How Long Does Open Wine Last?

How long will that open bottle last? We have the answer, plus a few tricks to keep your vino tasting fresh after you've popped the cork.

Love a glass of wine with dinner? So do we! But if you don’t plan to polish off the whole bottle in a single night, you’ll be setting it aside for later in the week. This leads to a burning question: How long does open wine last?

We’ll break down the ins and outs of how long wine stays fresh and share tips for the right way to store a bottle of wine once you’ve opened it.

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How long does an open bottle of wine last?

The short answer is anywhere from one to seven days. The long answer is more complicated. After wine is opened, it begins to oxidize and lose its aromas and flavors. Yes, a little air contact can be an excellent thing—this is why we swirl our wine in the glass before sipping—but too much oxygen leads to spoilage. After a few days of mingling with air, the color starts changing and the aromas rising from your glass can range from bruised tree fruits to purest vinegar.

The exact lifespan of your open wine depends on a few factors: how you store it, whether it’s red or white, in a bottle or box, and if it’s dry or sweet. Take sparkling wines—they’ll last only one to three days and will quickly lose their fizz, whereas a fortified dessert wine like port or Madeira will be delicious even after a few weeks.

How long does red wine last opened?

You’ll want to drink the rest of your red within three to five days of popping the cork. The tannins in red wine can help preserve it. The more tannins in the wine, the longer the wine might last, assuming you store the bottle properly (resealed, in the fridge). For example, a Barolo, a wine made from the high-tannin Nebbiolo grape, will hold up better than a Beaujolais, a red crafted from the typically low-tannin gamay.

Read up on red wine types to get an idea of how long your wine will stay drinkable.

How long does white wine last opened?

White wines stay good for three days to a week. Richer, full-bodied styles like oaked chardonnay, white Rioja and white Rhone wines have a shorter lifespan than their light-bodied white and rosé counterparts, in the neighborhood of three to five days. Your light, bright white wines can be enjoyed for about five days to a week, but don’t be surprised if they start to lose some of their character as the days go by.

If the wine has lost some of its flavor but hasn’t completely gone off, consider cooking with it instead.

How long does boxed wine last opened?

If you’re a glass-or-two-of-wine-a-week type, you may want to consider exploring the world of boxed wine. Boxed wines have a much longer shelf life compared with bottled wines, once opened. Thanks to the airtight bag-in-a-box format, the wine will stay fresh for five to six weeks after you’ve cracked the tap.

How to make open wine last longer

There are a couple of tricks you can use to extend your open wine’s shelf life. It all starts while you’re drinking.

  • After pouring yourself a glass of wine, go ahead and recork it straight away. Even if you go back for another glass later in the evening, reducing the wine’s exposure to air helps keep it fresh.
  • Opt for a vacuum stopper. These handy gadgets suck out the air from your open bottle of wine, helping to slow down the rate of oxidation. Plus, they’re cheap and easy to use.
  • Whether you’ve opened up a bottle of red or white, stash the leftovers in the fridge. Refrigerating wine helps keep it fresh after the bottle has been opened. And don’t forget to keep the bottle upright! For reds, bring the bottle back out about half an hour before you plan on finishing it off so it can come back up to room temperature.
  • Buying half bottles is another brilliant way to reduce potential wine wastage (because we can all agree, being forced to throw out spoiled wine is nothing short of a travesty—even a simple bottle of Two Buck Chuck).
  • If worse comes to worst, you can use that forgotten bottle in the back of your fridge for cooking—there are plenty of fantastic recipes that call for a splash of wine.

Taste of Home
Originally Published on Taste of Home

Camille Berry
Camille Berry is a food and drinks writer who divides her time between her native San Francisco and the U.K. Her work has appeared on Wine Folly, Vinepair and The Back Label, in Spirited Virginia Magazine and many other websites and publications.

Part of the third generation in a family of restaurateurs, Camille was practically born with a passion for cooking and food. She embarked on a career in hospitality, where she excelled as a sommelier and wine director at several of San Francisco's most well-loved restaurants. This hospitality experience has endowed her with a wealth of firsthand knowledge of various cuisines, how to pair all manner of drinks with food, and entertaining—plus some serious kitchen skills. She is both a Certified Sommelier through the Court of Master Sommeliers and a Certified Wine Specialist through the Society of Wine Educators.