How Long Does Wine Last after opening?
While drinking wine can be a wonderful experience - sometimes I can't commit to the whole bottle.
Sometimes - I just want a glass with dinner on Tuesday. When this happens, I'm left with a half bottle of wine that could end up going down the drain.
This is a bottle I paid for with hard earned money.
Honestly - as both an engineer and a sustainability focused consumer - I don't like to watch things wasted. Luckily - you can keep track of how long wine has been opened and use a mixture of techniques and products to make it last longer.
"So then... How long does your wine stay fresh after opening normally?"
Wine begins to lose its charm 3 days after opening. Wine that has been open for 7+ days is typically unpleasant. EVEN IF KEPT IN THE FRIDGE.
"OKAY - but can I keep my wine fresh longer?"
You can extend the life of your wine for weeks by preventing oxidation. You prevent oxidation by displacing oxygen with the ArT Wine Preserver.
"Sounds good but... What else can I do to protect my wine for free?"
We discuss free tips and tricks with the 4 Ways to Store Open Bottles of Wine below. You can and should use these techniques even if you use our argon wine preserver.
These freebies will buy you an additional day.
Do the color or varietal of my wine affect how long it lasts?
Specifically - it is fairly difficult to predict the exact rate of spoiling by wines. Generally white wines in the fridge last longer than red wines left out.
For example, open bottles of Pinot Noir wine can spoil in less than 3 days. Many fragile white wines spoil over night if not refrigerated. Some heavy fortified wines can last a few weeks after opening.
Red and white wines that are open will last three longer when preserved properly with ArT Wine Preservation, and even longer if combined with other preservation techniques.
But First - Why Wine Goes Bad
About 20% of the air we breath is oxygen - which is great because this allows us to breath. However - oxygen is highly reactive. In fact, a process known as oxidation occurs in most foods which changes the food itself.
An example of rapid oxidation in fruits: Apple Slices
When you cut open an apple, it begins to brown. This occurs because the oxygen in the air is oxidizing the exposed apple. Oxidation causes the apple to brown. The texture and flavors of the apple change - in an unpleasant way.
When oxygen touches the wine - it oxidizes and degrades the wine. An open bottle of wine will rapidly change, in a bad way, after opening.
Okay - so what can we do now?
Well - if we know oxygen causes the problem. Can we just remove the oxygen?We could suck out all the air and that would remove the oxygen - right?
The answer is that unfortunately, sucking out oxygen for wine is not practical.
Sucking out the air is difficult and won't selectively pull out the oxygen. At best, a hand vacuum will reduce the oxygen content in the bottle itself and at worst it will suck out the aromas of the wine with the air.
What is the point of drinking flat wine?
There is a better way - You can push the oxygen away.
How would be do that?
By introducing a heavy, non-reactive gas into the open bottle such as the noble gas argon.
...Not that kind of noble
This is a picture of the nobleman Sir Godfrey Kneller.
Not to be confused with the Noble Gas Argon.
For this "noble" argon to work - it would have to be
1) Heavy but not too heavy
Heavier than oxygen, but lighter than the aromas and liquid. That way - argon will form a layer right above the wine and protects it from oxidation.
2) Completely benign and safe to touch our food/wine.
Argon happens to meet this criteria.
That is why wineries will pay extra money to use pure argon over other cheaper gases or vacuums.
A better method for preserving wine - one used heavily in the food and wine industry - is to displace the oxygen using a heavy non-reactive gas.
Let me take a second to give an example of argon use in the wine bottling process...
...or you can skip to the summary.
When wine is bottled - an empty bottle full of air and oxygen is waiting to be filled with wine. If you were a winemaker - you wouldn't want to put your wine into a bottle full of air - would you? That can cause pre-mature oxidation of the wine you worked hard to make.
So here's the winemaker trick:
If you spray argon into the bottle, the oxygen is pushed out the top. You can then fill the bottle with wine - without the risk of oxygen degrading your hard work. A winemaker will then top off with argon before corking.
Here's another fun fact:
That little space between the cork and liquid? It is probably argon - or at least something very similar. Not a vacuum, not empty space - because that just doesn't work in practice.
A winemaker will bottle using argon as a "filler" to prevent oxygen from degrading your wine while it patiently awaits you to drink it.
To summarize why wine goes bad:
Oxygen is present in the air. Oxygen starts degrading the wine as soon as you open the bottle.
If you displace the oxygen using argon - no oxidation & your wine stays fresh. No spoiling. Technique used by winemakers.
How "bad" is this bad wine?
While wine does go "bad" as quickly as 3 days after opening, bad wine that has been open longer probably won't harm you.
Keep in mind, by day 7 almost all wine becomes "bad". Wine goes bad due to a rapid degradation in the presence of air known as oxidation (oxygen reacting with the wine).
Though bad wine probably won't harm you, it is certainly unpleasant.
Red, white, and fortified wines all oxidize in the presence of the air. This causes the wine to go bad (see the explanation above). Preventing oxidation using ArT Wine Preserver and simple techniques can prevent wine from going bad.
With that all said - if the wine is smells worse than spoiled milk - its probably not worth drinking.
