Knowing how long wine is good for after opening is important for preservation, to ensure you take great tasting wine, and also to prevent losses. But how long is wine good after opening? Thus should you keep the wine refrigerated after opening?
How long wine is good for after opening greatly depends on the type of wine- light or heavy or fortification. Thus, table wines (typical non-sparkling red and white wines) last three (3) to five (5) days after opening. However, fortified wines can last a few weeks to months after opening.
The highly tannic, commercial red wine can last for a week after opening, unlike the unstable wines that last for three to five days. Sparkling wines, for example, Prosecco or Champagne need to be sealed and refrigerated for them to be good for three to five days.
Fortified wines including Port or Sherry thus last longer than the other types of wine after being opened. However, ultimately most of the wines will start going bad after some time.
How Long is Wine Good After Opening?
The length of time that a wine is good after opening depends on the type of wine with fortified wines lasting longer than unstable wines. The typical table wines (non-sparkling red or white wine) will last for three to five days after opening. Fortified wines on the other hand can last for a few weeks to months after opening.
Lighter (light red with very little tannin) wines such as Pinot Noir, Barbera, Dolcetto, Etna Rosso, Frappato, and Gamay won’t last open as long as a rich red like Petite Sirah, Nebbiolo, Cabernet Sauvignon, Monastrell, and Sangiovese.
As discussed in our previous article, lighter styles of red wine can be chilled in the wine fridge but full-bodied red wine should not be put in the fridge since it can make them taste unbalanced by bringing tannin and oak to the fore.
Thus, you can store your red wine with a stopper for three to five days by storing them in a cool, dark place. It is important to note that some wines improve after the first day when opened.
Even though fortified wines last for very long (weeks to months) once opened, you should not keep Vintage Port for very long after opening. Thus, you should drink the wine a few days after opening.
1. Red Wine- Length Red wine is Good After Opening
Red wines have a shorter storage duration as compared to white wines when stored properly. The difference between red wines and white wines is that white wines need to be refrigerated while red wines do not.
Red wine will be good for three (3) to five (5) days after opening when stored in a cool dark place with a cork. This is because the biggest enemy of your opened red wine is oxygen (air) and light.
The more tannin and acidity in your red wine, the longer it can last after opening. Thus, Lighter (light red with very little tannin) wines such as Pinot Noir, Barbera, Dolcetto, Etna Rosso, Frappato, and Gamay won’t last open as long as a full-bodied (rich) red like Petite Sirah, Nebbiolo, Cabernet Sauvignon, Zinfandel, Monastrell, and Sangiovese. These full-bodied red wines may remain fresh and maintain their flavor for 4 – 6 days.
You can use a cork or a wine stopper to keep air out of the wine bottle. If exposed to air and light, red wine starts getting oxidized quickly thus changing the taste and color of the wine. You may find after some time the wine will start tasting like vinegar.
Finally, when the wine is exposed to a little small amount of oxygen for a short amount of time, it may make the wine taste better and improve its aroma. Prolonged exposure changes your wine to vinegar through the oxidation process.
Related: How to Store Zinfandel Wine: 6 Trusted Ways to Increase Lifespan of Zin Wine
2. White Wine: Length White Wine is Good After Opening
You can store white wine in a fridge after opening, unlike most red wines. This is because they do not have tannins which can get imbalanced when stored in the fridge.
You can store white wine for 5–7 days in the fridge with a cork. Recorking the wine prevents aeration of the wine which can lead to oxidation. Thus you can drink the white wine (light white and rosé wines) for up to a week after opening if stored at the right temperature in your fridge.
You can aim to store light and medium-bodied white wines at a temperature of between 45 and 50 degrees Fahrenheit. The temperature reduces the wine degradation and oxidation giving it a longer usable life after opening.
The white wine’s taste will start changing once opened due to oxidation. The first noticeable difference is the diminishing of the overall fruit character. Once the wine fruit character diminishes, the wine becomes less vibrant.
You have to ensure that you use a high-quality wine stopper to reduce the oxidation process by reducing the amount of air your wine is exposed to. The stopper helps to preserve the flavor profiles which are more complex.
The good thing about Light and fruity whites is that they taste best while chilled at 45–50°F. Thus, keeping them in the fridge for storage helps you to get the best taste. This is because more often than not, the wines are kept in the fridge for three hours before opening to bring out the bottle’s aroma and acidity.
Therefore, if re-corked and stored in the fridge life expectancy of a bottle that has been re-corked and stored in the fridge is up to 7 days. Re-corking and storing the white wine in the fridge helps control the main contributors to wine spoilage when open which are oxygen (aeration), heat, and light.
