How Long Does Wine Last?

Millions of people all over the world enjoy a glass of wine now and then. Many people take great care in selecting and storing their favorite bottles of wine because of the complexity of the drink and the wide range of flavors and aromas it can impart. However, a common concern is how long wine will keep.


In this article we will talk about: 

1. Factors that Affect the Shelf Life of Wine
2. How Long Does An Unopened Wine Last?
3. How Long Does An Opened Wine Last?
4. How to Keep Your Opened Wine Fresh
5. Signs that Wine has Spoiled
6. Tips on How to Store Wine Properly



Factors that Affect the Shelf Life of Wine


Variety, quality, storage conditions, age, and bottle closure are just some of the variables that can impact a wine's longevity. If you take the time to learn about these considerations, you can give your wine the best chance to retain its quality and flavor over the long term.


Factors that Affect the Shelf Life of Wine




When it comes to wine, different varieties age at different rates. Because of its higher tannin content, red wine usually lasts longer than white wine does. Since alcohol and sugar are preserved in fortified wines, such as Sherry and Port, they can also be stored for longer periods of time.




The wine's longevity is also influenced by its quality. Due to the superior storage and handling of high-quality wines during production, these bottles typically last longer than their lower-quality counterparts.


Storage Conditions


Wine's longevity can be greatly increased by keeping it in the correct temperature and humidity. The ideal environment for storing wine is a cellar or wine coolers, which should be kept at a constant temperature and humidity. When wine is exposed to light, heat, and changes in temperature and humidity, it quickly spoils.




Due to the gradual breakdown of their components over time, old wines typically have a shorter shelf life. Some wines, particularly those with a lot of body, like some reds, can get better with age.


Bottle Closure


Even though cork closures are the standard, they have their drawbacks. Over time, wine exposed to air in the bottle can oxidize and go bad. The use of airtight closures like screw caps and synthetic corks is on the rise.



How Long Does An Unopened Wine Last?


Red Wine


Because tannins act as a natural preservative, red wine tends to last longer than white wine. Depending on the type and how it is stored, a good red wine can last anywhere from 2 to 10 years or even longer.


Light Red Wine (Beaujolais, Pinot Noir): 2-3 years

Medium Red Wine (Merlot, Zinfandel): 4-6 years

Full-bodied Red Wine (Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah): 8-10 years or more


White Wine


White wine doesn't have tannins like red wine does, which makes it more likely to go bad. This means that white wine doesn't last as long as red wine does.


Light White Wine (Pinot Grigio, Sauvignon Blanc): 1-2 years

Full-bodied White Wine (Chardonnay, Viognier): 3-5 years


Sparkling Wine


Sparkling wines such as Champagne, Prosecco, and Cava have a similar shelf life to white wines. However, their storage requirements are more stringent due to the pressure in the bottle.


Non-vintage Sparkling Wine: 1-3 years

Vintage Sparkling Wine: 5-10 years


Fortified Wine


Fortified wines such as Sherry, Port, and Vermouth have a longer lifespan than regular wines due to their higher alcohol content and sugar levels.


Dry Sherry: 1-2 years

Sweet Sherry: 1-2 years

Port: 10-30 years

Vermouth: 1-2 months (opened), 6 months (unopened)


How Long Does An Opened Wine Last


Once a bottle of wine has been opened, it doesn't last as long. When wine is exposed to oxygen, it can quickly go bad.


Red Wine


Red wine can last 3-5 days once opened, depending on the variety and quality. A good quality red wine that has been properly stored can last up to 7 days, while a lighter or cheaper red wine may only last 2-3 days.


White Wine


White wine has a shorter lifespan once opened due to its lower tannin levels. A good quality white wine that has been properly stored can last up to 5 days, while a cheaper or lower quality white wine may only last 2-3 days.


Sparkling Wine


Sparkling wines such as Champagne and Prosecco have the shortest lifespan once opened due to their carbonation. Once opened, they should be consumed within 1-3 days.


Fortified Wine


Fortified wines such as Sherry and Port can last longer than regular wines once opened due to their higher alcohol content and sugar levels. An opened bottle of fortified wine can last up to 1 month.


How to Keep Your Opened Wine Fresh


To prolong the lifespan of an opened bottle of wine, it's best to store it in the wine fridge with an airtight stopper. This will prevent the wine from oxidizing too quickly, giving you a few extra days of enjoyment. Certain wines, like bold reds, are best served at room temperature, so keep that in mind.


Comprehensive Guide on How Long Does Wine Last


Remember that these are just general guidelines, and the shelf life of your wine may vary depending on the specific type, quality, and storage conditions. Always trust your senses when determining if your wine has gone bad, and if in doubt, it's best to err on the side of caution and not consume it.


how long does wine last 


Signs that Wine has Spoiled


Wine that has gone bad can have a distinct sour smell, unpleasant taste, cloudy appearance, and moldy cork. If you notice any of these signs, it's best to discard the wine to avoid potential health risks.




Wine that has gone bad will often have a distinct sour or vinegar-like smell. This is caused by the presence of acetic acid, which is produced when wine is exposed to air and bacteria.




Spoiled wine will also have an unpleasant taste, often described as sharp, bitter, or vinegary. If the wine tastes significantly different than when you first opened it, it may have spoiled.




Visual cues can also indicate that wine has gone bad. If you notice a cloudy or hazy appearance, or sediment at the bottom of the bottle, the wine may have spoiled. Additionally, the color of the wine may have changed, with red wines taking on a brownish hue and white wines turning yellow or brown.




If you notice mold or a foul odor on the cork, it's likely that the wine has gone bad. This can happen even if the wine itself appears to be okay.


Tips on How to Store Wine Properly


Proper storage conditions can make a significant difference in how long your wine will last.


Keep Your Wine in A Dark Place


Wine should be stored at a consistent temperature of around 55 degrees Fahrenheit (12.8 degrees Celsius). Avoid storing wine in areas that are too hot or too cold, such as in direct sunlight or in a garage or basement that's prone to temperature fluctuations.


Store Your Wine Horizontally


Wine bottles should be stored horizontally, which keeps the cork moist and prevents it from drying out. A dry cork can cause air to enter the bottle, leading to oxidation and spoiling of the wine.


Minimize Movement


Wine should be stored in a place where it won't be frequently moved or jostled. Movement can disturb the sediment in the bottle and negatively impact the taste of the wine.


Avoid Strong Odors


Wine can absorb strong odors, which can affect its taste and aroma. Avoid storing wine in areas with strong-smelling items, such as cleaning supplies or perfumes.


Invest in A Wine Fridge Or Cellar


If you're a serious wine collector, investing in a wine fridge or cellar can help you maintain consistent temperature and humidity levels. These appliances are designed specifically for wine storage and can help prolong the lifespan of your wine.




Different kinds of wine have different shelf lives, and it's important to store your wine in the right way to make it last longer. How long your wine will last also depends on its age, quality, and how the bottle is sealed.


If you open a bottle of wine, you should drink it within a few days or it will go bad. If your wine has gone bad, it will smell sour, taste bad, look cloudy, and have a moldy cork.


By storing and handling your wine the right way, you can make sure it lasts as long as possible and tastes great when you're ready to drink it. So raise a glass to wine's shelf life and cheers to enjoying your favorite bottles for years to come!


Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published