Storing Open Red Wine Guide

Storing Open Red Wine

It’s rare that I can’t polish off an open bottle of wine. The thought of abandoning the delicious nectar of gods and letting it go to waste is a tragedy beyond compare.

Sometimes however, I’m left with no choice but to store wine for later. So, lets learn how to best preserve wine and how long will it last.

How to Store Open Wine

Storing open wine saves money

Why Open Red Wine Goes Bad

Oxygen turns red wine into vinegar. Thus the key is to reduce the amount of oxygen touching the surface when storing open red wine. There are a few methods used to prolong shelf life, all based on minimizing exposure to oxygen either by replacing or removing the oxygen or reducing the surface area of the wine. With the necessary TLC some red wines can be stored open for up to a week.

Basics After Opening

Re-cork the wine after every glass pour. Keep the open wine bottle out of light and stored under room temperature. In most cases a refrigerator goes a long way to keeping wine fresh longer; even red wines. When stored at colder temperatures the chemical processes slow down, including the process of oxidation that takes place when wine is exposed to oxygen. Wine stored by cork inside the fridge will stay relatively fresh for up to 3-5 days. This is a good start, but I think we can do better!

Choose Wine For Any Occassion

Choose Wine For Any Occassion

Follow this funny flow chart to your next bottle of wine.

Buy Now

Freshness Tips

  • For best results, store the wine upright to minimize surface area exposed to oxygen.
  • Prevent dramatic temperature changes which can damage your wine, such as quickly going from cold to hot.
  • You can warm up a red wine bottle in luke warm water. Be careful not to use hot water, it should only be slightly warmer than room temperature.

What to Avoid When Storing Open Red Wine

  • Avoid storing on its side – it increases the surface area exposed to oxygen.
  • Don’t store by a window – because of sun exposure and discoloration.
  • Don’t store above 70 ºF – better to store open wines in the fridge!

If you don’t want to buy any wine preserving tools, consider rebottling the wine in a smaller container so that the amount of wine that touches air is reduced.

Buy a Wine Preserver

There are a few wine preservation systems available. Most of them don’t work that well, some do more harm than good, and others are just blatant rip-offs.

I’ve narrowed it down to two fundamental types: the vacuum pump wine preservation and inert wine gas preservation.


Vacuum Pump

The Affordable Option. The vacuvin might not be a perfect preservation system, but it’s a great one to use for your everyday drinkers. We’ve tested wines open for up to 2 weeks (stored in the fridge) that still tasted fresh.

The vacuvin is a great tool for the everyday wine drinker. Honestly, everyone should have one.

Buy Now

Coravin Wine Preservation system

Inert Gas Preservation

The Enthusiast Option. The Coravin was invented in 2011 but didn’t hit the marketplace for a couple of years. This device isn’t cheap (model range between $200–$400) but for the serious enthusiast, it’s quite the find. The needle pierces through the cork and extracts wine while inserting argon gas in its place. We’ve tested one for about 10 months (in variable “closet” conditions) and were surprised at the freshness of the wine.

The coravin is a great way to taste your favorite wines without opening the whole bottle.

Buy Now

Wine that has gone bad, part of Rudy Kurniawan's Collection
Red wines become brown with excessive oxidation.

Which Red Wines Go Bad The Quickest

  • Pinot Noir is one of the most sensitive red wines when exposed to air.
  • Old wine over 8-10 years – Once we drank a 10 year old pinot noir that went bad in 4 hours! PS Shame on you for not finishing a 10 year old bottle!
  • Organic wine or sulfite-free wine are typically more fragile.
  • Light colored red wine varietals including Grenache, Sangiovese, Zinfandel, Nebbiolo

The best champagne stopped - the WAF

How About Storing Sparkling Wines?

Oh lovely sparkling wine. Did you know that many people prefer day-old Champagne over freshly opened Champagne?

Letting the bubbles settle gives the wine a chance to off-gas and cuts the carbonation, rounding out the flavors. (Try it, let me know what you think!) Hopefully, it goes without saying that you shouldn’t vacuum pump sparkling wine. It will suck on your bubbles and leave a terrible void in your soul. Gross.

Champagne Stopper

Hands down, this is the best Champagne wine stopper you can buy for the price. The WAF’s patented design makes opening and closing a bottle of bubbly a one-handed operation that won’t ever pop off. Great for home or restaurant use.

It keeps wine for about 2–3 days.

Buy Now

Wine and Cheese Pairings

Wine and Cheese Pairings

Our favorite wine and cheese pairing recommendations on a beautiful print.

Buy Poster

About Madeline Puckette

James Beard Award-winning author and Wine Communicator of the Year. I co-founded Wine Folly to help people learn about wine. @WineFolly