How Long Does Wine Last After Opening?
Oops! You accidentally left the bottle of wine you opened on the counter for a few hours too long.
We’ve all been there, and while you may be frantically Googling if your bottle’s already going bad, rest assured that we’ve got all the facts.
One thing to keep in mind is that how long a re-opened bottle of wine lasts depends on the type of wine.
Let’s look at why wine might go bad more quickly and how to prevent it from happening.
How Long is Wine Good After Opening, and How Does Wine Go Bad?
Most popular types of wine, like full-bodied reds and whites, have an average shelf life of up to 1-5 days after opening, while some fine wines can last up to six days.
There is an exception, however, as there is a specific type of specialty wine that stays fresh from three weeks to one month!
We’ll get to that later, but if you want to keep your wine fresh for further sipping throughout the week, store it in a cool dark place and seal it with the original cork or a wine stopper.
Conditions like exposure to heat, light, and oxygen will cause your wine to taste more vinegary and unpleasant much faster.
After just three hours in the sun, the wine’s amino acids undergo a chemical reaction, causing it to taste like sulfur.
Acetic acid and bacteria can also develop regardless of whether the wine is left in the sun, making your deliciously fruity wine taste like potent vinegar. This is why it’s crucial not to leave your wine open at room temperature after it’s open.
But like we said, not all wines are the same when it comes to re-corking and storing after opening.
How Long Does Red Wine Last After Opening?
Because red wines have a higher concentration of acids and tannins, they can usually last for just under a week. While tannins lend to these wines’ aging potential and possible longevity when stored correctly after opening, they can just as likely prevent them from lasting too long once opened, as oxidization changes the properties of the tannins.
Too much oxidization can accelerate aging, just like UV rays.
Some red wines will last longer than others as the alcohol, acid, complexity, and tannins will vary greatly depending on the type.
Some wines may even improve when opened, as oxidization is good for balancing out tannins.
Here are a few examples of red wine storage potential after opening.
Light Bodied Reds
Lighter-bodied reds like Pinot Noir, Gamay, or Lambrusco have lower tannins, which last about 2-3 days when corked and stored in the fridge.
Medium Bodied Reds
Wines like Merlot and Grenache have slightly higher alcohol, acid, and tannins, lasting around 3-5 days if stored properly.
Full Bodied Reds
Especially on the more expensive side, full-bodied reds like Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah are very tannic, giving them a shelf life of around 3-6 days after opening. While these types of wine can remain drinkable for nearly a week, we recommend not letting them sit past day four or five. This is because a wine’s freshness will diminish after the first day or two.
Storing full-bodied red wines in the fridge can also be tricky, as the colder temperatures of a refrigerator can make the wine taste too tannic and oaky.
This is why a wine fridge is the best place to store full-bodied red wines after they’ve been opened. They do well when stored in cool dark places below room temperature, though not too cold!
How Long Does White Wine Last After Opening?
While similar to storing red wine after opening, white wines and Rosé have more of a range when preserving those delicately fruity flavors.
Let’s look at how long light-bodied white wines, full-bodied white wines, and Rosé can last once opened and stored properly.
Light Bodied White Wines and Rosé
When placed in the fridge with a cork, you might be surprised to learn that Rosé and light-bodied white wines like Pinot Grigio, Sauvignon Blanc, and Riesling can last 5-7 days! The higher acidity and sugars allow these wines to keep for longer.
However, you may notice the aromas diminishing sooner than a week. A cork or screw cap can only do so much to preserve those soft fruit and floral notes.
This is why finishing the bottle within 1-2 days would be the best option.
But if you can’t do this in a sitting or two, don’t worry. You still have a week to enjoy!
Just remember that Rosé and light-bodied wines will taste less fresh as the days go by.
Full Bodied White Wines
Because heavier, more complex white wines like Oaked Chardonnay and Viognier have already been oxidized during the aging process, they will turn more quickly than light-bodied wines.
When re-corked and appropriately stored in a wine fridge or regular refrigerator, three days will likely be the maximum for full-bodied white wines.
But if you have a vacuum seal, this will be ideal and can help your buttery Chardonnay to keep for as long as five days.
How Long Does Sparkling Wine Last After Opening?
Much like placing an open bottle or can of soda in the fridge overnight, sparkling wine loses its carbonation quickly.
While sparkling wine is best served at peak fizziness immediately after opening, it will last in your refrigerator for 1-3 days with a wine stopper if you can't finish it all in one sitting.
What Type of Wine Lasts Longest After Opening?
Remember that special type of wine we mentioned earlier? The type of wine that can last for a month after opening?
It may come as no surprise that fortified wines like Port, Sherry, Tawny Port, Marsala, Madeira, and Vermouth last the longest when stored with the original cork in a cool dark place.
Fortified wines contain spirits like Brandy, giving them a longer shelf life due to their extremely high alcohol content.
Sweeter fortified wines, like dessert wines, will last longer than dry fortified wines as the sugar content acts as a preservative, much like Brandy.
Store Your Wine Like a Pro
Now that you know more about storing various types of wine after opening, you can enjoy your wine to its fullest potential!
To quickly recap, red wines can last around 2-6 days after opening when stored correctly in a cool dark place with the original cork. Light-bodied red wines have a shorter shelf life in this context than full-bodied red wines.
Light-bodied white wines and Rosé last even longer, potentially up to a week, when stored in the refrigerator with a wine stopper.
Full-bodied white wines like Chardonnay can last 3-5 days when stored in a refrigerator with a vacuum seal.
Fortified wines will last the longest and shouldn’t have any issues keeping their flavors for as long as one month or 28 days.