It may shock you that wine goes bad. Especially if you always finish the bottle. Alas, wine is not Rita Moreno. So exactly how long is wine good after you open it? And, can you make it last longer?
How Long Does Wine Last After You Open It?
There’s no hard and fast rule for determining the shelf-life after you remove the cork or untwist the cap. But generally, an open bottle of wine will last between three and five days.
Wine’s decline from classy, tasty beverage into putrid swill is due to two primary factors: oxidation and bacteria.
What Causes Wine to Go Bad?
Opened wine spoils much faster than unopened wine due to oxidation and this begins when the wine encounters air. The exposure to air triggers a series of chemical reactions that convert ethanol to acetaldehyde.
Controlled oxidation will result in deep flavors fit for your finest dinner party, but overdoing it can cause wine to spoil. To keep your wine from leaving the realm of classy beverages and cruising down vinegar lane, seal your wine if you’re planning on drinking it another night.
Grapes contain two types of naturally occurring bacteria: Acetic acid and lactic acid. Yes, the same lactic acid that makes you sad during your workouts can also make you sad when you just want to sit down with a nice glass of wine.
It can produce secondary metabolites and, if left to nature’s own devices, can affect the quality of wine. After hearing that something is “spoiled due to bacteria,” it’s rare people need further justification to not put it in their mouths.
How to Make Opened Wine Last Longer
If you’d like to avoid rancid swill, throw out all of your Monster energy drinks. Then, consider the following guidelines for extending the shelf life of wine by reducing oxidation and bacteria.
1. Seal the bottle.
Sealing the bottle will help keep out bacteria and slow the spoiling process. You can use the original cork or cap, or purchase a bottle stopper.
A wine vacuum pump will also suck the air out of an open bottle, creating a near-airtight seal. This will also prevent you from spilling the wine and having to suck it from the fibers of your carpet.
If you are storing champagne or another type of sparkling wine, get a champagne stopper.
For those who are more passionate about the process of preservation, wine expert Nia Ruth has some suggestions. “There are […] a few tools you can use to ensure your open wine’s long-term freshness,” she says. “Repour Wine Savers are stoppers that keep a single bottle of wine fresh for up to two months.”
For a longer-term solution, she recommends the Coravin wine preservation system. “It uses a needle to puncture a wine’s cork and pressurized gas to dispel wine out of the bottle.”
This keeps the bottle sealed, allowing the remaining wine to stay fresh in the bottle indefinitely. We wish there were a similar product to keep our jokes fresh forever.
Alternatively, you can use plastic wrap sealed with a rubber band. But if that’s where you’re at, then you might be more inclined to just finish the bottle and go to bed.
2. Protect the wine from light.
You’ll want to keep opened wine away from the beach because direct sunlight can damage wine’s flavors and aromas. Also because small vampires live in wine bottles.
3. Decant the wine into a smaller bottle.
If you drank half a bottle, consider re-homing it into something that’s half the size. This will leave less room for oxygen in the bottle.
And although it would have a similar effect, we don’t recommend you set a fire to suck the oxygen from the room. That would undo all of your hard work controlling temperature, after all.
4. Keep your wine at a controlled temperature.
The ideal temperature for red wine is generally around 55° F. If you keep your room at this temperature year round, your electric company must love you as much as your roommates hate you.
For those who don’t want to run the AC at 55°, a cool, dark place will do. Like the wine cellar you’ve seen in all those overpriced homes on Zillow… or in a wine fridge.
How Long Do Wines Last in a Wine Fridge?
These numbers are a ballpark, but here’s how about how long each type of opened wine lasts in a wine fridge. (Red by Taylor Swift lasts forever.)
- Light red wines: Up to three days,
- Medium red wines: Up to five days
- Full-bodied red wine: Up to six days
- Rosé and light white wines: Up to five days
- Full-bodied whites: Up to five days
- Sparkling wine (champagne): Up to three days, but use a champagne stopper.
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