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Leftover Champagne?
Copyright 2001 by Robin Garr. All rights reserved. Originally printed December 28, 2001. For more information go to

It's New Year's Eve, five seconds until midnight. The ball drops, the cork pops and you and your sweetie enjoy a taste of a truly special Champagne.

And then it's five minutes past midnight, you're tired and full and ready to go to bed, and there you sit with two-thirds of a bottle of pricey wine that you don't want to waste. You try to jam the cork back into the bottle, but it won't fit ... sparkling-wine corks expand when they're relieved of pressure, and you can't squeeze them back into shape.

What's a frugal wine lover to do?

At the risk of sounding like a cut-rate Martha Stewart, here's a simple solution: Wrap the business end of your bottle with a double layer of plastic wrap, and hold it in place with a rubber band. Then put it in the refrigerator. A bit of carbon dioxide will build up in the bottle - but not strongly enough to pop off the plastic wrap - and this, plus the cold, will do a surprisingly good job of holding the wine for at least a couple of days. It will eventually oxidize and go flat, so it's best to finish it up soon. But it's a nice way to extend the holiday into the New Year and a whole lot better than pouring an expensive wine down the drain.


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