Just because wineglasses are bigger than ever before, doesn’t mean that you have to (or even want to) finish an entire bottle of wine in one sitting. Sometimes you want to savor a glass or two now and save the rest for later, especially if it’s a really nice wine. That’s why it’s good to have a wine stopper on hand, something that’ll keep wine fresh after opening. And though you might be picturing one of those decorative wine stoppers, like the one with a shamrock that you got at your cousin’s wedding, those are kind of useless when it comes to preventing wine from spoiling or spilling.
That’s why, to help you find the best wine stoppers and vacuums, I reached out to sommeliers and beverage directors to learn about the gadgets they use to keep open bottles of wine fresh and Champagne still-bubbly when they can’t finish the whole bottle.
“I recommend Vacu Vin wine sealers to preserve wine from the night before. They were recommended to me by my peers. I’ve always used them, even after trying other brands. Their vacuum seal really does help preserve delicate aromatics and flavors that are otherwise lost.” —Victoria James, beverage director, Cote; certified sommelier
“The Vacu Vin system has been around forever for a reason. While I wouldn’t recommend it for sparkling wines, the pump that’s included with it to get the wine-killing oxygen out of the bottle helps keep still wines fresh for days.”
“Fante’s Aunt Vittorina’s Champagne stopper is my favorite, and it is produced in Italy. It has the single side-hinge clasp with a rubber stopper for the spout of the bottle. This stopper is my favorite because it holds the carbonation very well and is easy to use. I ultimately favor it over other stopper styles because the rubber stopper mimics the pressure the original cork had on the wine the best, and the hinge clasp makes it very hard to accidentally slip off and lose the carbonation of the wine.” —Joshua MacGregor, sommelier, DB Bistro Moderne by Daniel Boulud
“I find this closure to be both effective in maintaining pressure and also versatile in regards to the bottle shapes that it works with. One note for those trying this at home: Be careful when opening the bottle, this stopper does such a good job that it can be rather loud if you do not open the bottle slowly, and also the stopper can shoot out of your hand from the pressure if you’re not careful.”
“Personally, I use the Electric Blue 1 Automatic Preserver and Opener System. I prefer using something that removes the air to keep the integrity of the wine for shorter periods of time, as an open bottle doesn’t last more than a few days in my house. Other options that use forms of argon or nitrogen gas are great for longer-term preservation. But for me, nothing is easier or more efficient than popping in a stopper and placing the electric preserver on the stopper for a few seconds to help ensure the wine stays fresh and delicious when I go back for another glass.” —Marshall Tilden III, vice-president of sales, Wine Enthusiast
“For a more advanced system, you can’t go wrong with the Coravin. For home drinkers (or for the husbands of pregnant wives who can’t drink) who want to enjoy a nice bottle of wine, but don’t want to commit to drinking a whole bottle, the Coravin lets you get what you need out of the bottle without actually opening it. At over $275, it’s by far the most expensive option, but one that’s worth the investment.” —Tschudi
“I use the Crate & Barrel Champagne stopper. It’s made of metal that looks nice. There’s a plastic part on the bottom that works the best I’ve seen at preventing gas leakage, with a lever to hold it in place. Alternatively, I drink the whole bottle.” —John Slover, wine director, Major Food Group