Wines don't last forever, especially once they've been opened. As soon as you pull the cork out on a bottle, it begins to deteriorate with exposure to oxygen. But how long a wine lasts after opening really depends on the specific wine and what steps you've taken (or haven't taken) to extend its shelf life.
Once open, a bottle of wine will last from three to five days in the fridge. Taking measures to preserve it may lengthen the open wine's life by a day or two. Fortified wines, high-alcohol wines, and sugary wines may make it a bit longer.
How Long Does Wine Last After Opening?
Once you open any bottle of wine, you need to store leftovers in the fridge until you've finished the last drop. There are two reasons for this: cooler temps make the wine last a bit longer, and the darkness of the fridge protects the open bottle from light.
Unfortunately, there's no single number of hours or days that applies to every bottle of wine. How long a wine lasts once opened depends on the individual bottle.
Refrigerated red wine will last for approximately three to five days after opening. After that, it starts to lose body and flavor.
To make it last as long as possible, recork or recap your red wine and stick it in the fridge. If you use a vacuum wine pump that removes air from the bottle, it could last a week or two.
White Wine and Rosé
Opened white wine and rosé will stay good for two to three days in the fridge. Re-cork or cap it to keep oxygen out. If you use a vacuum sealer, it could give the wine about an extra week of life.
Sparkling Wine, Prosecco, and Champagne
With sparkling wines, you're also fighting the loss of fizz once you open the bottle. Corking the bottle is a priority in keeping it in the fridge after opening. When properly corked and refrigerated, open sparkling wine will keep for one to two days. If you use a Champagne sealer, it will keep for three to five days.
If the wine still tastes good but the bubbles are gone, don't sweat it. You can drop in a raisin to get those bubbles flowing again.
Sugar acts as a preservative, so sweet wines will last a bit longer after opening. Dessert wines can last anywhere from two to three weeks with proper storage. Cap 'em or cork 'em, put them in a fridge upright, and you can sip that dessert wine for nearly a month.
Fortified Wine and Port
Opened port wines and fortified wines last from two weeks to two months. The key is to keep the open wine in your refrigerator tightly sealed. Both the sugar and alcohol act as preservatives here to keep the wine stable. Whether it's two weeks or two months depends on both the sugar content and the alcohol content. The more the wine has of each, the longer it's likely to last.
Box wine is another exception to the three to five-day rule. Once opened, box wine will last for about six weeks because the interior bladder keeps out light and oxygen.
Tips for Making Your Open Wine Bottle Last From Start to Finish
If it's one of those evenings, you opened that second bottle a little too late, and it's lingering on the table, don't count it out. There are a number of ways to ensure your bottle retains all of its vibrancy (or most of it, anyway) by slowing the oxidation process.
- While drinking the bottle over the course of an evening, keep it corked in between pours. This minimizes its exposure to oxygen.
- Once opened, ALWAYS store the wine in the refrigerator. This helps slow down the oxidation in red, white, orange, rosé, and sparkling wines.
- Use a vacuum wine preserver, which allows you to pump excess air out of the bottle to slow down oxidation.
Drink It or Chill It
As a general rule of thumb, you will be able to preserve an open bottle of wine for about three days, with certain bottles lasting longer and others lasting for shorter durations. If you have an absolute gem of a bottle, plan to open it and drink it rather than trying to extend it over a week's time. That being said, following the above steps will help preserve the wine's freshness, extending its shelf life from anywhere between one to five days. So show that opened bottle some love and throw it in the fridge!