How Long Does Wine Last After Opening? Here’s What You Need To Know

How Long Does Wine Last After Opening? Here’s What You Need To Know

Wine is one of the world’s oldest and most-loved beverages. You may enjoy popping the cork and enjoying a glass here and there, but what about the wine that’s left in the bottle? How long does wine last after opening? Does wine go bad, and can alcohol expire? 

You may be wondering just what happens to your wine after you open it and what you can do to lengthen its lifespan. Read on to learn more about how long each of the different types of wine lasts.

how long does wine last after opening

How Long Does an Unopened Bottle of Wine Last?

You may often hear that wine gets better with age, but wine has an expiration date like all other food and beverage products. The expiration date will depend mainly on the type of wine it is. Keep in mind that these lifespans are for bottles of wine that have yet to be opened.

As a general rule, darker wine has a longer lifespan. A fine wine can last anywhere from 10-20 years. Cooking wine is usually suitable for three to five years. Cheaper red wine is good for two to three years, while white wine is only good for one to two years.

If your unopened bottle of wine is past its expiration date, it may still be good. An expired wine can last anywhere from one to five years after the date on the bottle. If the wine doesn’t have an expiration date, you can check the vintage date, which is used to determine the expiration date.

How Long Does a Bottle of Wine Last After It’s Opened?

Once you’ve opened a bottle of wine, you have a limited time to drink it before it goes bad. As with when it’s unopened, lighter wines will go bad quicker than red wines. You have anywhere from one day to three weeks, depending on the type of wine you’re drinking.

An inexpensive, sparkling wine will only last one to two days, so it’s best to drink it as soon as it’s opened. Lighter wines and rosés, including richer white wines, typically last between three to five days, so you should try to drink within a few days of opening. Red wine and dessert wine can last anywhere from three days to a week. Port has the most extended lifespan, lasting anywhere from one to three weeks.

How to Tell if Your Wine Has Gone Bad

There are several different tells when a bottle of wine has gone bad. One of the most significant changes you’ll notice is the smell. It may smell moldy or musty, or you may detect a hint of vinegar or raisin. 

If you’re drinking red wine or port, it may taste exceptionally sweet, a sign that it’s gone bad. If your red wine has turned a brown color, that’s another signal. You should also check the cork. If it looks like it’s been pushed up some, then the wine likely overheated and turned sour.

The spoiled wine may have more of a chemical taste instead of its usual fruity flavor. If you have a still wine yet it tastes fizzy, then it’s likely gone through another fermentation and is no longer suitable for drinking. 

how long does wine last after opening

What Causes Wine to Go Bad?

Wine typically goes bad when it’s exposed to too much oxygen. When a wine is first exposed to oxygen, the reaction can bring out the wine’s flavors. This process is why you’ll often see wine aficionados swirling their wine around their glass before drinking. You may also notice that some wine glasses are larger for this reason. It’s all an attempt to get more oxygen to the wine.

However, over time, too much oxygen becomes a bad thing. After a day or two, the oxidation process begins to set in, and before you know it, the wine has become vinegar. 

There are other ways wine can go bad as well. Poor bottling can lead to issues with your wine, as can exposure to bacteria. Over time, wine may even undergo a second fermentation.

Can You Get Sick from Drinking Bad Wine?

If you take a little sip of your wine to see if it’s gone bad, it shouldn’t be harmful. However, you don’t want to drink too much spoiled wine. In most cases, exposure to too much oxygen causes wine to go bad. While this exposure can give the wine an awful taste, it won’t do anything to you.

However, it’s possible for bacteria to grow in wine, and the yeast quantity can increase to unsafe levels. If there’s bacterial growth in your wine, you can suffer from food poisoning. You may experience nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, upset stomach, and fever. It’s best to avoid drinking bad wine since there’s a chance you can get sick.

How to Lengthen Your Wine’s Lifespan

You can lengthen your wine’s lifespan before opening it by storing it somewhere cool and dark. Make sure to store the bottle on its side to keep the cork from drying out and spoiling the wine.

Once you’ve opened a bottle of wine, try to keep it out of direct light. Store it in a refrigerator once you’ve poured a glass. If you’re serious about your wine, you may want to consider a wine refrigerator, as it’ll keep your wine cold enough to keep it fresh but not as cold as a regular refrigerator.

A vacuum pump can help remove the air from your wine bottle. You can also store your leftover wine in a smaller bottle, as there’s less room for air to get to it. Inert gas can help remove the oxygen. Be sure to use a wine stopper if you happen to lose your cork and insert a wine shield to reduce the amount of air that can touch the wine.

how long does wine last after opening

Final Thoughts

Wine does have an expiration date, although an unopened bottle can last much longer than most other foods or beverages. Storing your unopened wine properly can ensure that it lasts as long as possible.

Opened wine does tend to spoil within the first week. It’s best to drink it in the first few days after opening and keep it refrigerated to prevent it from going bad even sooner. Always cork your wine as soon as possible.

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