I have just been reading here that Vacu-Vin is

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I have just been reading here that Vacu-Vin is

Postby SteveG » Mon May 05, 2008 9:01 pm

controversial here.

Curious, is this because it is thought not to work, or to be detrimental, or to encourage destructive storage, or... Is it worse than simple stoppering?
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Re: I have just been reading here that Vacu-Vin is

Postby David M. Bueker » Mon May 05, 2008 9:09 pm

It's not detrimental at all. It's effectiveness is anecdotal and many folks (including me) think nil.
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Re: I have just been reading here that Vacu-Vin is

Postby Lou Kessler » Mon May 05, 2008 9:16 pm

SteveG wrote:controversial here.

Curious, is this because it is thought not to work, or to be detrimental, or to encourage destructive storage, or... Is it worse than simple stoppering?

I'm in the business, it doesn't work. :roll:
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Re: I have just been reading here that Vacu-Vin is

Postby Tina L » Mon May 05, 2008 9:24 pm

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Re: I have just been reading here that Vacu-Vin is

Postby Richard Fadeley » Mon May 05, 2008 11:08 pm

I find them very useful and on occasion I've seen them work for 1-2 weeks. But the best endorsement I've seen for them was in France, where most people use them religiously. After each pour. The WSJ liked them a lot, too!
Last edited by Richard Fadeley on Tue May 06, 2008 11:07 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: I have just been reading here that Vacu-Vin is

Postby Dale Williams » Mon May 05, 2008 11:46 pm

David M. Bueker wrote:It's not detrimental at all. It's effectiveness is anecdotal and many folks (including me) think nil.


That's my take. I used one for a couple years fairly regularly, eventually decided it didn't seem to make much difference (including a couple little personal "experiments").
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Re: I have just been reading here that Vacu-Vin is

Postby Robert Jones » Tue May 06, 2008 6:29 am

I'm with Lou...Vacu-Vin does not work. Here's why:

You're creating a partial vacuum in the bottle, sucking out some of the volatile aromatic compounds, as well as a lot of the CO2 that was in solution in the wine. You can see the bubbles form in the wine and rise to the top in an attempt to fill the vacuum created by the pumping. This changes the wine in less than positive ways.

Better IMO is a) drinking the wine b) doing nothing to the bottle c) gassing it with something that will displace the layer of air from the surface of the wine.
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Re: I have just been reading here that Vacu-Vin is

Postby Victorwine » Tue May 06, 2008 8:57 am

Hi Robert,
I don’t know pumping the air out of the bottle and replacing the surface above the wine with CO2 dissolved in solution isn’t a bad idea. The only thing I don’t know about the devise, is the “integrity” of the stopper itself. How good does it keep air out? How long does the “blanket” of CO2 remain on the top surface?

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Re: I have just been reading here that Vacu-Vin is

Postby David M. Bueker » Tue May 06, 2008 9:02 am

Victor - the real detriment is the potential loss of aromatic compounds. The stoppers are actually pretty good, but they're no hermetic seal for sure.
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Re: I have just been reading here that Vacu-Vin is

Postby Clinton Macsherry » Tue May 06, 2008 11:08 am

Robert Jones wrote:You're creating a partial vacuum in the bottle, sucking out some of the volatile aromatic compounds, as well as a lot of the CO2 that was in solution in the wine. You can see the bubbles form in the wine and rise to the top in an attempt to fill the vacuum created by the pumping. This changes the wine in less than positive ways.


Robert --
Creating a partial vacuum in the hope of forestalling oxidation is of course the point, as you know, but other forumites clearly agree with you that sucking out aromatic compounds may also occur. With moderate pumping, I question how much that removal can really diminish the aromatic properties of the remaining wine. It seems to me that staving off the negative effects of oxidation is a much clearer benefit, hence a potential tradeoff I'm willing to make. Being a chemistry doofus, I'm not sure I understand your CO2 point, but I'd be happy to learn.

