Can you store wine without a cork?

Quick Answer

Yes, you can store wine without a cork. The most common ways to store wine without a cork are using screw caps, glass stoppers, or wine preservation systems that remove oxygen from opened bottles. As long as the wine bottle is properly sealed and stored, the wine can be preserved for a period of time without a cork.

Storing Wine with a Screw Cap

Using a screw cap is one of the most popular alternatives to corks for sealing wine bottles. The screw cap forms an airtight seal that prevents oxygen from getting into the wine once the bottle has been opened. This helps maintain the quality and taste of the wine.

Many winemakers are now using screw caps, especially on wines meant to be consumed shortly after opening. The screw caps prevent any cork taint and make it easy to reseal and store the wine after opening. As long as the screw cap is tightly sealed, an opened bottle of wine can usually last up to a week before the quality starts to decline.

Screw caps are convenient and easy to use. Simply twist the cap back on tightly after pouring a glass of wine. Store the bottle upright in a cool, dark place like a wine cellar or refrigerator. The screw cap allows you to enjoy a glass of wine and then reseal the bottle multiple times without needing to insert a cork.

Advantages of Storing Wine with Screw Caps

– Prevents oxygen from seeping in and oxidizing the wine
– Eliminates risk of cork taint ruining the wine
– Allows wine to be resealed multiple times
– Easy to securely reseal the bottle
– Convenient for storing and drinking wine over time
– Keeps wine fresh for up to a week after opening

Disadvantages of Storing Wine with Screw Caps

– Wine may lose its aromatic qualities faster than with a cork
– Less traditional or appealing than a cork for finer wines
– Can break the wine’s seal if overtightened
– Screw threads can strip if cap is mishandled
– May not provide as tight of a seal as high quality cork

Using Wine Preservation Systems

Wine preservation systems are appliances designed to remove oxygen from opened bottles of wine to extend their shelf life. They work by either vacuuming out the oxygen or replacing it with an inert gas like nitrogen or argon.

Popular systems like Private Preserve and Vacu Vin create a vacuum seal by pumping out the air from the bottle. Other systems like Coravin insert inert gas to blanket the wine from oxygen. In both cases, they significantly slow down the oxidation process to preserve the wine’s flavor and aroma.

Wine preservation systems allow opened wine to last for weeks or even months without a cork. The wine remains protected from oxygen as long as the vacuum seal or inert gas blanket stays intact. Simply spray the inert gas or pump out the oxygen each time you open and reseal the bottle.

Advantages of Wine Preservation Systems

– Can keep wine fresh for weeks or months after opening
– Allow wine to be enjoyed by the glass without wasting the rest of the bottle
– Easy to reseal the bottle each time you access the wine
– Portable systems allow wine preservation at home or while traveling
– Do not require a cork to maintain the wine’s integrity

Disadvantages of Wine Preservation Systems

– Can be expensive systems for home use
– Must remember to reapply preservative each time you access wine
– Preservatives can create an unnatural taste if overused
– Not reusable – requires disposable cartridges or capsules
– Some cheaper systems may not fully remove oxygen

Storing Wine with Glass Stoppers

Glass stoppers provide an elegant and effective cork alternative. They create an airtight seal like a cork and prevent oxygen from damaging opened wine. Glass stoppers are made from premium ground glass that fits securely into the bottle’s neck.

They are easy to insert and remove by hand without breaking the wine bottle’s seal. Glass stoppers come with a rubber gasket lining that compresses when inserted into the bottle neck to block oxygen. Quality glass stoppers can preserve opened wine for up to a week.

The main downside is that glass stoppers can be expensive – costing $5-10 each. However, they provide a reusable and durable stopper that can seal multiple bottles over time. Glass stoppers allow opened wine to retain its qualities without a cork.

Advantages of Glass Stoppers

– Create an airtight seal like natural cork
– Made from elegant and durable ground glass
– Easy to insert and remove by hand
– Reusable on multiple wine bottles
– Maintains wine for up to a week after opening

Disadvantages of Glass Stoppers

– More expensive than screw caps or preservation systems
– Rubber gasket can deteriorate over time
– Not as convenient for quick resealing as screw caps
– Can break if stopper is damaged or forced into bottle
– More fragile than other alternatives

Storing Wine Refrigerated Without a Cork

Storing opened wine refrigerated will slow down oxidation and preserve the wine longer than sitting at room temperature without a cork. The cool temperatures of a refrigerator keep the wine from spoiling as quickly.

