Do you have a bottle of wine that you opened and never got around to finishing? We know most wines have a pretty long shelf life. And of course, wine is great when cellared and aged, but does that still apply once the wine has been opened? Let’s find out just how long wine lasts opened, how to store opened wine and how to tell if your wine has gone bad:

How to Store Opened Wine

How Long Does Wine Last Open?

So first things first, how long does each wine last after being opened? Each wine is different and all have different shelf lives, so let’s take a look at how to store each and how long you can store them for.

How long does white wine last after being opened?

With a wine stopper/cork and placed in the fridge, your full-bodied white wine should last 3-5 days before going bad.

 

How long does red wine last after being opened?

Unlike most white wines, red wine doesn’t need to be refrigerated once opened. Your opened red wine should last up to 3-5 days if placed in a cool, dark place and if properly corked. It should also be upright, as laying opened red wine on its side will increase the rate of oxidation and cause it to go bad faster.

 

How long do fortified / dessert wines last after being opened?

This wine, usually aided by being fortified by grape spirits (brandy), has a longer shelf life once open than other wines and can last up to 28 days in the right conditions. Similar to red wine, dessert wines should be stored in a cool, dark place and corked to prevent oxidation.

 

How long does Rosé last after being opened?

The maximum life of an opened bottle of Rosé or lighter white wine is approximately 5-7 days when refrigerated. Each day the flavour profile of the wine will diminish until it’s gone bad.

 

Do all wines go bad after being opened?

Actually no! Madeira and Marsala wines never expire once they are opened as they’re already completely oxidized. So, if you’re a super slow wine drinker, these just might be the wines for you.

 

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How long will sparkling wine last after opening?

Sparkling wines, like Champagne and Prosecco, have the shortest life span once open of any wine, with a max life of 3 days on average – and that’s with being corked and refrigerated. The carbonation of sparkling wines quickly disappears once these bottles are opened. Traditional sparkling wines, such as Champagne or Cava, have a longer open bottle life than wines like Prosecco, as traditional bottling procedures actually pack more carbonation (aka bubbles) into each sealed bottle.

 

What happens to wine once it’s opened?

First, bacteria break down the alcoholic content in wine and turn it into acetic acid and acetaldehyde, which give the wine a strongly unpleasant vinegar smell. The second effect that takes place is oxidation, which creates a nut-like and rotting fruit taste which eliminates any sense of freshness or flavour profile. These chemical reactions rely on temperature and exposure, so follow the upcoming instructions to make your wine last as long as possible!

spoiled-wine-red

 

Does Wine Go Bad?

In short, yes. After being opened, the wine begins to undergo a few major changes – some faster than others.

 

How do you know if wine has gone bad?

Well, you can tell if your wine has been spoiled from a number of things, like the taste, appearance and smell.

What does spoiled wine taste like?

Once wine spoils, it essentially begins transforming into vinegar. A wine that has gone bad or has been over oxidized often has a chemical taste or a sickly sweet flavour. Sometimes the wine even develops carbonation, which means a second fermentation period has naturally occurred. If the wine is abnormally sweet, smells chemical, then your red wine has gone bad.

 

What does wine that’s gone bad look like?

If red wine goes bad, it tends to develop a brownish colour. When white wine goes bad, it turns a yellowish colour. If you’ve noticed that the cork is pushing out the bottle, then your wine has gone bad.

 

What does spoiled wine smell like?

So, you popped open your wine and thought “why does my wine smell bad?”. Well, your wine smells like vinegar, chemicals or a musty basement… then we hate to break it to you, but your wine has gone bad.

 

If you’re interested in learning more about wine, here are a few more tips and tricks to watch out for:

The Ultimate Guide to Pairing Wine With Any Type of Food
How to Cure a Wine Hangover – A Recovery Guide for Nature’s Worst Hangovers
8 Wine Drinking Games You Need to Try With Your Friends This Weekend