Carbonate white wine for instant sparkling, sprinkle pepper into red wine for extra spiciness or chill a bottle of white quickly with a dash of salt – these are just a few of the amazing wine hacks Aussies have shared in a recent survey conducted by Cellarmasters.
“We asked our customers to share their best wine tips and tricks, and were inundated with hundreds of clever hacks. We are passionate about helping our customers master their wine journey, and we love it when they share their knowledge with us,” said our Cellar Director, Christine Ricketts.
Here, Christine shares some of the best winehacks from the survey, and explains why they work.
#1 Chill wine quickly with salt
Wine hack: The best way to chill wine quickly is to place bottle in a large ice bucket, fill with ice, top with water and add salt to the water. Don't know the exact science but it works every time, even on the hottest days.
The expert: This is true. Salt lowers the freezing point, and makes water freeze quicker because it extracts heat from surroundings.
#2 Buy on sale wine and cellar it
Wine hack: Stock up a couple of dozens of quality red wines when they are available at a sale price. Cellar for one or two years, and they are definitely value for money.
The expert: Yes, just make sure it is a wine that is appropriate for cellaring. For reds, a wine with nice fruit and good balance of tannin and acidity is best. Some of our most cellared wines are generally a Barossa or McLaren Vale Shiraz or Grenache blend, and Coonawarra or Margaret River Cabernets. Rosé and most white wines should be enjoyed in the season they were bought.
#3 Carbonate white wine for instant Sparkling
Wine hack: Want sparkling wine whenever you want? Grab your favourite white and stick it in the water carbonator, and you have instant Champagne!
The expert: Well, you won’t get Champagne, but you can make a decent sparkling wine if you use a light and refreshing Pinot Grigio or a fresh Australian Riesling.
#4 Use a coffee filter
Wine hack: Wines from the cellar sometimes have sediment at the side of the bottle. I filter the wine through a coffee perculator filter. This results in a clear wine as well as allows it to breathe. Some wine is absorbed onto the filter but this allows the whole bottle to be enjoyed without the sediment at the end.
The expert: Sediment is harmless to drink, but is certainly more pleasant not to drink it. So filtering wine through unbleached coffee filters is a great way to get rid of the sediment.
#5 Store opened Red Wine in the fridge
Wine hack: Refrigerate an unfinished bottle of red wine in summer so it lasts longer.
The expert: This is true. When stored at colder temperatures, the chemical processes slow down, including the process of oxidation that takes place when wine is exposed to oxygen.
#6 Air wine between two glasses
Wine hack: When drinking red by yourself, try pouring it between two glasses a couple of times to get some air into it/give it a breath.
The expert: Most wines – even whites – will improve with as little as 15-20 minutes of air time, which simply means being poured into the wineglass and letting it rest before drinking it. Pouring the wine between the two glasses will shorten that time, as it will swirl the wine and helps it aerate (breathe).
#7 Pour Red Wine into ice cream
Wine hack: I pour a splash of red wine onto ice cream and mix it through a little. It's delicious!
The expert: This sounds interesting. Have you tried this with fortified wine, like a tawny port?
#8 Make a Red Wine Spritzer
Wine hack: On hot summer days, I mix about 20% not too strong red wine (Merlot or Grenache for instance) with sparkling water, both icy cold – no drinks can beat that!
The expert: We will be trying this next, sounds delish!
#9 Chill both Red and White just right
Wine hack: Take whites OUT of the fridge about 35 - 45 minutes before drinking. Put reds IN the fridge for 35 - 45 minutes before drinking (especially in summer).
The expert: This is a good tip as our warm climate is not ideal for storing and drinking wine. The perfect temperature to drink red wine is around 14 degrees, which is why in Australia, red wine can taste better if kept in a fridge for a short time before drinking it – just 15 to 30 minutes is enough. When it comes to white wine, serving it too cold can dull the flavours, mask the aromas and increase its acidity.
#10 Turn the bottle, not the cork, when opening Champagne
Wine hack: Years ago, we were visiting the Korbel winery in northern California, and there we learned that the best way to de-cork a bottle of champagne is to slowly rotate the bottle around the cork. This has proved easier to remove the cork, and usually prevents any spillage of champagne because there is no eruption
The expert: This is true. Twisting the cork can cause it to tear and break, and could ruin your champagne, so turn the bottle – not the cork – when opening a bottle of bubbles.
#11 Add pepper to Red Wine
Wine hack: Occasionally to spice up a red I add a little pepper.
The expert: If you prefer peppery flavours when it comes to red wine, this is certainly a way of achieving it!