Red and white wines should be kept between 45-65°F for optimal preservation. Storing an opened bottle of wine cork-free in the fridge can maintain the wine’s quality for 2-3 days generally. More complex whites and lighter reds fare better than bold reds stored refrigerated without a cork.

Use these tips for refrigerating wine without a cork:

– Seal the bottle tightly with a screw cap or glass stopper before refrigerating
– Store wine upright to keep the wine saturated in the bottle neck
– Keep red wines on the top shelf, whites on the bottom where it’s cooler
– Minimize temperature fluctuations by not opening the fridge frequently
– Consume refrigerated wine within 3 days for best flavor
– Allow whites and lighter reds to come to room temp before drinking

Properly refrigerating wines can buy you a couple extra days to enjoy bottles after removing the cork. But for storage beyond 3 days, other preservation methods are recommended.

Advantages of Refrigerating Wine Without a Cork

– Slows down oxidation process compared to room temperature
– Keeps wine drinkable for 2-3 days without a cork
– Easy storage option using your existing refrigerator
– Allows whites and lighter reds to be preserved longer
– No special equipment needed

Disadvantages of Refrigerating Wine Without a Cork

– Not effective for long term storage without a cork
– Bold reds will decline in quality faster than whites
– Fluctuating fridge temps can spoil wine quicker
– Condensation and odors from fridge can seep into wine
– Takes up refrigerator space storing wine bottles

Tips for Storing Wine Without a Cork

Here are some useful tips for preserving the quality of wine stored without a cork:

– Minimize oxygen exposure by keeping bottles upright and tightly sealed
– Use screw caps, stoppers, and preservation systems properly per instructions
– Store open bottles away from light sources which can skunk the wine
– Maintain a consistent moderate temperature around 55°F
– Use clean glassware and lids when tasting to prevent contamination
– Refrigerate whites and lighter reds which fare better uncorked than bold reds
– When refrigerating, allow wine to reach room temp before drinking to avoid flavor muting
– Limit uncorked wine storage to 1 week maximum, consume within 2-3 days ideally
– Avoid moving or agitating the wine bottles which introduces oxygen
– Consume leftover wine within 2-3 days and don’t rely on re-corking

Following these tips will help minimize the oxidation effects of storing wine without corks. But uncorked wine will always have a shortened shelf life compared to properly corked bottles. So only remove the cork when ready to drink the wine within the next several days.

Frequently Asked Questions

What’s the downside to storing wine without a cork?

The main downside is that wine deteriorates faster without a cork. Oxygen exposure causes it to oxidize and lose its flavor, aroma, and structural integrity more rapidly. Wine is best preserved long term when kept under a quality cork.

How long does wine last without a cork?

Most wines will last only 1-3 days max without a cork before flavor and aroma qualities start declining. Simple whites and lighter reds may last up to 5-7 days if kept refrigerated and sealed. Bold reds deteriorate fastest due to greater oxygen sensitivity.

Is it okay to re-cork wine after opening?

It’s not recommended. Re-corking risks oxidation and contamination which quickly degrades wine. Storage with the original cork is best. Consume re-corked wine within one day only.

Can you freeze wine without a cork?

Freezing uncorked wine is risky due to oxidation and compromised seals as the wine expands and contracts. It’s best to keep wine corked until ready to drink, and freeze in small portions only if necessary. Thaw frozen wine fully in fridge before drinking.

What’s an alternative to corks for long term wine storage?

For long term aging, synthetic corks and high end screw caps can provide an airtight seal comparable to natural corks. Stelvin screw caps with foil liners are commonly used by winemakers now for wines meant to age 5+ years before drinking.


While corks remain the gold standard for preserving bottled wine, quality screw caps, glass stoppers, and wine preservation systems allow wine to be stored without a cork for short term drinking. Keeping wine refrigerated and minimizing oxygen exposure helps prolong uncorked wine’s shelf life up to a week. But wine is perishable and best consumed within 2-3 days of opening without a cork. Employ proper sealing and storage methods to get the most enjoyment out of every bottle of your favorite vintages.

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