Robert Jones wrote:Better IMO is a) drinking the wine b) doing nothing to the bottle c) gassing it with something that will displace the layer of air from the surface of the wine.


Option a) would be my preference, but work is the curse of the drinking class. Option c) is probably pretty effective (I know it's the basis of Cruvinet and other systems), but it seems a bit expensive for (my) home use. Option b) certainly has its fans, especially if you mean reinserting the cork and perhaps refrigerating. That's probably just fine if you intend to get back to the bottle within a day, but I'm never sure I will, so I tend to stopper-and-pump in case.
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Re: I have just been reading here that Vacu-Vin is

Postby Thomas » Tue May 06, 2008 11:11 am

Robert Jones wrote:I'm with Lou...Vacu-Vin does not work. Here's why:

You're creating a partial vacuum in the bottle, sucking out some of the volatile aromatic compounds, as well as a lot of the CO2 that was in solution in the wine. You can see the bubbles form in the wine and rise to the top in an attempt to fill the vacuum created by the pumping. This changes the wine in less than positive ways.

Better IMO is a) drinking the wine b) doing nothing to the bottle c) gassing it with something that will displace the layer of air from the surface of the wine.


Exactly. And to those who say it works fine, try opening a fresh bottle of the same wine (out of the same case, if you can) and compare it with a pour from the wine you had pumped to save.

Also, the seal is not air tight, which negates the thing, in my view.

I don't say these things lightly. I used to use the pump when I was a wine salesman for a distributor--after a couple of experiments, I realized its relative uselessness.
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Re: I have just been reading here that Vacu-Vin is

Postby Clinton Macsherry » Tue May 06, 2008 11:32 am

Thomas wrote:Exactly. And to those who say it works fine, try opening a fresh bottle of the same wine (out of the same case, if you can) and compare it with a pour from the wine you had pumped to save.


Okay, but I think a better comparison would be between two bottles opened at the same time and drained to same level, and stored for the same time--one stoppered and pumped, the other just stoppered. The question isn't really whether a fresh bottle compares favorably but how best to store unfinished bottles.

Having said that, I note respectfully your personal experience with the gizmos during your sales career. You, Dale, David, and others are pushing me toward my first science project in decades.
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Re: I have just been reading here that Vacu-Vin is

Postby Robert Jones » Tue May 06, 2008 11:54 am

I think that the best device for preserving wine is an empty 375ml bottle...which you can fill after you open a bottle of wine that you know you will not finish. Pour off 1/2 of the fresh bottle into the empty 375ml, stopper it and revisit in a day or three.

Part of the education of wine is understanding how it changes over time; and drinking wine which has been opened and left to the elements for 1, 2 or (forbid) 3 days teaches you certain general truths, such as "one day after being opened is tolerable, two days is too many days, three days is vinegar".
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Re: I have just been reading here that Vacu-Vin is

Postby Robin Garr » Tue May 06, 2008 12:02 pm

SteveG wrote:controversial here.

Curious, is this because it is thought not to work, or to be detrimental, or to encourage destructive storage, or... Is it worse than simple stoppering?

Add me to the camp of underwhelmed wine geeks. :) My concern isn't so much about pulling volatiles out of the wine as that it's simply not possible for a plastic pump and stopper to create a very "hard" vacuum. In my experience, neither the VacuVin type of preserver or the Private Preserve type (squirt in inert gas) does much more to preserve the wine than simply sticking the cork back in and finishing the bottle within a few days; maybe a bit longer in the refrigerator than at room temperature.

Decanting half of the bottle into a 375ml bottle and corking it tightly is certainly the most effective, but even there, it's best to do this immediately upon opening rather than a couple of hours later after the wine has been exposed to air.
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Re: I have just been reading here that Vacu-Vin is

Postby Thomas » Tue May 06, 2008 2:22 pm

Clinton Macsherry wrote:
Thomas wrote:Exactly. And to those who say it works fine, try opening a fresh bottle of the same wine (out of the same case, if you can) and compare it with a pour from the wine you had pumped to save.


