10 Wine Hacks That Will Save the Day (and Your Wine)

Keep the Vino Flowing With a Few Simple Tricks

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Wine is great and, as every wine drinker knows, it can come with a few problems. When you've lost the corkscrew or forgot to chill the white wine for dinner, you'll need to improvise. Don't worry, though, many people have been there before you and you can rely on the experience of others to solve whatever issue arises.

  • 01 of 10

    Open Your Wine Without a Corkscrew

    Cork screw and wine cork on white background
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    It's inevitable that the corkscrew will vanish just when you need it most. You might also be camping, in a hotel, or on a picnic only to discover you forgot the wine opener.

    Luckily, you are not alone. Many crafty people have already figured out a variety of ways to open a bottle of wine without a corkscrew.

    From the handy screw trick to a blowtorch, and your house key to the shoes on your feet, you're sure to have something around that can solve the problem. There's even a great YouTube video from Foodbeast to show you how all of it's done.

  • 02 of 10

    Get a Cork Out of the Bottle

    filter coffee
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    Even when you do have a corkscrew, chances are that at some point the cork will drop inside the bottle. This is another common problem with a simple solution.

    To remove the cork—whether whole or in chunks—from your wine, you'll need to filter it. Use a coffee filter or fine mesh strainer and hold it over a container that will hold the wine without spilling. The cork will end up in the filter and the wine will be as good as new.

    If you have a funnel, you can pour the wine directly into another bottle. Otherwise, it's best to use a large bowl or measuring cup. You can then transfer it back into the bottle after rinsing it out to make sure there are no bits of cork left inside.

  • 03 of 10

    Chill Your Wine Quickly

    Wine bottles chilling in ice
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    The advice about serving certain wines at a particular temperature really does make a difference. White wines are generally best when chilled and even reds should be at a cool room temp. What happens when you forget to toss the bottle in the fridge?

    First of all, don't panic that dinner will be ready in an hour. If you have 15 to 20 minutes to spare, you're good to go and you have two options for a quick chill.

    The easiest way is to wrap a wet paper or linen towel around the wine bottle. Stick it in the freezer, but don't forget it there because wine can freeze after an hour or two.

    If you have a bucket and ice, that will work as well. To speed up this homemade wine chiller, add a large amount of salt to the ice. You'll need at least 1 cup to make a difference, but it does help tremendously.

    You can also keep grapes in the freezer for this scenario. Use frozen grapes as you would ice in other drinks and you get the chill with no dilution. It also looks pretty neat to have fruit floating in your glass.

  • 04 of 10

    Store Open Wine Bottles

    Bottle of red wine and vine leaves, Italy.
    Gina Pricope / Getty Images

    There will be times when you don't finish an entire bottle of wine. While rare, it does happen and when it does you'll want to keep the corked wine as fresh as possible.

    The best way to do that is to secure the cork inside the bottle, then lay it down flat. This helps prevent oxidation and your wine will taste much better than if you left it standing upright. Just be sure to drink it within three days.

    Did you lose or break the cork? If you don't have a wine stopper, the quickest and cheapest way to store leftover wine is in a small, air-tight container and mason jars (or something similar) are a perfect solution. Keep an empty, clean jar available just for this purpose.

    The trick is to minimize surface area, which will slow down oxidation, so you don't want a large jar. For instance, if you regularly have half a bottle of wine (375ml, or about 13 ounces) leftover, a 16-ounce jar is a safe bet. Make sure you seal it tight, then store it in the refrigerator where it should be good for a couple of days.

    Continue to 5 of 10 below.
  • 05 of 10

    Know When the Wine's Gone Bad

    When You're Served a Bad Wine
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    Did you leave a bottle on the counter for longer than you should have? If you're concerned about whether it's still drinkable, there are a few ways you can tell.

    First of all, smell the wine. A wine that has gone bad tends to have a few distinct aromas. If your wine smells like vinegar, sauerkraut, burnt rubber, or garlic, it's beyond hope. Oxidation is, essentially, when wine goes stale and that can bring on the aroma of applesauce or burnt marshmallows.

    You can also look at your wine. Pour it into a glass and see if you notice any bubbles in a wine that's supposed to be still. It may also change to a flat brownish color or appear cloudy.

    Different wines go bad in different ways. If it doesn't look or smell like it did the first night you drank it, it's probably no good now.

  • 06 of 10

    Disguise Cheap Wine

    Close up of glass carafes of wine
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    Do you have a favorite wine that isn't showy enough for the dinner table? Whether it's because of the bottle or you simply don't want guests to judge you based on your wine selection, there's a simple solution.

    All you need is a simple glass decanter. Pour the wine in, set it on the table, and no one will ever see the bottle. 

    Decanters are available in a range of styles and you can spend as little or as much as you like on one. If you're on a budget, look for vintage wine decanters at your local thrift shop. You can often find some great pieces there.

  • 07 of 10

    Aerate Without the Fancy Gadget

    Close-up of a blender shot from above.
    Maciej Toporowicz, NYC / Getty Images

    Some wine drinkers will use a wine aerator on almost every bottle of red wine they buy. It's rather useful, especially with high tannin wines that take a long time to breathe.

    If you're the thrifty wine drinking type, you may end up saving money by buying these wines. This may also mean that you don't want to buy a wine aerator. After all, it is just another gadget around the house that you may or may not use.

    The solution lies in your standard kitchen blender. Pouring your bottle of wine into a blender does everything an aerator does. Give it 30 seconds on high speed and you'll see a significant improvement.

  • 08 of 10

    Fix a Not-So-Great Wine

    Easy White Wine Spritzer Cocktail Recipe
    S&C Design Studios

    Did you open a new bottle of wine that wasn't quite what you were hoping for? If that first glass left you a little disappointed, there's no need to dump it down the drain or suffer through the entire bottle. Instead, dress it up with a simple wine cocktail.

    For less than impressive white wines, top your glass with sparkling water to create a white wine spritzer. Did that bottle of red leave you hoping for more? Turn to the famous Kir cocktail by sweetening it with a little créme de cassis. Even sparkling wines can be quickly dressed up and transformed using any Champagne cocktail recipe.

    Continue to 9 of 10 below.
  • 09 of 10

    Make Use of Leftover Wine

    Red Wine Vinegar
    Joff Lee / Getty Images

    If you just can't bring yourself to drink the last bit of wine, you can still make good use of it. Wine is great for cooking and you'll find that it adds a nice flavor to a variety of dishes. It's a popular ingredient for many sauces and you can preserve it for future use.

    To do this, simply fill ice cube trays with leftover wine. Once frozen, the wine cubes can be stored in a plastic freezer bag and taken out when a recipe calls for it.

    Another option is to use your red wine to make red wine vinegar. This is also a useful ingredient that should be in every kitchen.

  • 10 of 10

    Remove Wine Stains

    Spilled Red Wine
    Lauri Patterson / Getty Images

    Just as you are guaranteed to be without a corkscrew at some point in life, you will also find yourself dealing with spilled wine. While red wine is the most notorious for staining any fabric it touches, even white wine and Champagne can leave stains.

    The key with any wine stain is to treat it as soon as possible. Salt helps with red wine in clothes and linens while baking soda can do wonders on the carpet. Be diligent and patient and the chances of removing the stain completely are pretty good.