Displacing Oxygen with Argon
4 Easy Ways to Store Open Bottles of Wine
So its a Wednesday and you pulled the cork for a nice glass with dinner. The wine was divine - dinner was delicious...
...Now what do we do with the leftover wine?
If you're like most people - you don't want to chug it or let is waste away on the counter.
Luckily - storing open bottles of white and red wine is easy with just a few steps.
You can take advantage of a refrigerator and the ArT Wine Preserver to make open bottles of wine last for weeks.
More tricks that will help extend the life of your wine are listed below...
... and if you want to go in depth on argon preservation - see how to make open bottles of wine last longer using an argon wine preserver.
1) Refrigeration & Remove Heat
Refrigeration lowers the energy in the bottle, thereby reducing the energy pushing oxidation reactions forward. That is because the higher the temperature, the faster the oxygen molecules will move and more often they will collide with the wine. More collisions lead to more reactions. Ideally a wine specific fridge, as this eliminates the possibility of food aromas from entering the bottle if your seal is less than adequate.
This does include red wines - although it should be noted that this was once considered faux pas. Red wine should be allowed to return to at least 55 F (or producer recommended temperature) before consumption.
When it is time to re-open your bottle of wine and pull out of the fridge: Do NOT use heat or a microwave. This may cause undesired reactions if localized heating occurs. A good rule of thumb is to pull an open bottle of red wine from the fridge 30-45 minutes before consuming & to pull an open bottle of white wine from the fridge 10-15 minutes before consuming.
2) Remove sunlight
Just like refrigeration reduces energy by removing heat, storing in a dark place removes the solar energy. Without being too technical, we want to prevent heat or solar energy from entering the bottle and allowing oxygen to react.
Even for unopened bottles of wine - you should store the bottles away from sun and other harsh forms of light. These can fuel degradation of even the finest wines kept at perfect humidity and temperature.
A fridge works perfect for this and can keep the open bottle of wine both dark and cold.
3) Vibration Dampening
Unnecessary vibrations should be avoided to make an open bottle of wine last longer. By "vibrations" - we aren't talking about a little hum in the fridge. We mean shaking or transporting an opened bottle of wine in the back of pickup truck. This basically aerates a wine, because it makes for more collisions between the oxygen and the wine. Aeration is a good thing right before consumption, as it brings out the aromas and flavors. But aeration earlier will lead to degradation.
This means you should avoid storing open bottles of wine in places like your car.
4) Store upright (Opened Wine Bottles Only)
Leaving the bottle upright decreases the surface area exposed to oxygen compared to laying down. Lower surface area decreases the amount of molecular collisions between the wine and oxygen and therefore the rate of the oxidation reaction.
This may seem counter intuitive since unopened wine bottles are typically stored on their side. Keep in mind we are currently discussing already opened bottles of wine. In which case a reusable cork with argon is the absolute best method of “sealing”, as it reduces the surface area exposed to oxygen even after pouring.
Keep in mind these are all tips for opened bottles of wine. For unopened bottles of wine, you will want to store the wines on their side instead of upright. You will also want to store wines "cool" rather than "cold". This can be done with a special humidity controlled wine cooler.
5 Places NOT to Store an Open Bottle of Wine
We already discussed methods and ways to store open bottles of wine. Below are a 5 places you do NOT want to store an open bottle of wine even if you use a high quality wine preserver like ArT Wine Preserver:
1) Your Vehicle:
Poor Temperature Control | Movement | Potentially Illegal
There are many reasons a vehicle is not a good place to store an open bottle of wine. First off, this may violate state law if a person do not reseal the bottle properly.
Secondly, temperatures in a car or truck tends to fluctuate greatly - with high temperatures in the summer and low temperatures in the winter. Temperature swings or extremes damage the structure of wine.
Lastly, if this vehicle ends up moving a lot (because its a mode of transportation), its likely an opened bottle of wine will be subject to a large amount of vibrations and shaking.
For the same reasons, storing an unopened bottle of wine will go bad if you store it in your vehicle. Humidity and temperature control is necessary for protecting unopened bottles of wine long term, which is uncontrolled in a vehicle.
2) Your attic:
Poor Temperature Control
An attic is a convenient place to store many things, but opened bottles of wine should be stored elsewhere. The temperature in attics tend to swing greatly and it is possible for aromas from the attic to seep into the wine.
3) Your windowsill:
Storing an open bottle of wine on a windowsill looks pretty - but subject to excess light. This light will degrade the wine quicker than storing somewhere dark.
4) Your suitcase:
Poor Temperature Control | Movement
This one often cannot be avoided if a bottle is picked up while traveling. But keep in mind baggage tends to get bounced around & is subject to high and low temperatures at airports all year round.
5) Your friend's place:
Good luck getting your wine back.
Hope this information helps you reduce waste and enjoy your wine on your terms.
Ryan Frederickson - Founder of ArT Wine Preservation
Enjoy More | Waste Less
Ready to protect your open bottles of wine?
CLICK the link below to learn more about ArT Wine Preserver, the argon wine preserver or contact us with questions!