Contrary to popular belief, I’m actually not a big advocate of drinking.
A drink to unwind after a long day? Sure, in moderation. A couple of glasses over a fun conversation with friends? Go ahead. Enjoying a mental hallelujah chorus after finding the best drink to go with a meal? Yes please. Finding euphoria while sniffing the most minute details of that special glass of wine? #need.
But to prescribe an e-numan session (an expression we have referring to an online drinking session with people, which is derived from our word for drinking, “inuman”) as a means to get over depression? Heck no.
Having such an easy access to alcohol (liquor ban be damned) is a scary proposition for someone like me… I mean, I’ve been open about my own struggles with depression and anxiety so it should come as no surprise that I am at risk for alcohol dependency.
This is why, after recent horrible personal events, I kept away from booze.
I know. Me of 2 Shots and A Pint, her grubby paws empty of a glass of wine.
I’m slowly getting back into it… though not in the same capacity as I used to (long story). Which means… I tend to open a bottle of wine and take forever to finish one (wow).
I make an almost heretic joke about how wine has a tendency to “resurrect” itself (expecting a call from my very Catholic momma when I release this article, #sendhelp) after three days, often in a worse state than when it the bottle was first opened. This is primarily because the enemy of wine is oxygen, which gets introduced to the wine once the bottle gets opened. Spoilage especially happens when a bottle gets resealed the way most people do it: inverting the organic cork and returning it to the mouth of the bottle (or re-screwing a cap).
Having said this, there are two systems to prolong the life of an opened bottle: The Blanket System and the Vacuum System.
- The Vacuum System, as the name implies, uses a mechanism to pump the air out of a bottle, usually a handheld pump.
- The Blanket System uses a mechanism to replace the oxygen inside a bottle with a heavier gas, which doesn’t harm the wine. There are two devices I know of: The wine dispensing machines often found in restaurants, and a handy wine preservation system.
Because of the pandemic I’m pretty sure most of us are enjoying our wines in the safety of our homes, so playing around with a restaurant’s huge Enomatic Machine is probably not something we could do in the near future (unless you’re super bougie and have one at home in which case, my sister bear is willing to be adopted XD). We could use a handheld pump or a Coravin, though.
Here are my experiences in using both devices:
IMHO, a pump does two things: Preserve a properly stored open bottle of wine for about a couple of weeks (or a bit longer), and develop ripped biceps. Yep, pumping that thing – especially if you end up getting a particularly cruddy model – is a bit of a challenge, but it’s cheap… and it works. It usually comes with a cap that attaches to the pump, and you’d have to pump several times to get the air out. You know you’re done when the pump gets tight.
We decided to get one in our SoCal trip early this year because it was much cheaper there. We decided on the basic unit because we weren’t sure whether or not it would suit our needs, with a game plan of getting a fancier model should we like it (plus, at the time of our purchase, bottles never lasted more than a week at home).
The thing was, we were a little afraid of traveling with the argon gas it came with inside our luggage. So, like the true-blue pinoys we were, we decided to ship them in the balikbayan box we were sending over (along with my sister bear’s stuff and a crapload of vinyl records).
Anyway. Fast forward two months, our box finally arrived, and our Pivot unit finally reunited itself with its gas attachments.
Since I’m not the most graceful person on the planet, I decided to use it on an inexpensive bottle, a Montepulciano d’Abruzzo I got from a nearby Landers. It’s pretty simple to use… Albeit a little disconcerting if you’re used to the workout you get from a vacuum pump. The Coravin Pure Capsules are filled with argon and replaces the oxygen whenever you dispense wine in a glass. The model we got – the Coravin Pivot – is pretty easy to use: Put the gas in the chamber of the Pivot, open a bottle, put the stopper that came with the unit, insert the needle-looking portion of the device through the stopper, press the button on the device, and pour. After dispensing, remove the device, leaving the stopper, and live to drink another glass on another day. It’s supposed to make an opened bottle of wine last for four weeks.
Which one would I recommend? Honestly, it depends on a person’s budget, and the length of time you’d want to preserve the wine. If you want a bang for your buck and are confident that you’re gonna finish your bottle in less than a couple of weeks, get the pump. If you’ve got a bit more budget and want to stretch your bottle for longer, then a Coravin is for you.
Locally, Coravin is available in Wine Depot (yay for not worrying about traveling with argon!), while vacuum pumps are available in most department stores and specialty stores.