Wine can be a delicious hobby and is the perfect addition to any party. If you’re having an intimate gathering, like a dinner with a small number of friends or family, nothing beats some good wine served in nice glasses and paired with your favorite meal. Knowing how long white wine lasts after opening is necessary to get the most out of your wine between every glass and don’t have to throw it out because it went wrong.
Many wine drinkers have a common question: how long does white wine last after opening? Unfortunately, there is not a simple answer to this question. Several factors can affect how long your unopened bottle of wine lasts. This guide will help you know how long white wine lasts after opening and how to store white wine properly to maximize the shelf life and overall quality.
Why does wine go bad?
Exposure to air and germs can affect the quality and drinkability of opened wine. There are two fundamental reasons why an opened wine bottle will spoil: Bacteria in an opened bottle can turn the alcohol into vinegary acetic acid, and air can oxidize opened wine, causing it to lose its flavor and color.
How to check if an opened wine has gone bad?
If you’re not sure whether your wine is still drinkable, look for these three clues to determine whether you should throw it down the drain or pour another glass:
If the wine no longer has a fruity aroma and instead smells more like vinegar, it’s passed its prime.
When the wine begins to oxidize, its color will alter somewhat. A glass of white wine should be avoided if it turns a darker yellow color, and a bottle of red wine should be avoided if it turns brown.
If your remaining wine appears to be in good condition and smells good, the last thing you should do is try it. It’s safe to drink terrible wine; it won’t taste as good.
How long do different varieties of wine last after it’s been opened?
Once it is open, the shelf life of the white wine varies depending on how light or heavy it is, although most wines last three to five days.
Choose wines with more tannin for a longer shelf life once you open a bottle. Tannin is a chemical found in grape seeds, stems, and skins that helps preserve wine from oxygenation while increasing its age-ability. For white wines, the manufacturing process does not include the skins and seeds, some grape varietals have more natural tannin than others, and you’ll discover these in red wine. Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, and Nebbiolo are examples of wines with naturally greater tannin levels. Low-tannin reds, such as pinot noir and merlot, will keep for two to three days after opening, but higher-tannin wines should keep for five days.
1. Light white wines –
Light white wine, such as Pinot Grigio, Sauvignon Blanc, and sweet Riesling, keep in the refrigerator for 5–7 days, then corked. You can consume these wines for up to a week, but the fruitiness of the wine may begin to fade sooner.
2. Full-bodied white wines –
Wines such as oaked Chardonnay, Muscat, and Viognier, keep in the refrigerator for 3–5 days, then corked.
3. Sparkling wine:
When corked, sparkling wines lose their carbonation almost immediately after opening and last 1–3 days in the refrigerator. Traditional technique sparkling wines such as Cava, Champagne, and Franciacorta are highly pressured and will last longer than tank methods sparkling wines such as Prosecco, Moscato, and sparkling red Lambrusco. Consider investing in a specialist sparkling wine cork to help keep the wine’s fizz and extend its shelf life.
How to store wines after opening?
Follow these guidelines to extend the shelf life of your leftover wine:
1. Seal Tightly:
Close the bottle tightly. Close an open bottle of wine with its original cork, screw cap, rubber bottle stopper, or sparkling wine stopper to halt the oxidation process. You can even get a fancy wine vacuum pump that allows you to suck the air out of an open bottle to produce an almost airtight seal. If you’ve misplaced your cork (or can’t fit it back in the bottle) and don’t have a stopper, some plastic wrap secured with a rubber band will suffice. To keep your wine bottle fresher, close it after each glass you pour instead of leaving it open while you drink.
2. Maintain an average temperature:
Maintain a consistent temperature for your wine. You may just put opened white wines in the fridge. The recommended temperature for storing red wine varies significantly depending on the wine, but 55 degrees Fahrenheit is generally suitable. You should store opened red wine in a wine refrigerator or chiller because it usually is cooler than room temperature. You may also keep the bottle in a conventional refrigerator if you take it out an hour before serving to allow it to warm up.
3. Protect from the sun:
Keep the wine away from the light. Because UV rays from direct sunlight can harm the flavors and smell of wine, it’s best to keep leftover wine in the dark spot.
4. Decant into a smaller bottle:
Pour the liquid into a smaller bottle. If you want to extend the life of an opened bottle of wine, decant it into a smaller bottle and seal it. Because there is less capacity for oxygen in a smaller bottle, oxidation is reduced.
The above list outlines a general timeline for the potential consumption window following the opening of your white wine. Each bottle will vary in strength, so feel free to experiment to find the perfect time range that you enjoy. Nothing can be done to extend this timeline once the bottle is opened, so consider it finite. Keep in mind that, White wines don’t last as long as reds because the tannins in red wine are what give it its long lifespan after being opened.
Check this list of the best Californian White Wines.