Red wine might be the elixir of the gods (at least as far as we’re concerned!), but boy, can it be messy. From unsightly wine teeth to red wine stains on your clothes or carpet, we’ve got a hack for that. Here are seven game-changing wine tips to make your life easier!
Wine teeth, begone!
We’ve all been there. You’re a few glasses of merlot (or tempranillo or pinot or cabernet) deep, you catch sight of your reflection, and lo! The dreaded wine teeth rear their ugly heads. They can look kind of gray-ish purple and a bit streaky, but fret not — to get rid of them, all you have to do is rub those pearly whites with a dry paper towel. It might not feel particularly nice, but it does the trick.
Remove red wine stains.
Nothing ruins a night out (or a night in, for that matter) like spilling red wine on your clothes or your carpet. Here’s how to buff out those stains:
Clothes: Blot with a damp paper towel or cloth. Cover the stain with salt, and let sit for five minutes. Pour boiling water over the stain. Machine wash.
Carpet: Blot with a cloth. Pour water on the stain, and keep blotting. Dab on a paste of 3:1 baking soda and water. Vacuum up paste when dry.
Pull off the capsules.
Don’t have a corkscrew? Just feeling a bit devil-may-care? Most of those capsules you see on the necks of bottles with corks can actually just be pulled right off; you don’t necessarily need to cut around the lip of the bottle!
Open a bottle without a corkscrew.
It’s mostly a screwcap world here in New Zealand, so you may not come across this problem often — but when you do, there are so many methods to deal with it that you’re pretty much guaranteed to be able to get into that bottle. Here are three options:
Use your shoe. Place the base of the bottle inside a flat-soled shoe, and carefully hit the sole against a wall. The pressure will force the cork out.
Use a key. Bust out that keyring, and insert one of your keys nearly all the way into the cork at a 45-degree angle. Twist the key, and use the leverage to draw the cork out.
Push the cork into the bottle. If all else fails (maybe you’re barefoot or wearing heels and you don’t have a key on you), force the cork into the bottle. It might not be the classiest method of opening a wine bottle, but you’ve gotta do what you’ve gotta do, right?
Keep white wine cold.
Adding ice cubes to your wine will only water it down — so freeze some grapes and use those as ice cubes instead. If you’re really planning ahead, you can also freeze some of the wine itself into cubes and use that. But here at WineFriend, we’re big fans of ‘ChillRocks.’ They’re plastic cubes filled with quick-freeze solution that you keep in your freezer for just such ‘need cold wine fast’ emergencies. Google them for local stockists.
Make red wine hot cocoa.
For a yummy winter treat, whip up some red wine hot cocoa. Recipes for this tasty delight abound, but we think the key is to use a fruit-forward, smooth red like merlot or shiraz.
Tell if it's gone bad.
There are three main ways to easily tell if a wine’s gone bad.
First? Trust your nose. If you get a whiff of anything sharp (think vinegar, nail polish remover, and burnt rubber), it’s past its prime.
Second? Take a peek at the colour. As wine oxidises, it turns steadily more brown — so have a look at the rim of the wine when it’s in the glass. If your sauvignon blanc is looking bronzy, chances are it’s gonski. ‘Earthy’ tints on maturing red wine, though? They’re okay.
And third: if your wine is sealed with a cork and your first pour releases a smell akin to a wet dog sleeping in a damp cardboard box, then you’ve got a ‘corked’ wine — and that needs to be taken back to where you bought it from. Don’t tip the wine out; keep it for evidence of the treachery that can befall cork-sealed wines!