How long does wine last? (You might be surprised!)

Wine Bottle StoppersI hate to break a few hearts out there, but wine does have a shelf life once opened.

Oxygen is the enemy of wine and once that precious bottle is opened, air is going to seep into it at every opportunity and attack the living daylights out of that lovely wine. Even if you screw that lid or cork back on super tightly, it’s been exposed!

The wine will literally die, the aromas will fade, the flavours will go flat and it may go pretty sour and acidic, a lot like vinegar.

There have been a few occasions where I have been over at a friend’s house and then they pull out a bottle of wine they opened ‘a little while ago’ and when I ask how long ago that was, I’m usually told that it was ‘only 2 or 3 weeks/months ago’. As my face and jaw drop, I politely take the bottle from my host and pour it down the sink. Honestly, it’s the best place for it, (or there are a few tricks at the bottom of this post if you really don’t have the heart to do that).

Here are my recommendations and the guides I personally live by when it comes to opened wine in the TC household:

How long is a wine good for once I open it?

Like all good things, there’s no straight answer.

But typically I go by the rule for whites, roses and reds that they will only keep for 2-3 days maximum once opened.

Red wine can be very temperamental. Pinot Noir is super sensitive to oxygen. Aged red wines will also have a low tolerance to oxygen and light coloured red wines & organic/sulphite-free red wine will also die off quicker than other red wines. I feel like I may be promoting drinking opened bottles of wine ASAP in this post (don’t hate me!).

How long does Champagne & Sparkling wine last?

For Champagne and bubbles, these can die very quickly due to the carbonation being released from the bottle as soon as that cork is popped. Therefore it’s best to drink the whole darn bottle in one foul swoop. What a bugger hey 🙂

I have on quite a few occasions kept some overnight and popped on a Champagne stopper, which is a pretty good solution. It’s not the same the next day but it is still drinkable. That’ll teach me for getting overly excited on a Saturday night and opening one too many Champagne bottles. I honestly think I just have an addiction to using my champagne sabre!

How long does port and fortified wine last?

For fortified wines like port and sherry, these last a lot longer once opened due to the higher alcohol and sugar content which work as preservatives. I would definitely store these in the fridge to help preserve them once opened. Therefore a cool, dark place for up to 28 days should keep it in good shape.

A sherry is probably best to keep for a maximum of one week. Whilst a port can do a bit longer, about 2-4 weeks once opened. This category varies a lot due to the different types of fortified wines out there.

However, I do find that quite a few ports will mention on the back label what their shelf life is roughly once opened. Plus you can always get in touch with the producer via twitter or online and get the answer straight from the winemaker’s fingertips.

Are there any tips to help preserve my wine longer?

Yes, there are a few wine accessories out there on the market to help preserve the wine. There is a wide range of stoppers and also devices to remove the unwanted oxygen from the bottle once opened.

I haven’t used these oxygen-sucking vacuum pumps for wine before, so I can’t really say how good they are. Wine Folly does mention about the Vacuum Pump Controversy here.

I like to use decent tight wine stoppers which latch onto the sides of the bottle.

Some quick tips to help keep opened wine longer:

  • Keep it refrigerated, the coolness will slow down the chemical process.
  • Re-cork it with its original cork or a super tight bottle stopper after pouring every glass.
  • Store it upright so the amount of surface area exposed to oxygen is kept to a minimum.

What should I do with leftover ‘off’ wine?

It’s very rare that there’s leftover wine in my house. On the odd occasion when there is I simply pop the bottle in the fridge and use it for cooking. I also love popping some red in my spaghetti Bolognese sauce or in a stew.

White wine can be great for fish and chicken dishes! All foods are made better with wine right?

The lovely Bele over at Blah Blah Magazine suggests to make vinegar with your off wine – check out the recipe here.

Check out some of my recipes using wine here.

21 thoughts on “How long does wine last? (You might be surprised!)

  1. Very interesting piece, thanks.Having tried numerous way to keep the fizz in champagne, I have found the only way to keep the bubbles for longer is to use a strong bottle stopper. I recently bought an Avina Champagne stopper which was excellent and to date has worked better than any other method. Now I don’t feel like I’m wasting good money if I don’t finish the bottle.

  2. I keep a couple of half bottle and even a smaller one around. Any leftover wine go into a smaller bottle which hopefully is almost filled. This reduces the amount of oxygen available when compared to a half full 750mL bottle. I use an old cork stopper from a whisky bottle. I find young Pinot Noir (5-7 days) will last longer than a Shiraz or Cab Sav. (2-3 days) .

  3. My mum used to keep the same bottle of sherry in the cupboard to serve to my gran at Christmas from one year to the next. Sounds like it was lucky she wasn’t poisoned… (although a quick google confirms that lots of people do this and can’t taste any difference!)

  4. You’ll have to demonstrate saberage on your tours!

    We often have 5 or 6 bottles on the go at any one time. I like to taste over a few days and see how it changes. I like to think on the second day that it is a bit more like how the wine will be when it is a few years older.

    Plenty of stale wine is used to water our garden. I’m still waiting for that “wine tree” to grow though!

    Thanks for linking up through #WINENOT Linky Party this week!

  5. Thanks for popping by Cybele and I love you post!! May have to add a link in above to your recipe 🙂

  6. Awesome! We’ve been making vinegar with our leftover wine and end up with the best darn vinegar ever, because I suspect the wine we use is a tad better than the stuff they usually make vinegar with x

  7. I am really very sensitive to tasting any oxidation in wines and struggle even on day 2 with aromatic whites. I wish I could afford a nitrogen canister for my kitchen:)
    Thank you for linking up with #winenot 🙂

  8. Absolutely, I’ve got 2 bottles of champers in the fridge, maybe I’ll do a spoon test with one of them and none with the other and then drink them both.

  9. I used to work as a Flight Attendant and we were told to put an upside down spoon into the champers bottle after it’s been opened to keep it fresh or whatever, Have you come across that before?

  10. Thanks Haley!! It sounds like you have your leftover over wine plans sussed, good work!! Keep an eye out for tomorrow’s post, I think you’ll be able to relate to it 🙂

  11. Great post!! I use my leftover wine for roasts, white for my chicken/pork and red for lamb/beef, then whatever else I can put it in

Grab a glass of wine and let me know what you think...

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