How long does red wine last after you’ve uncorked a bottle?
You opened a bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon with dinner, and at the end of the night, you still have half the bottle left.
But, how long does red wine last after opening? How will you know if it has gone bad?
What’s the best way to store wine to protect its taste and value in the long run?
In this article, find out the best way to see if an old wine has gone bad, how long different red wines last after opening, and the perfect storage conditions for opened and unopened bottles.
This Article Covers:
(Click on the section below to jump to it)
- How Long Can An Opened Bottle Of Red Wine Last?
- What happens to red wine after you uncork it?
- How long does red wine last after opening?
- How To Store An Opened Bottle Of Red Wine
- How Would You Know If A Wine Has Gone Bad?
- Health Concerns About Drinking Bad Wine
- What Is The Drinking Window For Wine?
- How Long Can Unopened Red Wine Be Stored For
- Buy And Store Your Red Wines Perfectly Through Vinovest
How Long Can An Opened Bottle Of Red Wine Last?
An opened red wine typically lasts for 3 to 6 days if you place it in a cool, dark space with a cork or a wine stopper. If you don’t have a cool, dark space for your leftover wine, you can keep it in the fridge. (We will discuss refrigerating red wine later.)
Lost the cork or don’t have an extra stopper? Grab some plastic wrap and seal it tightly with a rubber band.
What happens to red wine after you uncork it?
When you uncork that bottle of wine, it’s exposed to a rush of oxygen. Naturally, your opened wine begins to evolve and age faster. That’s when your opened wine will start losing its aromas and flavors much quicker.
How long red wine can stay fresh after opening depends on its alcohol content, the body of the wine, and the tannin levels.
Let’s see how long the different types of red wines stay drinkable after opening - of course, when stored in a cool place out of direct light.
- Light Reds
An opened bottle of light red wine (like Barbera, Grenache, and Pinot Noir) stays fresh for 2 - 3 days. Light reds have a lower alcohol content (12.5% or less) and a small amount of tannins. So the wine's flavour and aroma won't last as long when compared to a medium or full-bodied red wine.
- Medium Reds
Medium reds like Merlot, Nebbiolo, and Shiraz last for 3 - 5 days after opening due to their higher tannin level and an alcohol content between 12.5% and 13.5%.
- Full-bodied reds
Open full bodied red wine (like Zinfandel, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah/Shiraz) can maintain their flavor and stay fresh for 4 - 6 days. This is due to the amount of alcohol (13.5% or more) and tannins in the wine.
Want to learn more about French wines and the most famous French wine regions? Check out these articles:
How Long Do Other Wines Last After Opening?
- White Wine
White wine stays drinkable for 3 - 5 days when kept corked in a fridge. Full-bodied white wine like Viognier, Montrachet wines, Pinot Grigio, and oaked Chardonnay will oxidize quicker than red wines because they were exposed to more oxygen during their aging process before being bottled.
- Sparkling wine
Opened sparkling wine lasts for 1 - 3 days when kept corked in a fridge.
Unfortunately, sparkling wines like Champagne, Prosecco, and the sparkling dessert wine Asti Spumante have a very small lifespan. Mainly because once you open the bottle, the pressure that keeps the bubbles flowing disappears. You can keep the fizz in your sparkling wine by buying a stopper like the Sparkline Wine Stopper.
- Fortified wine
Port, Sherry, and other fortified wines can stay open for 28 days when kept corked in a cool dark place. They have a longer lifespan because of the added brandy. Although these bottles look amazing on your shelves, the exposure to light and heat will make them lose their vibrant flavors.
- Rose wine
Keep your opened rose wine for 5 - 7 days corked in a fridge. You may notice a subtle change in taste, and the fruity character of the wine will slowly disappear after a week.
Now, what’s the best way to preserve the taste of an opened bottle?
How To Store An Opened Bottle Of Red Wine?
It's very important that you close an open bottle with a screw cap, stopper or bottle stopper after you’ve poured yourself that glass of Pinot Noir. It helps it stay “fresher” for longer.
Make sure you get the best out of an opened bottle of red wine by storing it in a cool dark place.
Another easy way to minimize the oxygenation is to decant the bottle into a smaller bottle and seal it. This will decrease the amount of oxygen in the bottle that the wine will come into contact with.
