Opened and Unopened wine: How long does wine last?
If you’ve ever wondered whether a leftover or old bottle of wine is still OK to drink, you’re not alone.
While some things get better with age, that doesn’t necessarily apply to an opened bottle of wine.
Food and beverages do not last forever, and this holds true for wine as well.
Though unopened wine has a longer shelf life than opened wine, it can go bad.
Unopened wine can be consumed past its printed expiration date if it smells and tastes OK.
It’s important to remember that the shelf life of unopened wine depends on the type of wine, as well as how well it’s stored.
Here is a list of common types of wine and how long they will last unopened:
White wine: 1–2 years past the printed expiration date
Red wine: 2–3 years past the printed expiration date
Cooking wine: 3–5 years past the printed expiration date
Fine wine: 10–20 years, stored properly in a wine cellar
Generally, wine should be kept in cool, dark places with bottles placed on their sides to prevent the cork from drying out.
The shelf life of unopened wine can last 1–20 years depending on the type of wine.
The shelf life of an opened bottle of wine varies depending on the type. In general, lighter wines go bad a lot faster than darker varieties.
Once wine is opened, it’s exposed to more oxygen, heat, light, yeast, and bacteria, all of which can cause chemical reactions that alter the quality of the wine.
Storing wine in lower temperatures will help slow down these chemical reactions and keep opened wine fresher longer.
Here is a list of common wines and an estimation of how long they will last once they are opened:
Sparkling: 1–2 days
Light white and rosé: 4–5 days
Rich white: 3–5 days
Red wine: 3–6 days
Dessert wine: 3–7 days
Port: 1–3 weeks
The best way to store opened wine is tightly sealed in the refrigerator.
Bottles of still, or non-sparkling, wine should always be decanted prior to storing.