What Is The Shelf Life Of An Opened Wine Bottle?
Image Credit: Unsplash

We've all had the experience of opening a bottle of wine after work or for a dinner party, only to find that there's only half a bottle left by the end of the night. Or worse, you fall asleep and wake up to find your favourite bottle of wine still open and exposed on the counter. Of course, you don't want to waste the bottle, but is it still safe to consume? There is no clear and fast rule concerning how long wine lasts after it has been opened. The truth is that it is determined by the type of wine and how it is preserved.

Table wines, which are non-sparkling reds and whites, often last three to five days after being opened. Fortified wines, such as Port or Sherry, can keep for several weeks or even months after being opened. Below is a detailed analysis of how long each variety of wine lasts after being opened, as well as instructions on how to store wine to keep it fresh.

Red Wine

3-5 days with a cork in a cool, dark area The more tannin and acidity of the red wine, the longer it will last after opening. Because of this, light red wine with mild tannins, like Pinot Noir, won't keep as long as a deep red wine, like Petite Sirah. Some wines improve even after the first day. After opening, store open red wines in a fridge or a dark cool spot. If you don't have a chiller, keeping the wine in the fridge is preferable to leaving it out in a 70°F (21°C) room.

White Wine

3-5 days in the refrigerator with a cork Full-bodied white wines, such as oaked Chardonnay and Viognier, deteriorate faster because they were exposed to more oxygen during the pre-bottling maturing process. Keep them corked and in the fridge at all times. If you drink a lot of this type of wine, investing in vacuum caps is a great idea.

Sparkling Wine

Refrigerate for 1-3 days with a sparkling wine stopper. Sparkling wines quickly lose their carbonation after opening. A tank technique sparkling wine, such as Prosecco, will last slightly longer than a traditional method sparkling wine, such as Cava or Champagne. When traditional technique wines are bottled, they have more atmospheres of pressure (more bubbles) in them, which is why they last longer.

Fortified Wine

Fortified wines, sometimes known as dessert wines, can last up to 28 days after being opened if re-corked and stored in a cold, dark place (below 70 degrees F). In general, the sweeter the dessert wine, such as Port, Sherry, and Marsala, the longer it lasts. Some fortified wines, such as Marsala and Madeira, can be stored for months after they have been opened. Because these wines have already been oxidised and cooked, their shelf life is much longer because oxygen can no longer harm them.