the beneficial changes of caloric restriction. Scientific American has been tracking some of this research.

              1 Reply
              1. re: DonnyMac

                The most recent thing I read in New Scientist was, "What little evidence there is comes from epidemiological studies, some of which suggest that polyphenols prevent disease and others of which do not. While polyphenols act as antioxidants in the test tube, it is not clear that they are absorbed into the bloodstream ... 95 per cent of a flavonoid called resveratrol ... is destroyed by our digestive system before it enters circulation."

                So let's open another bottle!

              2. The lecturer I listened to thinks that resveratrol is very important...and that even if a large percentage is destroyed by disgestion before it enters circulation...that still leaves some...which may just be the some you need. He thinks that its the action of resveratrol that is responsible for the "French Paradox" (ie the ability of the French to stay thin and avoid high rates of cardiovascular disease while they smoke heavily and eat lots of fats....). And Pinot Noir has the highest amount of resveratrol....

                Heck, maybe its just the fact that the French don't eat nearly the preservatives and additives that US folks do that explains the difference. But the good doctor recommended a glass of pinot noir (or similar red wine) every evening....and since I like his prescription, who am I to argue??

                5 Replies
                1. re: janetofreno

                  It's unknown at this point whether resveratrol in wine has health benefits or not. The evidence to date suggests not, since large studies have found that moderate quantities of any alcohol seem to have similar health benefits.

                  But since a daily glass of wine is definitely good for you, and oxidation makes it taste bad, there's no harm in assuming that resveratrol is desirable.

                  1. re: janetofreno

                    Interesting article about a new resveratrol study in today's New York Times.


                    "The mice were fed a hefty dose of resveratrol, 24 milligrams per kilogram of body weight. Red wine has about 1.5 to 3 mg of resveratrol per liter, so a person would need to drink from 10 to 20 bottles of red wine a day to get such a dose."

                    Guess I better go get started ...

                    1. re: Robert Lauriston

                      The NYT must have made a mistake in their original article, they've revised that:

                      "The mice were fed a hefty dose of resveratrol, 24 milligrams per kilogram of body weight. Red wine has about 1.5 to 3 milligrams of resveratrol per liter, so a 150-lb person would need to drink 750 to 1,500 bottles of red wine a day to get such a dose."

                      1. re: Robert Lauriston

                        Darn I was working on the 10 to 20 bottles...
                        "On a good day I drink 3-4 bottles of wine. On a bad day I drink 5-6" -- Gerard Depardieu

                        1. re: Robert Lauriston

                          Wow, they've revised it yet again! "Red wine has about 1.5 to 3 milligrams of resveratrol per liter, so a 150-pound person would need to drink from 1,500 to 3,000 bottles of red wine a day to get such a dose."

                    2. You can get a vacuum sealer at most wine stores, Bed Bath and Beyond etc. I think they work pretty well for up to 4 days. Elvis' comment is very good...keep a small container on hand to store leftover wine. The important thing is to store the wine in a tightly sealed container that has little room at the top for oxygen to get in.

                      1. I'm not a fan of the vacuum sealers. Primarily because, to my palate, the rubber cork imparts some negative flavor. Did a double blind test one day to see if it was just in my mind. My recommendation is to get a can or two of gas. VERY easy to use and for 2-3 days, should be no problem at all... longer does work, but it doesn't sound like you need longer than that.

                        I use a product called Private Reserve. Just one note, when you get the cans, and lift them, they will feel empty. They aren't... I use this stuff all the time. Here is a link...


                        1 Reply
                        1. re: woojink

                          We have started using the decant-to-a-half-bottle system and wine the second day is equal to when first opened. Since it never makes it another day, who knows after that, but no-change over 24 hours is pretty good. We usually know whether we are going to finish a bottle or not, and decant to the half bottle as soon as the initial bottle is first opened.

                          Of course, our friends wonder why we would ever have left-over wine....