How Long Does Wine Last: Storage and Shelf Life
Wine is a delicacy without which one cannot imagine a fancy dinner, or any celebration for that matter. While many of us know our wines and which dishes to pair it up with, how many of us know how to store it properly? The shelf life of wine depends on many factors including its label, age, method of preparation and storing method.
Most budget wines are not made to be stored for a long period of time. The wines in your local stores are prepared to be consumed soon after the purchase while the bottle is still fresh and young. Laws of nature states everything must perish and your fancy bottle of wine is no exception. So if this has got you wondering how long will your favorite bottle of wine last, read on!
How Long Does Wine Last Once Opened
Bottled wine can last years and beyond any expiry date if it’s unopened. But once you open it, the countdown begins. If you cannot finish a bottle in one sitting, refrigeration is a good idea. White wine can be kept in the fridge for a few days while the red wine might last for a few weeks if the cork is sealed properly.
The wine has to be kept in an upright position if you want to store it in the fridge. Most of the table wines only last for 3-5 days before they start to deteriorate. But don’t worry; if you’re wondering whether bad wines can make you sick, know that spoiled wine is vinegar and therefore won’t do much harm. However, it is always a better idea to finish it as early as possible.
Different Wines and Their Longevity
- Sparkling Wine
Sparkling wines tend to lose their carbonate after 1-3 days of refrigeration. Although you might notice that Prosecco doesn’t usually last longer Cava and Champagne will last longer because of its traditional method. This is only because the traditional method has more atmospheric pressure which helps it to last longer.
- Light White, Sweet White, and Rose Wine
These wines can be kept in the fridge for 5-7 days but there will be a subtle change when the fruit character will become less vibrant after day one. This happens as the wine oxidizes.
- Full-Bodied White Wine
Oaked Chardonnay and Viognier can be kept in the refrigerator for 3-5 days with a cork. They are oxidized very quickly so they must be corked before keeping them in the fridge.
- Red Wine
It is a wise idea to store opened red wine in a cool dark place after opening. It’s better to store them in the chiller but you can also refrigerate it for 3-5 days. However, the room temperature should be 70°F (21°C).
- Fortified Wine
Port, Sherry, Marsala – these wines can last the longest if stored in a cool dry place. They have a long shelf life of about 28 days. However, they lose their flavors if they’re exposed to heat and light.
How Long Does Wine Last Once Unopened?
The two important factors behind answering this question lasts in the type of wine and its storage conditions. But usually, the unopened bottles of wine lasts a lot longer than the opened ones.
Wines are made to last longer but you have to maintain precautions as well. During the production of wine, the grapes are fermented into wine. Then yeast is added to it to break the sugar level and convert it to alcohol, and this helps to preserve the wine. With a lower sugar content, bacteria don’t feed as much and therefore the spoiling process slows down.
This form of preservations helps to keep wine fresh and new even after long months in a ship’s hold. But eventually, there will be a time when the wine will finally spoil.
Estimated Shelf Life of Unopened Wine Bottles:
- White wine: 1-2 years past the expiry date
- Red wine: 2-3 years past the expiry date
- Cooking wine: 3-5 years past the expiry date
- Fine wine: 10-20 years past the expiry date
How to Store Wine and Extend Its Shelf Life
If you’re having a hard time storing wine then you can try out the following steps:
- A wine cellar can be used to store wine. Make sure your cellar is a cool, dark place set at a temperature of 50-55°F (13°C).
- Do not store wine above your refrigerator, under your stove or next to the dishwasher as the wine will be heated if these appliances are used.
- To keep the cork moist, wines can be stored horizontally. This preserves the sealing and it also prevents air from entering into the bottle. It will also prevent the cork from drying and crumbling upon opening.
- If the wine is opened then it should be kept in the refrigerator to keep it fresh for days.
Recorking wine is another common practice to increase a wine’s shelf life. Over time the cork deteriorates and loses their elasticity. The corks will not be held with a tight seal, letting air into the bottle which causes the wine to evaporate. This evaporation will add oxygen into the wine and will kill it over time.
This recorking process is very simple and easy. Wines are kept in the cellar to allow the sediments to drift to the bottom of the bottle. The bottles are then cleaned properly. The cork is removed using a recorking machine. The wine will then be coated with a layer of nitrogen which will prevent additional oxygen from entering the wine.
Next, the cork will be checked thoroughly. The bottle will be rejected if they detect any fault or if feel that the wine is not quite sound. The bottle can be changed and new cork will be reinserted completing the recorking process.
So, if you’re someone who loves wine, instead of worrying too much, wine a little and laugh a lot because this article will have your back in preserving and storing wine!
- How Long Does Wine Actually Last After It’s Opened? – Bon Appetit
- Here’s How Long Wine Really Lasts Once It’s Been Opened – Huff Post