How Long Does an Open Bottle of Wine Last?

It's nice to open a bottle of wine at the end of a long day. Maybe it's part of your wind down routine to sip at a good shiraz or maybe you have a glass of merlot with dinner, but most of the time you just want a glass or two of whatever it is you're drinking. So there you are, left with an open bottle of wine. How long does an open bottle of wine last though? And what's the best way to store wine?

How Long Does an Open Bottle of Wine Last?

There are scores of tips and tricks, plus some tools (both fancy and inexpensive) that promise to extend the life of wine. Some of them can help, but honestly, an open bottle of wine only lasts so long no matter what you do. Even bag-in-a-box wine only keeps for 2-3 weeks, though it does keep really well.

Wine doesn't spoil like fresh food; old wine is generally safe to drink, though your tastebuds may not think so. But wine that has oxidized will smell vinegary and taste acidic, and red wine will turn a reddish-brown.

You can't keep oxygen from getting into an opened bottle of wine. Vacuum stoppers can help, but the best thing to do is pour your glass and immediately put the cork or an airtight stopper back in the bottle and place the bottle in the fridge or a cool, dark place depending on the type of wine. You can also pour the wine into a smaller bottle to minimize the amount of air available at the top of the bottle.

Here's how long different types of open wine will last and the best way to store them.

White Wine (Light and Sweet Varieties) and Rosé Wine

Keep for 5-7 days in the refrigerator; use the cork or stopper.

Most light white wines, such as Reisling and Pinot Grigio, and rosé wines will be drinkable for about a week if you store the half-full bottles in your refrigerator. The wine will lose some of its taste, becoming less bright and fruity.

Full-Bodied White Wine

Keep 3-5 days in the refrigerator; use the cork or stopper.

If your preferred type of wine is the more full-bodied white wines like Chardonnay and Viognier, you've probably noticed that they don't last as long as other white wines. Because the aging process exposes the wine to more oxygen, they tend to oxidize more quickly once the bottle is open.

Red Wine

Keep 3-5 days in a cool, dark place; use the cork or stopper.

Some red wines do actually improve when they have time to sit and breathe, but you still want to store an open bottle of red wine in a cool, dark place. If your room temperature is on the warm side, keep the corked bottle in the fridge. Lighter red wines like Pinot Noir and Grenache don't have much tannin and don't keep for long. The more tannin a red wine has, as in Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah, the longer it will keep.

Sparkling Wine

Keep 1-3 days in the refrigerator; use the cork or a sparkling wine stopper.

Sparkling wines lose their carbonation quickly after opening. Cava and Champagne will keep their fizz a little longer because they're made with the traditional method, while sparkling wines like Prosecco that are made in tanks won't keep as long.

Fortified Wine and Dessert Wine

Keep 28 days in a cool, dark place; use the cork.

Fortified wines are called so because they have brandy added to the wine. So ports and sherry have naturally long shelf lives. They will oxidize, though, so keep the open bottles tightly sealed and keep them away from heat and light. Madeira and Marsala are exceptions, but in a good way. These wines are already oxidized and cooked, so they last pretty much forever.

Dessert wines do keep longer, and the sweeter the wine, the longer they'll last. Keep these open bottles of wine in the refrigerator for the best quality.

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