Nobody likes letting good wine go to waste, and a little bit of inside knowledge as to how long you can store opened wines goes a long way! Avoid disappointment with our handy guide to how long you can keep opened bottles for, and discover the best ways to keeping your vino fresh.
Most of the time when we’ve opened a great bottle of wine, it gets polished off pretty quickly among friends. After all, there are few finer things in life than sharing a bottle or two over a delicious dinner, or sipping at a glass of red, white, rosé or sparkling wine while deep in conversation, or at the end of a long day.
Despite that it’s perhaps more usual to finish a bottle fairly swiftly once opened, there are plenty of occasions when you find yourself with a half empty (or indeed, a half full…) bottle at the end of an evening. For those of you who regularly hold or attend wine tastings, you’ll be familiar with the sight of rows of unfinished wines – and what is to be done with what remains? Can they be saved? Or are they tragically tipped down the drain once the notes are written up and discussed? Of course, this isn’t the only time such a quandary might be raised. Perhaps you like to enjoy just a single glass before bed each night – the health benefits of drinking in this way have been well documented. Maybe you’ve had a wine evening with friends, and have cracked open one last bottle before saying goodnight… whatever the reason may be, it’s always helpful to know just how long wines can be saved for before they become unpalatable.
Why does wine turn bad?
As we know, the variety of wines out there is vast. Each wine style varies from grape to grape, from region to region and from year to year. Some are boisterous and full-bodied, others are light as a feather; it’s these factors and variations that make them capable of lasting longer, or becoming unpalatable relatively quickly.
Because wine is a natural product, it is subject to the damaging effects of oxidation. Once a bottle is opened, the oxygen in the bottle begins breaking down the tannins and acids in the wine; essentially, the chemicals which give the wines their structure and personality. Too much exposure to oxygen over time and the wine will become flat, flabby and boring on the palate. Even more exposure to oxygen will change the chemical makeup of the wine completely, and result in it becoming an unpleasant, vinegary substance… and nobody wants to drink that!
It’s always a good idea to store opened wines with a proper stopper, and in a dark, cool place (cold and dark slow down the chemical changes that can affect your vino). However, if you want to save the finer features of any wine for a considerable length of time after opening, it’s well worth investing in an argon gas wine preserving system – such as those available from zzysh® – as these halt the damaging effects of oxidation in its tracks.
Let’s take a look at some different wine styles, and see how long they’ll typically last when properly stoppered and stored in the fridge.
How long does white wine last once opened?
Light, bright, zesty white wines (as well as most rosé wines) are prized for their freshness and acidity, making them perfect for summer afternoon drinking, or for pairing with fish and salad dishes. Generally speaking, because of their acidity these wines will be more or less fine for up to seven days if stored properly, and will possibly even reach their peak on day two or three after opening. However, after the week is over, they’ll degrade pretty sharply, meaning a quality preservation system will be required to maintain their brightness and character, should you need to store them for longer.
Full-bodied and aged white wines, such as a Chardonnay, Viognier or aged Riesling, are a different matter altogether. Because these wines are exposed to oxidation during their production, they tend to degrade much more quickly. Once opened, you’ll want to drink these within three days to avoid disappointment, or you should use a zzysh® wine preservation to keep them at peak quality.
How long do red wines last once opened?
Unlike white wines, red wines are made with the whole of the grape – including the skins, the pips, and even the stalks. These means they’re often packed with tannins, which give a distinctive mouthfeel and which require some oxidation in order to soften and open. The more tannic the wine, the longer it can be stored for once opened; full-bodied reds like a Cabernet Sauvignon or Bordeaux blend will be fine for up to five days or so, while lighter reds like Pinot Noir or Sangiovese will need to be drunk within three days. Again, an argon gas preservation system will allow you to enormously extend this time limit for both styles.
What about sparkling wines like Champagne?
Sparkling wines without their fizz are like holidays without sunshine – they’re never going to quite hit that spot once the effervescence has gone. As such, we’d advise finishing your sparkling wine within 36 hours of popping that cork to avoid the disheartening experience of sipping on an un-bubbly glass of bubbly. Of course, with a zzysh® Champagne argon gas preservation system, you never need experience such disappointment again. The cushion of inert gases which cover the surface of the wine ensures that oxidation is halted and the dissipation of those elegant bubbles ceases immediately, allowing you to keep that fizz fresh for weeks.