How Long Does Open Wine Last?

Didn’t quite finish the bottle? Here’s our recommendations on how long wine will last after opening. And tips to make it last longer.

At some point, every wine drinker has held their nose over an open bottle of days-old wine and wondered, “is this still good?” But the answer to that question isn’t a simple one. There are a number of factors at play: the type of wine, how it was stored, and even how much is left in the bottle. 

While every wine is different, there are some general guidelines to follow that will help slow down the ageing process before it goes bad. The main chemical reaction that happens to open wine is oxidation. Once the wine's open you expose it to oxygen. It will start reacting just like, for example, if you left a piece of apple outside. The apple will turn brown after a certain time.

But isn’t oxygen good for wine? Aren’t we meant to let our wine breathe and swirl the glass to open up the flavours? Yes and no. A little bit of air is what's recommended to freshen up the wine. Oxidation, however, is when the wine has been overexposed and the oxygen starts to harm or overpower the beautiful aromatics and flavours of the wine.

How Long Will Open Wine Last?

According to experts, open white wine and rosé will last roughly three to five days if kept refrigerated. Sparkling wine is more like one to two days, but invest in a proper sparkling bottle stopper to save bubble loss. An open red wine, if closed immediately and kept in a cool dark place, lasts four to five days in winter but in summer it’s more like two or three days. And finally, the last category to consider is natural or orange wine. Since a lot of these wines are lo-fi with minimal intervention they’re best finished on the day they’re opened.

How to Store Open Wine

To make your open bottle of wine last longer you have to fight off oxidation. For chilled wines like white, sparkling, or rosé, the key is to seal the bottles as soon as you can and pop them straight back in the fridge. That way there's temperature control, there's no light exposed to the bottle, and you're limiting the amount of oxygen that interacts with the wine. For red wines the same rule about sealing it ASAP still applies, however they don't necessarily need the fridge — a cool dark spot will be fine.

Tips to Make Open Wine Last Longer

Keeping a wine sealed is the most important step in fighting oxidation. Investing in a bottle stopper with a good seal will help keep air out of open bottles. Unfortunately the old trick of putting a teaspoon in the neck of an open bottle of sparkling will do nothing to preserve its lifespan. Instead, save those precious bubbles with a proper sparkling stopper. 

A favourite hacks is to transfer leftover wine into a smaller bottle to reduce the surface area exposed to air. A standard wine bottle is 750mL but some wines are available in 375mL half-bottles. Keeping an empty half-bottle on hand means you’ll have the perfect vessel to transfer leftover wine into. 

How to Tell When Your Wine Has Gone Bad (and when to pour it down the sink...)

The best way to find out if your wine has gone bad is by smelling it. You’ll know when something’s not right, the first sign is dullness and a lack of flavour. When you smell, you kind of get a musty fruit smell. Almost like if you cut a piece of fruit, left it out, and it started rotting.

Is there any way to save wine that’s gone bad? Sadly no, there’s really not. RIP.