Wine Intelligencer: How Long Does an Open Bottle of Wine Last?

by tarynlachter

Last week’s blog was a discussion on how to keep wine fresh once it’s been opened.

This week, let’s look at how long that freshness will last after opening.

Like all carbonated beverages, a bubbly wine isn’t going to last very long once it’s been opened.

Last week’s blog was a discussion on how to keep wine fresh once it’s been opened. This week, let’s look at how long that freshness will last after opening.

Sparkling Wine

Like all carbonated beverages, a bubbly wine isn’t going to last very long once it’s been opened. Once oxygen hits those bubbles, they will start to dissipate and your wine will go flat. There’s probably a 1-3 day lifetime on that bottle but make sure it’s very well sealed and corked after opening. If your bubbly loses its fizz, you can always use it to make sangria! 

White Wine

Tannins serve as a preserver so wines with higher levels of tannins will stay fresh for longer. Therefore, because white wines are typically lower in tannins, they don’t last nearly as long once they’ve been open. Light whites or rosés will stand about a week after they’ve been opened but more full-bodied whites, especially those that were oaked, will only last about 2-5 days. 

The full-bodied white wines, particularly something like an oaked Chardonnay, are exposed to more oxygen during fermentation so once they’re opened, that additional exposure speeds it up even further.

Red Wine

Because tannins are a natural preserver, red wines stand a better chance out in the open than white wines, but they still have a short shelf life. For those that are more tannic and acidic like Cabernet Sauvignon or Syrah, you’ll get about 5 days once it’s been opened. Lower tannin reds like Pinot Noir and Merlot will probably only last 2-3 days. 

Although it goes against what you’ve normally heard, keep any open red wine in the fridge, and very tightly sealed. The warmth of room temperature plus oxygenated wine is a happy ground for fermentation and that bottle will turn to vinegar much faster than you hope.

You’ll know if your wine is bad first by the smell and then, of course, by the taste. If you’ve let a bottle of red sit out on the counter for a couple weeks, when you uncork it again, you’ll get a stronger, vinegar-like aroma quickly out of the bottle. The alcohol will make its way forward along with a rotten fruit smell, and it’ll be pretty pungent.

Although it’s very sad to waste wine, please throw anything out that hasn’t been consumed in the proper time range. It really won’t be a good experience to drink it!



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