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How Long Can you Keep an Opened Bottle of Wine?

How to store opened wine without it going bad depends on the type of wine and how you store it. The graphic below breaks it down. Generally, the lighter the wine, the faster it goes bad. Tannins in wine help preserve them as does alcohol—which is why robust reds and fortified wines last longest. Richly sweet dessert wines will also stay fresh longer than dry varietals.

The Silver Fox go-to method of slowing down the spoilage of opened wine both red and white is to decant it into as small a container as possible and stick it in the fridge. The Silver Fox keeps a few empty half-bottles (375ml) and their corks handy for this, but any old jar will do (just make sure it doesn’t still smell like kimchee or barbecue sauce or whatever you last had in your fridge). Presto! This step roughly doubles the shelf life of wine.

“Even reds?” you’re asking. Yes, even reds. The bacteria that turn wine into vinegar (acetic acid, to wine chemistry geeks) feed on oxygen. By exposing the wine to less oxygen, you’re starving the bacteria and slowing down spoilage. They also multiply like crazy at room temperature, so chilling the wine keeps their party to a dull roar.

Of course, there are lots of gadgets out there claiming to preserve wine, ranging from plastic vacuum pumps to spray cans of nonreactive gas. In my experience, with one giant exception, none of these make a huge difference. I recommend that, if you do pump or gas your wine, you also store it in the fridge.

Remember: It can be tricky to decipher whether a bottle has gone bad from something that just isn’t your taste. At the end of the day, if the smell and taste aren’t to your liking, listen to your senses. This could be due to a poor pairing or perhaps the type of wine and where it’s from just isn’t pleasing your palate.

At the end of the day, the best wine in the world is the ONE YOU LIKE.

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