Can you refrigerate or freeze red wine after opening it?
Yes, you can.
When you put an open bottle of red wine in a fridge, you are storing it at a controlled temperature, and it will be in a dark place. The colder temperature will also slow down the oxygenation.
If you don’t have a chiller or a wine refrigerator and live in a country with higher temperatures, storing a corked unfinished bottle of red wine in the fridge will work as well. Just make sure you take it out of the fridge an hour to get it to room temperature before serving it.
Leftover wine can last six months in the freezer and is great if you want to add wine to any cooking recipes at a later stage.
Now, are you still wondering if that half bottle of Merlot from three days ago is still ok for another glass or two?
How Would You Know If An Open Wine Has Gone Bad?
Pour a little bit in your glass and look for these three things:
- Color of the wine
Has your wine lost a bit of color or gained a brown edge tinge?
The wine changes color because of the higher levels of acetic acid (also known as vinegar taint) from the fermentation, or the spoilage of wine. So, if your wine looks unappetizing, it probably is.
- What does it smell like?
Have the fruity aromas gone? Are you smelling sharp notes of vinegar?
It may be too late. If the smell brings back bad memories from the past, perhaps you should not drink the wine.
- Finally - the taste
If the wine has passed your look and smell test, move onto the final test - how does it taste?
Wine past its storage date is not toxic. If a wine has turned bad, the worst it will do is give your tastebuds a shock.
With that said, some enjoy a glass of red from a that was opened a week ago, while others just cannot stand the smell or. It is entirely dependent on what you enjoy.
But is drinking “bad” wine bad for your health?
Health Concerns About Drinking Bad Wine
Unlike the leftover roast chicken left in your fridge from a week ago, older wines are not harmful to consume. Your bottle of wine will have lost its flavor, taste, and vibrance, but it is completely up to your palate whether or not you enjoy it.
Wine does not have an expiration date. It is not like a bottle of milk which should be thrown away after the expiration date. Wine ages slowly, and it will continue to age if it is stored correctly.
If you have a suspicious opened bottle of wine sitting in your fridge - take it through the three-step test we discussed earlier - if it fails all three, it’s time to say goodbye.
So when should you open and drink your favorite bottle of wine?
What Is The Drinking Window For Wine?
Wine experts and critics reviews will give you a period when they think the wine will be at its peak age - their drinking window.
When it comes to the drinking window for any type of wine, you need to consider how the wine has been stored since it has been bought.
Fine red wines (Cabernet or Merlot) will need some time to evolve into their full character before they are ready to be opened. Open it too early, all you will taste are the tannins. Wait too long, and the fruity flavor you were looking forward to will vanish.
Drinking windows are not set in stone, but you should rather use it as a general guide when you are buying or storing your next bottle of red wine.
How Long Can Unopened Red Wine Be Stored For?
Wines go through many different processes before they are bottled, so it is difficult to give an exact date when it will “die”.
In optimal storage conditions, most red wines have a shelf life of 2–10 years. This is also dependent on the levels of acid, sugar, and tannins in the wine.
Tannins are the compounds that help protect the wine from oxygenation and will help with the ageability of the wine. Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah/Shiraz, and Nebbiolo are some of the red wine varieties that naturally have higher levels of tannin.
Some red wines are bottled to be stored for longer than others. Unlike wines like Beaujolais, bolder red wines like Cabernet Franc, Merlot, and Super Tuscans will easily cellar for 10-20 years.
Some high quality bottles of Cabernet Sauvignon, Amarone, Brunello di Montalcino, Barolo, and red Bordeaux can age well for more than 20 years.
Storage conditions for unopened wine (including Red Wine)
Wine can be very sensitive to many outside factors. In order to make your wine live to its fullest, you need to make sure it is being stored in the right conditions.
These are just some of the storage conditions you need to take into account:
- Light: Compounds in wine react to sunlight or artificial light that is too bright, and this will spoil your wine before you have a chance to think about opening it.
- Temperature: If it’s too warm, your wine will age faster. Too cold, and the wine will freeze.
- Vibration: Even the smallest vibration can cause chaos in a bottle of wine. This will stir the sediments, which will make your wine lose its aroma or make it too sweet.
