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How the internet can help you build a corking wine collection

When it comes to buying wine online, UK online wine sales reached £800 million in 2015, according to Wine Intelligence. We can now buy virtually any wine in the world at the touch of a button. From the most exceptional and rare wine, to the most ordinary and affordable. From every grape variety to every price range. Wherever you are, you can find up-to-date information about thousands of wines.

Before you buy wine online, you can also check reviews and tasting notes from an array of enthusiasts and wine specialists. This has seen an increasing number of wine collections grown from wine bought online. Here are some tips to boost your wine collection from the internet.

Keep to your tastes

You need to vary your purchases, to include tried and tested wines that you know you like, to new wines. It’s often a recommended strategy to start with buying wines from wineries whose wines you already know that you like. You should also take note of new wines you’ve tasted at restaurants, or with friends which we have liked.

…but also experiment

You shouldn’t hold back from ordering new wines as you’ll miss out on the pleasures of a huge array of wines. In fact, you will find that gradually your tastes will develop and, without even realising it, you will vary and widen your selection. It’s just about making a start, and taking it slowly.

Don’t buy more than you can drink now or store properly

You either need to drink your wine soon after receiving them, or store them properly. You’ll need to store them in a cool, ventilated place, with little light and consistent temperature and humidity. Or, if you haven’t got an area like this in your home, then invest in a wine fridge.

Combine moderately-priced wines with premium, select bottles

There are thousands of quality wines which are at the lower end of the pricing scale. But they may not necessarily be exceptional wines. Therefore, to give a touch of distinction and class to your collection, consider adding some higher priced wines. Ideally, you’d want to try to buy the most expensive wines as soon as they come out onto the market. If stored properly, these wines will increase in value over time and result in a great investment.

Building a wine collection can be both a satisfying and interesting journey. Naturally, at the beginning it will be difficult to create diversity within your collection. But once you start to delve deeper into the world of wine, your tastes will evolve and broaden. And to help you, online wine retailers offer a wider selection than their bricks and mortar counterparts. This offers a great opportunity to try something new.

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How to prolong the life of your opened wine

No one wants to waste a good bottle of wine. Or any bottle of wine for that matter. But there will inevitably be times when you’ve not quite finished a bottle. Understandably you may want to keep the wine for the next day, especially if it was a good bottle. But as soon as it’s opened, the wine becomes exposed to oxygen. This sets off a chain reaction, breaking down delicate flavours, softening harsh flavours and bringing out delicate fragrances. However, the length of time the wine benefits from oxidation is brief. Very soon it develops a strong vinegary taste, a clear sign the wine has gone bad. And while recorking slows down the process, oxygen has already got into your wine. 

So, how can you keep wine fresh so it still tastes good?

Making your wine last longer

  • Re-cork properly: The first rule of preserving your wine is to replace the cork correctly. Ignore the clean side of the cork. Use the stained side instead. That part of the cork already had exposure to the wine and tasted fine. You can buy bottle stoppers; however, many are decorative rather than functional. Choose stoppers that have a tab on the side that firmly clicks closed to seal the bottle securely.
  • Decanting: Some wine drinkers choose to decant the wine from the full bottle into a spare half-bottle. Decanting into a smaller bottle just a small amount of space for oxygen between the top of the wine and slows down the chemical reaction.
  • The refrigerator: When you’ve finished with the wine, firmly replace the cork. Then store the bottle upright in the fridge. Chemical reactions slow down at lower temperatures and prevents the wine from transforming into vinegar. 

How long can I keep an opened bottle?

After opening, the lifespan of wine varies, depending on the type of wine. But in general, whites, roses and reds can last for around three days’ maximum, while stored in the fridge. Champagne or other sparkling wines don’t live long after opening, as the carbonation disappear very quickly when exposed to oxygen. Fortified wines like madeira, sherry and port have a longer life when opened because of their high alcohol and sugar content. Aim to finish sherry within a week of opening if stored properly in the fridge. Port lasts a little longer, but always store it in the fridge and drink within two to four weeks of opening. Madeira can last a long time if stored properly in the fridge.