Pouring wine in the sink when it has faded is always a shame. Do you know there are many solutions to avoid this awful situation and enjoy your wine until the last sip?
First let’s try to understand why does wine fades away. Any wine opens up and evolves when in contact with air: it becomes more expressive - which is why we generally advise to open your bottles a few minutes (or hours!) before tasting it (read our wine tasting tips here). With more time, wine gets oxidized by the air and tastes quite different - until it becomes vinegar! Your wine will become darker, lose its structure and aromas would go away slowly but surely.
It is important to note that full-bodied red wines will hold longer - potentially up to 5 days - thanks to their tannins, whereas rosé or white wine only rely on their acidity. Some sweet wines such as Sauternes or Jurançon are protected by their residual sugar and should last much longer once opened.
Now let’s look at how to keep a bottle once opened. The important thing to have in mind is to keep the air away from the wine as much as possible. The most famous - and simple - solution is a vacuum pump, which is cheap and easy to find. All is does is pump the air out of the bottle and seal it with a special cork. Even a cheap version should help saving your wine for a few extra days (for more guidelines read our article on how to store your wine at home).
A more recent product - for higher budgets! - is the Coravin system, starting around £200. This revolutionary tool allows you to drink a glass or two without even opening the bottle! It looks like a big screwpull with a needle that goes through the cork to extract some wine and replace it with a neutral gas (nitrogen), preventing air to oxidize the rest of the wine. This technique is costly but is the best one, by far - no surprise to see it in a growing numbers of bars and restaurants. Coravin allows them to sell a greater number of wines (and some quite expensive ones) by the glass.
If you don’t have any fancy equipment to keep your wine once opened, you can still do something to slow down oxidation. First of all, put the cork back on to avoid more air coming inside. Remember that the two main factors of the oxidation process are light and heat. The most obvious place for your opened bottle is therefore… your fridge. That’s right, even for red wines - but you’ll have the additional constraints of taking it out a little while before drinking it.
Finally, another option is to pour the wine in a smaller bottle - if you have one. The less air, the slower oxidation. Smart, but not very convenient we agree!
Considering all this, let’s agree that the best and cheapest option will always remain the most simple one - drink up the whole bottle. Like my Grandad used to say, always finish what you’ve started ;-)