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How long does wine last after opening?

How long does wine last after opening?

Jonas Muthoni

Let’s understand how stale wine tastes and when to discard the bottle. I will help you in knowing the methods for storing different varieties of your opened bottles of white wine. You also need to understand the risks of consuming stale wine and how to know whether your wine is drinkable or not. I know you have too many questions but here I will answer all of them so that you have the right knowledge of how to store and when to consume your wine bottles! Come, let’s start.

How long does wine last in the fridge unopened?

It depends on the type and quality of the wine, but generally speaking, unopened bottles can last from 5 to 10 years. It is also not necessary to store your unopened bottle of wine in the fridge. Just store the bottles in a cool, dark place on the side.

How long does wine last in the fridge after opening?

Once opened, it will depend on how much air is in the bottle and how well you seal it up for storage. If you intend to finish a bottle of wine but can’t manage it in one sitting, then you should store the open bottle in the fridge to slow down its deterioration.

If you’re storing an open bottle of red wine in the fridge, then it can keep for up to five to seven days, although this can vary depending on the type of wine.

White wines tend to be more delicate than reds and don’t last as long once open. They’ll typically keep for two to three days if stored correctly in the fridge.

The wines may still be drinkable after this period but won’t be at their best – most notably, they will lose some of their flavor and aroma.

What happens to wines after opening?

Just like any FMCG product, all wines are radically different. Hence, it becomes difficult to point out one reason as to why and when one should discard the wine to avoid falling sick. The key to storing an opened bottle of wine is minimizing oxidization. Oxidizing eventually turns wine into vinegar over a period of time. It is best to transfer the wine into a smaller airtight vessel or just cork the bottle and put it in the fridge. Recorking and refrigerating limit the exposure to oxygen, heat, and light, preventing the wine from being downright disgusting the next day.

How long do these particular wines last?

1. Sparkling Wine

Sparkling Wines lose their carbonation fairly quickly after opening. Tank method sparkling wine like Prosecco and traditional-method sparkling wine like Champagne have different lasting periods. The Traditional Wine has more bubbles; hence it lasts longer than tank wines. Ideally, sparkling wines can last for up to 3 days in the fridge, with a wine stopper.

2. Sweet White, Rosé and Light White Wine

All of the above wines are fruity and highly vibrant wines. After opening, they do lose their vibrancy as they begin to oxidize. They have a subtle change of taste after the first day only because of oxidization. Nonetheless, when appropriately stored in the refrigerator, most white and rose wines can be consumed for up to a week after opening.

3. Full-Bodied White Wine

Full-bodied white wines like Viognier, and oaked Chardonnay, oxidize more quickly because they were more exposed to oxygen in their pre-bottling aging process. If your consumption of these types of wine is higher, you must consider investing in vacuum cups. Rest assured, and they will last for 3-5 days in the fridge, well corked.

4. Fortified Wine

Fortified wines like Port, Marsala, and Sherry have relatively long shelf lives. Longer shelf life is due to the addition of brandy in these wines. While they do look pretty displayed on the shelf, these wines lose their vibrant flavors rather quickly due to the exposure to light and heat. You can store them in a cool and dark place for 28 days. The sweeter the dessert wine, the longer it can last because they have already been oxidized and cooked.

5. Red Wine

Once opened, a bottle of red wine should be consumed within 5-7 days. The shelf life of red wine depends on a variety of factors, such as the type of wine, the storage method, and whether it was opened or not. Red wines are usually made from grapes that contain more tannin than white grapes. Tannin is a natural chemical compound that gives red wines their bitter taste and astringency – It also acts as a preservative, which helps give reds a longer shelf life than whites.

Signs that wine has gone bad

Wine, both opened and unopened, can go bad. Beyond the expiration, there are signs to look out for to check if the wine is drinkable. The following signs may indicate the wine has gone bad.

1. Change in Color

One of the first indications that the wine has gone bad is a change in color. When the light-colored wines become opaque or golden, it is time to discard the wine. Discard the dark-colored ones when they turn brownish. The color change is typically a result of too much oxygen exposure.

2. Smell the Wine

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Smelling your opened bottle of wine is a good indicator of whether the wine has gone bad or not. Stale wine will probably smell like burnt marshmallows or have a nut-like odor. If the wine has been open for too long, it can have a sharp vinegar-like smell, indicating it is time to discard the wine.

3. Check the Cork

If you observe the bottle’s cork has been slightly pushed out or there is a visible wine leak, it is clear that the wine has gone bad, and should be discarded. The cork being pushed out indicates the wine has overheated and expanded within the bottle.

4. Fizzy or Chemical Flavors

A non-sparkling wine that suddenly starts tasting fizzy should not be consumed. Fizzy taste in a still wine is a sign that the wine has undergone the second phase of fermentation and is not fit to be used. A wine that lacks fruity notes, and suddenly tastes like paint-thinner, has definitely gone bad and unfit for consumption.

Potential Risk of Consuming Stale Wine

Ever wondered what would happen if you consumed stale wine? If a small amount of spoiled wine is consumed, it does not cause any potential harm. Ideally, an open bottle of wine gets spoiled due to its exposure to oxygen, and does no harm, except a change in color and smell. If a wine gets spoiled due to microbes, it will potentially lead to food poisoning.

Symptoms of Food Poisoning are:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Stomach Cramps
  • Fever
  • Dehydration

While the latter reason is rare, it might happen. Drinking bad wine is not only an unpleasant experience, but it also leaves you vulnerable to foodborne pathogens. Hence it is best to discard stale wine to avoid potential health risks.


Just like any food or beverage, wine too has a shelf life. It is best to consume wine rather than corking it and storing it. While it may not be possible every time, ensure you are following the correct method of keeping an opened bottle of wine. Consume the opened wine bottle within the next few days to avoid spoilage. Before consuming an opened bottle of wine, check if it has not gone bad. If the wine gets a funny pungent smell or changes its color, it is time to discard the wine.

Check the proper way to hold your glass of wine.

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