Okay, but I think a better comparison would be between two bottles opened at the same time and drained to same level, and stored for the same time--one stoppered and pumped, the other just stoppered. The question isn't really whether a fresh bottle compares favorably but how best to store unfinished bottles.


True, too.

My point is that any storage system, save one that can actually preserve the wine in its original state, is ineffective: once you open the bottle, the wine is forever altered, and especially when you pour it into another container or allow it to drain slowly from the bottle before capping it again.

Drink it or lose it in its original state. I never lose it... ;)
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Re: I have just been reading here that Vacu-Vin is

Postby Victorwine » Tue May 06, 2008 4:00 pm

Thomas wrote;
My point is that any storage system, save one that can actually preserve the wine in its original state …

Thomas in reality is this the actual function or goal or a wine storage system? I would think that maintaining (as close as possible anyway, or until you have a chance to finish the bottle) the “original” aging potential or “rate of aging” would describe the function or goal of a wine storage system better.

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Re: I have just been reading here that Vacu-Vin is

Postby Dave Erickson » Tue May 06, 2008 4:58 pm

I guess I fall into the middle ground: In my experience, Vacu-Vin is not as good as a half-bottle (with a stout cork!) for saving half a bottle of wine for consumption in the next day or two. But it is quite a bit better than leaving half a bottle of wine in a half-full 750. The new Vacu-Vins, by the way, click to let you know to stop pumping. This is an effort to prevent users from sucking out volatiles. It is worth noting that Vacu-Vin doesn't make any claims for the device beyond "slowing down the oxidation process."

Of course, with red wines, more often than not, I don't use Vacu-Vin or anything else. I want to see what the wine is like after being open 24 hours. More than half the time, it's better.
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Re: I have just been reading here that Vacu-Vin is

Postby Robert Jones » Tue May 06, 2008 5:09 pm

Dave Erickson wrote:Of course, with red wines, more often than not, I don't use Vacu-Vin or anything else. I want to see what the wine is like after being open 24 hours. More than half the time, it's better.


I'm with you in this regard...I like to see what happens to wines, red and white, the day after they have been opened.
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Re: I have just been reading here that Vacu-Vin is

Postby Dale Williams » Tue May 06, 2008 5:26 pm

Dave Erickson wrote:I guess I fall into the middle ground: In my experience, Vacu-Vin is not as good as a half-bottle (with a stout cork!) for saving half a bottle of wine for consumption in the next day or two. But it is quite a bit better than leaving half a bottle of wine in a half-full 750. The new Vacu-Vins, by the way, click to let you know to stop pumping. This is an effort to prevent users from sucking out volatiles. It is worth noting that Vacu-Vin doesn't make any claims for the device beyond "slowing down the oxidation process."

Of course, with red wines, more often than not, I don't use Vacu-Vin or anything else. I want to see what the wine is like after being open 24 hours. More than half the time, it's better.


Good post. Re cork- I'll note that I have bought a half-bottle of cheap Sauvignon Blanc at least partly because it was in a screwcap. If you pour to top (about 400 ml probably) you can screw on cap - it's easier than estimating how far a cork will pull down to be tight.
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Re: I have just been reading here that Vacu-Vin is

Postby Thomas » Tue May 06, 2008 6:38 pm

Victorwine wrote:Thomas wrote;
My point is that any storage system, save one that can actually preserve the wine in its original state …

Thomas in reality is this the actual function or goal or a wine storage system? I would think that maintaining (as close as possible anyway, or until you have a chance to finish the bottle) the “original” aging potential or “rate of aging” would describe the function or goal of a wine storage system better.

Salute


Victor,

Perhaps, but wouldn't that assume that nothing has happened to the wine between the time the cork (or screwcap) was popped and when it is subjected to whichever preservation system? And what measure would you use to determine that the aging potential or the rate of aging was not affected?

