Q: How long does wine last after it’s opened?
And… does wine go bad?
Answer: It depends on the type of wine and how well the wine is stored. Fortified wines can last open for up to a month, but most table wines last only about 3–5 days before spoiling.
Don’t worry though, spoiled wine is essentially just vinegar, so it’s not going to harm you. Here’s how long different styles of wine last open.
How Long Does an Open Bottle of Wine Last?
- 1–3 days in the fridge with a sparkling wine stopper Sparkling wines lose their carbonation quickly after opening. A traditional method sparkling wine, such as Cava or Champagne, will last a little longer than a tank method sparkling wine like Prosecco. The traditional method wines have more atmospheres of pressure (more bubbles) in them when they’re bottled, which is why they tend to last longer.
Light White, Sweet White and Rosé Wine
- 5–7 days in fridge with a cork Most light white and rosé wines will be drinkable for up to a week when stored in your refrigerator. You’ll notice the taste will change subtly after the first day, as the wine oxidizes. The overall fruit character of the wine will often diminish, becoming less vibrant.
Full-Bodied White Wine
- 3–5 days in fridge with a cork Full-bodied white wines, like oaked Chardonnay and Viognier, tend to oxidize more quickly because they saw more oxygen during their pre-bottling aging process. Be certain to always keep them corked and in the fridge. If you drink a lot of this type of wine, it’s a really smart idea to invest in vacuum caps.
- 3–5 days in a cool dark place with a cork The more tannin and acidity the red wine has, the longer it tends to last after opening. So, a light red with very little tannin, such as Pinot Noir, won’t last open as long as a rich red like Petite Sirah. Some wines will even improve after the first day open. Store open red wines in a chiller or a dark cool place after opening them. If you don’t have a chiller, your fridge is better than letting the wine sit out in a 70°F (21°C) room.
- 28 days in a cool dark place with a cork Fortified wines like Port, Sherry, and Marsala have very long shelf lives because of the addition of brandy. While these wines do look marvelous displayed on a high shelf, they will lose their vibrant flavors more quickly from exposure to light and heat. The only wines which will keep forever when open are Madeira and Marsala–they’re already oxidized and cooked! Just so you know,the sweeter the dessert wine, the longer it will last open. The same temperature-based rules apply here: best to keep them stored in the fridge.
2–3 weeks stored in the fridge (red and white wine) Bag-in-a-Box is a wonderful thing for daily drinkers, since the bag is an anaerobic environment. A few producers even have decent-tasting box wines without any flaws. Still, you’ll won’t want to keep these wines for longer than a month because box wines have expiration dates, due to regulations on food stored in plastics.
Follow the same rules for bottled wines.
Why Wine Goes Bad
Short Answer: Wines stored after opening can go bad in two major ways. The first way is when acetic acid bacteria consumes the alcohol in wine and metabolizes it into acetic acid and acetaldehyde. This causes the wine to have a sharp, vinegar-like smell. Additionally, the alcohol can oxidize, causing a nutty, bruised fruit taste, that robs the wine of fresh, fruity flavors. These are both chemical reactions, and so the lower the temperature you keep a wine, the more slowly this will happen.