How Long Does Wine Last?

You probably know that wine doesn’t last forever and that it does go bad. However, how long does it last? You won’t be surprised to hear that it varies depending on the type of wine, be it red or white, light-bodied or full-bodied, sparkling or still. The most important aspect, however, is whether it’s been opened or not. In this article, we will take a look at how long wine lasts and we will start with opened bottles of wine.

How Long Does an Opened Bottle of Wine Last?

An opened bottle of wine doesn’t last that long. It is a much shorter space of time than an unopened bottle. Generally, it will last for up to three days, or five to seven days if you put it in the fridge. 

However, it’s not quite as simple as this. The ABV of the wine and whether it is light-bodied or full-bodied also affect the length of time the wine can be stored when it has been opened.

Light-bodied wines usually have an ABV of 12.5% or below. They can go bad quicker than full-bodied wines. They will only last for two to three days once they have been opened. It is best to store them in a cool place to help preserve them. Put them in a cold larder or a cellar if you are lucky enough to have one. Red light-bodied wines include Pinot Noir and Burgundy while white light-bodied wines include Pinot Grigio and Riesling. White wines can be stored in the fridge as you generally drink them cold.

Wines with an ABV of between 12.5% and 13.5% are considered medium-bodied. They include Gamay, Rose wines, and Sauvignon Blanc. They will last a bit longer than light-bodied wines. You can keep them for up to four days as long as you keep the reds in a cool place and the whites in the fridge.

Wines above 13.5% include Chardonnay, Muscat, Syrah, and Cabernet Sauvignon. They are full-bodied and this type of wine becomes more flavorful when it is uncorked. This means that you can drink it for between five days and a week after it has been opened before it starts to go bad. Some may even last longer. Again, keep the reds in a cool place and the whites in the fridge.

How Long Does an Unopened Bottle of Wine Last?

Unopened bottles of wine last much longer than opened bottles. Some wineries put the expiration date on the bottles but many don’t. Most do, however, put on the manufacturing date which is useful. After all, you don’t know how long the wine has been sitting on the shelf in the store. It could have been there for a year or more and this will, of course, lessen the life of the wine in your home.

It is interesting to note that the wine will last a bit longer than the expiration date. Red wine will usually be fine to drink for two to three years after the expiration date while white wines will only last for between one and two years. After this time, you could become sick if you drink the wine. However, cooking wine can last for between three and five years after the expiration date, while fine wine lasts for at least ten years. 

In reality, the wine will taste at its best before the expiration date so if you can, try to drink it as soon as you can after you buy it. After all, you are buying it to drink, not to hide away.

It is important that you store the wine at the right temperature, particularly if you aren’t going to drink it straight away. The ideal temperature is 55 F.

How Long Does A Bottle of Red Wine Last?

If you keep an unopened bottle of red wine in the right environment, that is in a dark cool place, you should be able to keep it for between two and ten years. As we have said, the correct temperature for storing is 55 F.

When it comes to opened bottles of wine, light-bodied red wines will keep for between two and three days while full-bodied red wines will keep for between three and five days. 

Red wines are a good investment because they last longer than whites when they are unopened. The opposite is true, however, of opened bottles.

How Long Does a Bottle of White Wine Last?

Unopened bottles of white wine last for between one and three years as long as they are stored in the right environment, that is in a cool dark place. 

When you have opened your bottle of white wine, store it in the fridge to lengthen its life. It will last for up to seven days although you might notice a  slight change in taste. In particular, if it is a fruity wine, these flavors may be diluted. 

To enhance the quality of white wine, you should store it at room temperature for a couple of days and then put it in the fridge until it reaches the correct temperature. It should be between 50 F and 60 F for the optimum taste.

Guide On How Long Wine Lasts

Wine Type                             Opened                                                 Unopened

White wine                             5 – 7 days                                               1 – 3 years

Rose wine                               5 – 7 days                                               3 years

Red wine                                1 – 5 days (depending on wine body)     2 – 10 years

Sparkling wine                       1 – 3 days                                                3 – 5 years

Fortified wine                         1 week – 1 month                                   Decades

Dessert wine                           2 – 3 weeks                                             5 months

Cooking wine                         1 – 2 months                                            3 – 5 years

How Do You Store Opened Wine?

It is important to store your wine properly if you want it to last as long as we have said. These are our tips. If you follow these, you should be able to store your wine for as long as possible. 

Put the cork back in the bottle

Corks aren’t just for display. They are an important part of storing your wine. If you don’t put the cork back into the bottle, air will get in and oxidation will occur. Your wine will then be undrinkable. So, even if you have the bottle on the table during dinner, put the cork back after you have poured it, and don’t take it out until you want to pour another glass. 

There is a proper way of putting the cork back. Don’t just push it back in. Make sure that the bottle is on a steady surface. Then put one edge of the cork in the bottle and the other on the lip. Then twist the cork in about one-third to halfway in. This should stop air from getting in.

An alternative to the cork is a wine stopper. It isn’t quite as effective as the cork because it does let a little air in. However, it’s fine for a dinner party if you intend to drink the bottle that night. 

Another choice is a vacuum pump. Now, that’s a good way to keep the air out as the pump takes out all of the air.

If you have opened a bottle of sparkling wine or champagne, the best thing to use is a winged closure. All you have to do is place it over the bottle. Press down, and then fold the wings back down. 

Put the bottle of wine in the fridge

Most wines need a cool temperature to preserve them. Although this won’t stop the breakdown of the wine properties, it will slow them down. White wine should always be put in the fridge. You will probably want to drink red wine warmer than the fridge temperature but you can put it in the fridge to preserve it and then take it out half an hour or so before serving to allow it to reach the correct temperature.

How Do You Store Unopened Wine?

Prevent sunlight from getting to the wine

Wine loves the dark so don’t leave it on a shelf in the sunlight. That is a surefire way for ruining the wine. Put the wine in the basement or cellar if you have one. Otherwise, if you have a room you don’t use much, put it in a cupboard in there and don’t switch the central heating on. It is better in a cupboard without any light as that is the enemy of wine.

Keep your wine at a steady temperature

If your wine keeps changing temperature, the quality of the wine can be affected. It should ideally be kept at around 55 F. This is why it is best left in the basement or cellar. You can put it in the fridge but the temperature in the fridge is lower than 55 F. If you keep it in the fridge for too long, this can affect the quality of the wine. However, if you plan to drink it within a few weeks, this is a good option. 

Don’t leave the wine near anything that vibrates

Vibration also runs the taste of the wine so don’t leave it near the washing machine or anything else that might vibrate. This may seem strange but you will definitely notice a change in the taste of the wine if you do. It follows that you shouldn’t shake the bottle. If you are driving home with your wine, the bottles are best kept in a secure box so that they don’t shake.

Final Thoughts

Hopefully, you now know what the best ways are of storing wine, whether it is opened or unopened. If you follow our guidelines, you should then have a delicious bottle of wine to enjoy. Yes, it can be a bit of a minefield especially if you live somewhere with extreme temperatures. If you do, we suggest that you buy your wines close to the time you want to drink them. Utilize the fridge if you plan to drink the wines within a few weeks. Also, remember that different wines have different needs. Once you have experimented with a selection of wines, storing wines will become second nature. Enjoy the experience! 

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