Rosé wines storage after opening
Just like white wines, Rosé wines can last for five (5) to seven (7) days after opening in the fridge with a cork. Storing the Rosé wine in the fridge minimizes exposure to air (oxygen), heat, and light which can easily lead to wine spoilage.
Rose wine when not stored in the fridge or when not re-corked wine will start oxidizing even after one day. This leads to a subtle change in the wine taste.
To ensure that the Rosé wine lasts for five to seven days, you need to invest in a high-quality wine stopper. You can either use a stopper, cork, or screw cap to seal the bottle well or use other wine preservation methods.
It is important to note that once Born Rosé Barcelona wine, Whispering Angel’s, Château Miraval’s or Wölffer Estate Rosé or any other Rosé wine is opened, it is exposed to oxygen and heat. The exposure starts the degradation immediately.
Thus, storing wine in the fridge slows down the degradation and ensures that you can enjoy it for up to seven days.
3. Sparkling wines e.g. Champagne
Knowing how long is champagne/ sparkling white wine good after opening helps you plan well for your party. It can help you decide what to do with your leftover champagne and enjoy the bubbly at its best.
When re-corked and stored well, vintage and non-vintage bubbly (champagne) will last for three (3) to five (5) days after opening the champagne bottle. After five days, the champagne will go flat and lose its lovely flavors through evaporation.
Thus, even though we truly cherish champagne, it does not last forever. We all know that champagne and other sparkling white wines are wine classes that are fermented from a blend of grapes including Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, or Pinot Meunier.
To note is that if you leave your champagne uncorked won’t last for a long time. The wine should be corked with a sparkling wine stopper. This ensures the sparkling wines do not lose their carbonation immediately after opening.
Unopened Champagne and other sparkling wines can last for a long time if unopened. The storage for champagne should be on their side in a cellar or in a wine fridge.
Related: Chardonnay Alcohol Content – ABV of Over 30 Varieties & Calories
4. Dessert wine
Dessert wines have a higher sugar content as compared to the other wines described above. Their longevity thus is more than most wines. Moreover, the grape variety and method of production determine how long the Dessert wine will last after opening.
Dessert wines will last for two to three weeks after opening with proper storage in the fridge but may last up to 28 days depending on the grape variety used to make them and their method of preparation. They are able to last longer than most wines due to their higher sugar content.
The sugar in the wine acts as a natural preservative. This is the reason even the Ice wine lasts for up to six weeks. Cupcake wine when boxed will last up to six weeks after opening with proper storage in your refrigerator.
Late Harvest Wine & Noble Rot Dessert Wine offers honey, caramel, and dried fruit characteristics and thus making them last for a long time.
Dessert wines are best served chilled. Therefore, other than Madeira the serving temperature should be between 43-46°F (6-8°C) depending on the complexity of your wine. The reason for the lower serving temperature is that dessert wines have higher alcohol content than dry wines.
5. Fortified wine such as Port, Sherry, or Madeira
Some of us really enjoy fortified wines such as Port and Muscat. The wines may have an added amount of brandy or some other distilled spirits. The added distilled spirit increases the alcohol content of the wine.
Fortified wines by having higher alcohol content will last up to 28 days after opening when stored in a cool dry place after sealing them with a cork. The main thing to avoid is minimizing exposure to heat and light.
Because the fortified wine has high alcohol content (17–20% alcohol content), you should store the wine in a cool, dark cupboard and not in a decanter. This keeps the wine fresh for up to a month. All Port wines other than the Vintage wine can also be stored in a fridge for up to three months.
The fortified wines listed above will last much longer than other wines other than dessert wines. The storage period is not extended indefinitely for fortified wines though.
You can preserve the flavor better for longer if you store it in the fridge. To note is that the sweeter fortified varieties last longer than the dry wine varieties.
Would you know if a wine has gone off?
A wine that has gone off will be most probably oxidized. This makes the wine lose the fruit aroma and flavors or even dim the color or become brown. Some wines have a controlled oxidation to give you a great taste.
You can compare the color profile to understand if the wine has gone off. This however may not work for Tawny port which has already undergone controlled oxidation.
The taste profile may turn to vinegar. Vinegar is produced by bacteria and wild yeast growth in the wine thus increasing the acetic acid content. Vinegar has a sharp and sour taste.
Thus, if you take the wine, you will experience a burning sensation in your nasal passage. The burning sensation is mainly due to the strong odor and flavor. Some wines that have gone off may also taste like a strong chemical which may taste like paint thinner.
Wine will have a different storage period after opening depending on the alcohol content, wine type, sugar content, and whether the wine is light or has a fuller body.
The typical white and red wines will last up to five days when stored in the right condition when re-corked after opening. The other wines will have a different storage period.
Knowing how long the wine is good after opening is important to know how to store the wine or when you should enjoy it. Finally, you can even enjoy oxidized wine