How To Use Wax Paper To Get Stubborn Wine Corks Back In

If you're someone who enjoys a glass of wine here and there, you'll need to do a lot of resealing bottles. Making sure however much wine you have left is kept in the best possible condition until your next glass is crucial. Wine does, in fact, need to breathe when you first open it, which is why decanters are essential for wine enthusiasts, and there are plenty of tips to know for decanting. A little bit of oxygen making contact with wine for a limited time tones harsh tannins down and plays pleasant flavors up. However, too much air starts to oxidize the wine. Ethanol begins converting into acetaldehyde, and that leads to undesirable flavors. Knowing how to properly recork or reseal is a must.

The problem is that getting the cork back into the bottle can be quite tricky. Corks are squeezed into bottles originally, so when you remove them, they expand a bit. The good news? An everyday object you probably have in your kitchen can help: wax paper. Cut a square about as long as the cork and wide enough to wrap it around, leaving enough paper that it won't just drop into the bottle. Then, gently but firmly push the cork into the bottle. Don't twist the cork like you might without the wax paper, as it could bunch, rip, or drop into the wine. The slick coating of the wax paper helps ease the cork right into a nice reseal.

How to get the best reseal, plus another kitchen-staple hack

To further enhance just how well a wax paper-covered cork protects your wine from flavor-spoiling oxygen and bacteria, clean the inside of the bottle's neck before recorking. You can use a wine brush or just a clean towel or cloth. Try to put the end of the cork that was already in the bottle back in — which is easy to tell with red wine as it will be stained — because the other end has already been more exposed to bacteria, and you don't want that getting sealed in with the wine. Other than the wine it's touched, make sure the cork is as clean as possible.

The same way wax paper is a kitchen staple with many clever uses, there are other basic things you might have on hand that can help you reseal a bottle. Paper towels shouldn't be relied on for longer storage, but they work in a pinch. To try this — if you don't have wax paper to get your cork back in or if your cork is damaged – clean the inside of the bottle neck, fold a paper towel so it's two inches wide, roll it into a tight cork-like cylinder, wrap it in plastic wrap and tape it secure, then use it as a cork. Make sure you store the bottle somewhere dry and consume the wine within a couple of days.