Certainly, not every wine suffers from the gadgets out there--many wines can use a little oxygen after opening, but that is wine-specific and I don't think the gadget ads talk wine specifics as opposed to blanket claims.

I simply don't believe that the gadgets do much of anything that is necessarily better than saving unconsumed wine in a smaller vessel or freezing the unused portion of wine. But I do believe that you open a bottle of wine, you change the wine. What follows will follow whether we like it or not.

Seems to me, we take too much time counting the number of nuns that can fit on these heads of pins instead of opening the wine, enjoying it, and worrying about the state of the world rather than the state of the remaining 375ml that might oxidize--or might not, but I guess I've just defined what it is to be a geek ;)
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Re: I have just been reading here that Vacu-Vin is

Postby SteveG » Wed May 07, 2008 10:04 am

Thanks for the great survey!

I am really glad I asked the question, to receive such a remarkable (and useful!) variety of opinions.

I had not been aware of the concern of removing aromatics and dissolved gasses from the wine, it certainly makes sense that this cannot be beneficial. My experience is not surprisingly also anecdotal, but I have used the system for many years and as the prime claim is delaying oxidation, I think there is some success.

In our household we generally drink about 2/3 of a 750ml bottle at dinner, and it is not unusual for us to have two or three bottles partially-full in the refrigerator at any given time (current stock: Badia a Passigana Chianti Reserve, Benziger Stone Farm Vinyard Syrah, Heidi Schrock Muscat; just leaving, Nova Serra Greco di Tufo). For simple overnight perhaps it offers no benefit, however I find the vacuum device seems to genuinely help preserve a wine under these circumstances for at least 3-4 days. I pump very thoroughly and the vacuum seems to hold reliably. Also, my system is so old it came with special tops for pressurizing champagne, probably a bit dangerous but definitely helpful!

Thanks again!
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Re: I have just been reading here that Vacu-Vin is

Postby Thomas » Wed May 07, 2008 11:39 am

SteveG wrote:In our household we generally drink about 2/3 of a 750ml bottle at dinner



Steve,

Keep trying, you aren't that far away from the end of the bottle ;) when you get there, your troubles are over!
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Re: I have just been reading here that Vacu-Vin is

Postby Paul Winalski » Thu May 08, 2008 3:16 am

I've seen this discussion late, so much of what I say will be piling on, but I can't resist.

I bought a Vacu-Vin about 15 years ago. I still use the stoppers--as stoppers. I never use them or the vacuum pump for wine preservation purposes.

The Vacu-Vin system plain doesn't work. As already pointed out, the system sucks off much of the elusive volatile elements that lend subtlety to fine wine. And while the partial pressure is much less than at one atmosphere pressure, there's still a blanket of oxygenated air over the wine that contributes to its degradation over time.

If you really want to preserve wine for more than several days without refrigeration, there are really only two viable options:

1) A nitrogen dispensing system. Here you purge the ullage (air space above the wine) with oxygen-free low pressure nitrogen, and you dispense the wine under that pressure, thus allowing no opportunity for oxygen to get at the wine. With this system, properly used, you can keep partially empty bottles of wine indefinitely.

2) Decant partial bottles of wine into smaller containers with no air space. Here the wine's only exposure to oxygen is during pouring and the decanting, which can be minimal if you are careful. This is not as good as the nitrogen dispensing system, but it's the next best thing.

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Re: I have just been reading here that Vacu-Vin is

Postby Craig Pinhey » Thu May 08, 2008 12:25 pm

should I tell my friend who owns the local wine bar (25 wines BTG) to throw away his Le Verre de Vin system?

he swears by it. he uses it religiously and makes his staff do the same.

I've never had an oxidized wine there (which i can't say for other restos in the area)

I think that the system helps prevent "badly oxidized" wine, but I also expect that a wine from a "sucked" bottle lacks the aromatics of a freshly opened bottle.

at home, I just drink the wine to avoid the problem.;)
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