- Humidity: If the cork dries out, more oxygen will make its way into the bottle of wine. If it is too humid, mold will form on the cork, and that will lead to wine spoilage.
How to store unopened wine
In order to make sure your red wine stays safe and drinkable, you need to store your unopened bottles of red wine correctly.
- Wine rack
In places with cooler temperatures, wine racks are the most convenient way to store your wine horizontally. This ensures that each bottle is as airtight as possible.
- Wine fridge
In warmer regions, refrigerating your wine in a wine fridge or cabinet will keep the temperature stable and help your wine age properly.
- Wine cellar
If you’re a wine collector and want to store a few hundred bottles of wine at home, the best idea would be to install a wine cellar or a modified wine room. However, this option is very expensive.
- Professional wine storage facility
An easier option would be to take advantage of professional wine storage facilities instead of spending a lot to build a cellar in your own house which is tough to expand as you grow your wine collection!
These professional facilities are built to look after your wine under perfect storage conditions, with insurance, and a team of experts to make sure everything is safe.
What’s even better? Professional wine investing companies like Vinovest let you buy wines and store them impeccably well for years.
Let’s see how it works.
Buy And Store Your Red Wines Perfectly Through Vinovest
Vinovest offers an easy-to-use online wine investment platform through which you can buy and store your wines with no hassles.
Discover the best red wines from global vineyards, and have them delivered directly to your home, or to your seller if you want to sell it!
How it works
You can have access to all the red wine storage you need in 4 simple steps:
- Sign up (with your name, email ID, and password) on the Vinovest website.
- Complete the brief questionnaire on your investment preferences and risk appetite.
- Add a minimum of $1000 to your account.
- Track your fine wine portfolio online and watch it grow!
Benefits of buying and storing your wine through Vinovest
Vinovest buys the best red wines at wholesale prices, directly from global wine exchanges, winemakers, and merchants.
Easy buying, selling, and delivery
With Vinovest’s Artificial Intelligence (AI) online-based platform, you can buy and sell a bottle of wine with just a few clicks. Vinovest’s expert team can also help predict the best time to sell your wines at the highest prices.
You don’t even have to worry about shipping that bottle of Merlot to your home or to the person who bought it. Vinovest takes care of all the finer details for you.
Vinovest makes sure your wines are stored in perfect conditions. Temperature, humidity, pressure, and vibration are all adjusted to ensure your wine ages beautifully until you decide to drink or sell it.
Need to make space for the Pinot Noir you bought recently? Take advantage of Vinovest’s secure wine storage facilities and don’t ever worry of having to expand the expensive wine cellar you built at home!
Predicting the perfect time to open and drink your wine
Not sure when to uncork that bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon? Don't worry, Vinovest has you covered. Our Master Sommeliers will let you know of the ideal drinking window for you to start enjoying your red wine.
Insurance coverage and security
Vinovest lets you rest assured that your portfolio is being looked after 24/7. All of their storage facilities are carefully monitored by security and have power backups. Vinovest insures your wine under a comprehensive policy, protecting each bottle against breakage or loss.
Provenance and authenticity
Don’t end up with a counterfeit bottle of red wine. Vinovest will authenticate the origin of every single bottle of red wine that you are interested in before money leaves your account.
You will have access to a team of Master Sommeliers and data scientists that will help you build your red wine collection. Get a red wine portfolio that will impress everyone.
Low overall costs
Besides funding your account, you need to pay a 2.85% annual fee (2.5% for a portfolio above $50,000). This fee covers buying your wines, authentication, storing them, a full insurance policy at market value, managing your portfolio, and selling your bottle of wine. You’ll also get tax advantages as bonded warehouses don’t charge VAT and excise duty.
Each red and white wine bottle in your portfolio is 100% owned by you. That's right, every bottle of Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Zinfandel is yours!
The best way to keep your bottle of red wine fresh for longer is to store it under optimal conditions in your own cellar or in a professional wine storage facility.
But there are so many variables to consider when storing your wine yourself, including the huge costs involved in building a cellar.
Let this not take away the enjoyment of savoring your favorite bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon!
Vinovest can take care of buying, storing and selling your wines - from your lighter reds and whites to your dry red wines.
Sign up today and build a stellar wine portfolio right away!