Grape Tips Thursday – September 17, 2015: How Long Will A Bottle of Wine Last Once Opened?

This Week In Wine 101: How Long Will An Open Bottle of Wine Last?

Have you ever had a group of friends over for a soiree and as the evening progressed you opened one delicious bottle of wine after another and before you knew it the night had come to an end, leaving you with more than your fair share of opened wines? As you start to contemplate whether or not you could turn on a good flick or watch the sports channel and polish of each bottle, you remember you’ve got work, errands and well, responsibilities. So, why not save the wines for tomorrow or the day after? But then you begin to wonder, “How long will these wines last since they’ve already been opened?”


Well, Oxygen has two very distinct effects on wine once a bottle has been opened:

02 Release: It begins its by unlocking the sensual perfumes and aromas of a wine, appealing to our senses delight.

Over Oxygenate: However, when a wine receives too much oxygen (over time), all of its finest qualities and flavors quickly begin to fade, leaving a vinegary, musty or moldy scent that is extremely off-putting.


How To Make A Bottle of Wine Last Longer

So, how long will a wine last after it has been opened? Once you decide that you or your party cannot finish a wine, whether red or white, put the cork back into the bottle and store it in the refrigerator. The cool temperature of the refrigerator will slow the wines ageing process and suppress the aromas, giving you one or two extra days to enjoy your wine before it begins to “turn” or spoil.

Grape Note #1: Most red, white and rose wines will last a couple of days. But there are some exceptions for the darker full-bodied wines. For example, because of their high tannin levels, younger Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec and red wine blends, are able to last an extra 2 – 3 days.

Grape Note #2: Whereas, lighter wines, like Pinot Noir, Sauvignon Blanc, Rieslings and rose wines, will last only for two days, maybe three tops. After the first day or two these wines start to lose their flavor and aromas rather quickly. With sparkling white wines or champagnes, because of the carbonation you’re looking at a day before it goes completely flat.

Grape Note #3: However, there are exceptions. Fortified port, dessert and sherry wines are not as delicate or vulnerable to oxygen as other wines. This is due to the high content of sugar and alcohol. These types of wines can be enjoyed two to even three weeks after they’ve been opened.


Wine Accessories

Fortunately, there are tools available to help you prolong the life of your wines in the event you aren’t able to finish a bottle and you’d prefer not to waste your vino.

Wine Tool #1: Add an inert gas. Costing only a few dollars, online merchants, retailers and liquor stores offer nitrogen or argon to effectively remove the oxygen. Plus, they only cost a few dollars and can help your wine last 3 -4 days instead of two.

Wine Tool #2: Use a wine pump. A wine air pump is a great investment that sucks the air from the bottle, giving you more leeway to enjoy your wine.


Wine Pump


To give you a better understanding of how long a wine will last, here are some examples of varietals and with the number of days you have to enjoy them before they spoil.

Note: After opening, wines should be refrigerated and de-oxygenated when not finished. If your wine has a screw top, make sure to tightly seal the top. The number of days a wine will last also depends on the individual palate.


Types of Wine

Full-bodied red wines: will last 2 – 3 days, however with an air pump can last up to 5 days. These wines include: Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec, Blends (e.g. Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Merlot), Syrah/Shiraz, Carmenere and Zinfandels.

Medium-bodied red wines: will last 2 – 3 days, however with an air pump or other device these wines can last 4 maybe 5 days after its been opened. Examples: Merlot, Grenache, Chianti, Beaujolais Nouveau, and Cabernet Franc.

Light-bodied red wines: will last 2 – 3 days too, however with an air pump or other device can last 4 days maybe 5 after its been opened. These wines include: Grenache, Pinot Noir, Gamay, Sangiovese, Tempranillo.

Rose wines: will last 1 – 2 days possible three with an air pump.

White wines: will last 1 – 2 days possible three with an air pump.

Champagne & Sparkling white wines: will last a day.

Port, Dessert or Sherry wines: will last 1 – 3 ½ weeks after they’ve been opened. No air pump was needed.


So if you find yourself unable to finish a bottle of wine don’t fret. Depending on the varietal, you have a couple of days to finish it and still enjoy its flavors. Just remember, if you choose to store a red wine in the refrigerator for preservation, remember to take it out and let it sit for 15 – 20 minutes before you serve it. If you have a decanter this will also help improve the wine’s flavors as well as help open up its bouquets again. Also, try to invest in tools like an air pump or inert gas to help you prolong the life of your wines. These gadgets are very affordable and will give you a return on your investments. Salud!


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