Simply putting a stopper in a bottle of unfinished wine won’t preserve it. Once oxygen has entered the bottle, evaporation will begin releasing some of the volatiles. The wine will also oxidize, changing its smoothness and flavor. This process will continue as long as oxygen is present, though eventually it will not be drinkable anymore. So, so if you’re going to let a bottle sit for days, weeks, or longer, you should look into using a wine preservation system. If you just need to transport an open bottle or store it overnight, however, a simple wine bottle stopper will suffice.
Cork vs. Silicone Stoppers
Many people ask whether the stopper material makes a difference in how well the wine lasts. The answer is a resounding yes if you’re talking about long term storage of wine. As experts are fond of saying, “cork is king” when it comes to aging wine. This is because cork is naturally porous, which means oxygen entry into the bottle is well-controlled. We store bottles horizontally so that the wine touches the cork, too, so that it expands for a better seal. There’s always the danger that the wine may become “corked,” which gives it a dank, astringent taste, but improvements in cork production have reduced this problem significantly in recent years.
Silicone stoppers aren’t great for aging wines because they tend to shrink after a few years, causing leaks. They also completely block contact with oxygen. This means they’re not ideal for cellaring, but they’re fine for wines that will be consumed relatively soon. The same is true of screwcaps.
Wine Bottle Stoppers for Short Term Storage
If you want to stopper a bottle to transport it or save it for a short time, most any wine bottle stopper will do. The main considerations are how well they seal (in case the bottle tips over) and whether you want other features. Aesthetics also come into play as they always do in considering wine accessories. Here are seven that we recommend to help you choose.
1. Outset Silicone Wine Bottle Stoppers, Set of 4
Outset makes cute, colorful wine stoppers that are a steal at just $2 each. Toss a handful of them into your favorite wine tote and you’re ready to go. They’re made of silicone and create a perfect, air-tight seal. The tops are also flexible which makes them easy to remove when it’s time to pour again. We also love that they’re durable and dishwasher safe.
2. Rabbit Wine Bottle Stoppers, Set of 4
If you prefer a stopper designed to fit more diverse bottle types, these Rabbit wine bottle stoppers are perfect. They’re tapered and have a ribbed mid-section so they’ll fit tightly into narrower bottles. They’re made of durable rubber and stainless steel, ensuring they won’t crack, fade, or rust. If you need a small gift or stocking stuffer for someone, these will always be a hit. You can never have too many of them.
3. CHRISLZ Zinc Alloy Wine Bottle Stoppers
If you’d like a stopper that is a departure from the usual silicone plug, you’ll love these beautiful stoppers from CHRISLZ. They’re made of zinc alloy and cork, which fits snugly into the top of the wine bottle. The knob at the top makes them easy to remove. We absolutely love these for events that require something a little more stylish than silicone.
4. ERHIRY Stainless Steel Wine Bottle Stopper
For a simple stainless steel stopper, we recommend the ERHIRY. Just slip the plug into neck of the wine bottle, pull the lever down, and you’ll have a perfectly sealed bottle of wine. We also love how easy it is to unstopper by lifting the handle again. No pulling or struggling is necessary. This stopper is also stylish, compact, and fits all standard wine bottles.
5. OXO SteeL Wine Stopper and Pourer
For a great dual-purpose wine stopper, we recommend the OXO SteeL. It fits over the top of the bottle creating a wonderful, drip-free pourer. When you’re ready to close the bottle, just gently pull the lever to engage the sealing mechanism inside. It’s also highly durable, made of stainless steel. We love the extra utility of the pourer and the overall simplicity of its design. It’s a must have for your kitchen drawer.
6. Original Vacu Vin Wine Saver
The Vacu Vin is a very popular wine stopper system that also preserves the wine for a short time. Just insert the stopper and connect the small pump that comes with it. As you pump, it creates a vacuum inside the bottle which will both secure the stopper and remove enough oxygen to protect the wine from spoiling for up to a week. This is a popular choice among wine lovers because it’s one of the simplest wine preservation kits available.
7. Repour Wine Saver
The Repour is a wine stopper that is also a wine saver. This ingenious product was funded in a Kickstarter a few years ago and we’re glad to see it commercially available now. It’s a “smart stopper” that has an oxygen-absorbing cartridge on the inside. This means it not only protects the wine from oxygen on the outside of the bottle, it clears oxygen on the inside. You can’t store the bottle on its side as you can with a normal silicone stopper, plus the capacity of the scrubber is limited to use with a single bottle of wine. Still, this simple little stopper will allow you to save a bottle for months.