#1 Reinserting the stained side of the wine cork
Here’s an easy one to get started. When you are reinserting a cork back into the bottle for storage, you should always insert the stained side towards the wine. Essentially putting it back in the same way it came out.
Granted, it will be a little easier to insert the smaller side upside down, but resist that urge and squeeze it back down the way it came out. The reason? Because that stained side of the cork has already come into contact with the wine. Anything that might be on the clean side of the cork would have the potential of exposing the wine to new external elements.
#2 Decant More Than One Bottle of Wine With Only One Wine Decanter
This is a common problem around our house, and one that I finally found a great solution for. The situation is this: you’re hosting a party or having your wine friends over, but you only have one or two wine decanters. You have three bottles to decant in the hours leading up to the party. What do you do?
First of all, understand that simply opening the wine and pulling the cork out does very little to decant the wine. Sure, you are unlocking the wine from its preserved state, but very little surface area of the wine is making contact with air. It will take forever to decant a wine like this.
Instead, buy a small funnel for $2 next time you’re at the supermarket. Don’t get the tiniest one you can find because you don’t want any wine to spill out of the top.
Just make the sure the spout will fit in the neck of a bottle of wine and the cup you’re pouring into is large enough to provide spills. Then decant the first wine for an hour or so, pour it back in its original bottle, and move on to the next one. And so on.
By the time your guests arrive you can have all your wines decanted, sitting in the original bottle ready to go which is fun to pour anyway, plus you now have an empty decanter ready for any bottles that your guests bring.
#3 Create An Easy Foil Cork Display
This is a simple little pro move that I like. When you open a bottle, give the top of the bottle a nice clean, circular cut. Using a foil cutter helps.
This will create a circle disc shaped piece of foil which you can turn upside down and then gently lay the cork on and press to shape the foil around it. Place the cork display in front of the bottle when serving.
Now all of your guests can take a gander at the condition of the cork for the bottle you opened. I don’t know about you, but I’m always interested to look at the corks on different wines of different ages.
This simple display is a little better than just tossing the cork on the table, or even worse, throwing it away.
#4 Properly Pour Bubbly Wine
All type of sparkling wine will fizz like crazy when you pour them into an empty glass. You don’t want to look like the guy who pours his beer into a glass only to get flustered as the foam reaches the top and starts billowing over the side, making you wonder how many beers this person’s poured in their life.
The goal is not to get the wine (or beer) from the bottle to the glass as fast as possible. By taking just another few precious seconds, you can make a good clean pour, in a manner that is much more social anyway.
First pour a small splash of the sparkling wine in each person’s glass. Then go back to the first person’s glass and fill them up the rest of the way. This is a classy move that you see few people actually do, but you should.
#5 Open Wine Bottles With a Key
If you’re ever in a serious bind trying to get a cork out without an opener, you can always push the cork down inside the wine, which is easier said than done. Another solution to try first is the key trick.
Take any key that has a sharp jagged edge. Push it into the top of the cork diagonally as far as it will go. Then wrap a shirt or a towel around the end of the key for leverage, and while holding the bottle tight, begin to twist the key and the cork in a circular motion. As you twist, gently pull up on the cork, until it rises out the rest of the way.
#6 Quickly Chill a Warm White Wine
You have undoubtedly encountered the situation of having a warm bottle of white wine that you want to drink and serve right away. Solution #1: put an ice cube in the glass. Solution #2: throw it in the freezer. Both bad ideas.
Here’s what to do. Realize the fastest way to cool liquid is to surround it with other cooler liquid. Fill a bowl or a serving bucket (or even a plastic pitcher) with a “half cold water,” “half ice” mix and put the bottle in.
Using all ice is much slower than a cold ice water bath. From room temperature to proper drinking temperature, you’re looking at 10 minutes, give or take. While you wait, put the serving glasses in the refrigerator.
#7 Set Up A Wine Chilling Station in a Hotel Room
I have a few problems with chilling wine in hotel rooms. The first one is that the ice bucket is almost always too small and even if it’s not, it can only hold one bottle. My second issue is that ice access can be a long way from your room, maybe even on another floor.
Now one good solution is to call ahead and ask the hotel to remove all the items from the mini bar, which many will do. And you can use that. When I have multiple bottles to keep chilled though I actually prefer to use the sink in the bathroom combined with a lot of ice. Here’s why and how to best do it.
Use one of the laundry bags from the hotel room closet to get your ice. This way you can move a lot more ice on one trip than you could with the wimpy clear bags that they put in the wine buckets.
Put the stopper in the sink, fill it with a little water, throw the bottles and the ice in, and you’re good to go. When it melts, all you do is pull the stopper and everything disappears down the drain. Piece of cake.