How Long Does an Open Bottle of Wine Last?

Here’s how to know if that opened wine is past its prime.

Article suggested by Juan L. Colaiacovo

glass of wine with dinner is a wonderful thing, but if you only indulge in a glass or two, you’re bound to have a good part of the bottle leftover. While leftovers can be wonderful, wine does have an extremely limited shelf life. According to Mary Catherine Edmondson, Wine Director at Lutie’s and Commodore Perry Estate in Austin, Texas, there’s a good reason.

“Once opened and exposed to the air, wine begins to oxidize, just like fruit would,” she says. “Picture an apple that’s been cut open and left behind on the kitchen counter. It loses its vibrancy, its color, and its jazz.”

She explains that in technical terms this means acetaldehyde is converting to acetic acid, which essentially turns the wine into vinegar. The good news, however, is that this process takes a while and you’ll definitely notice when it’s happened. So does this mean you should get rid of your wine if you don’t finish the bottle the next day? Thankfully, the answer is no. This is what you need to know about how long an open bottle of wine will actually last.

How Long Does Wine Last After Opening?

According to Edmondson, there isn’t a hard and fast rule about how long an open bottle of wine will last.

“Several factors affect this, including how full the bottle is (remember more oxygen = faster aging), how old the wine was before you opened it (wines with considerable age are already more delicate), and how much sulfur is in the wine,” she shares. “Natural wines, ones with no sulfur, typically go bad much faster. Sulfur is a stabilizer and preserves freshness once the wine is open.”

When you take all of these factors into consideration, Edmondson says it’s best to consume open wine within 24 to 48 hours. She adds that the same rule applies to both red and white wine.

How Can You Make an Open Bottle Last as Long as Possible?

Since the quality of wine deteriorates when it interacts with the air, the best way to preserve your wine is simply to put the cork or a reusable stopper back in to keep as much oxygen out as possible.

How Do You Know When Your Wine Has Gone Bad?

Let your senses guide you if you’re not sure if your wine has been opened too long.

“Once the wine hits peak aroma and taste, it will slowly start to decline,” Edmondson explains. “The nose may become muted first and then the taste less intense. The delicate florals and fruit seem to fade first so the wine may start to taste more alcoholic, more tannic, or more bitter.”

Eventually, the wine will actually begin to turn bad. If your wine has gone sour or no longer tastes enjoyable, it’s technically still safe to drink. However, as Edmondson puts it, life is short, so don’t drink anything that tastes bad. We couldn’t agree more.


This is supposed to be funny…


About Cecilio Augusto Berndsen

Information Technology, Management, Project Management and Public Administration are areas I am familiar with. I am also interested in photography, wine, sailing, politics, economics, and economic development.
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