How long can a bottle of wine stay open?

Friday, 23 February, 2024
Wine Enthusiast
To drink or not to drink? This is the question facing many a wine lover when left with a bottle that's been open for a few days.

Unfortunately, like most things in life, the answer is complicated, depending on a number of factors that range from the style and quality of the wine to its level of tannins and more. The good news is that most wines remain palatable for longer than many anticipate. So, if you’re wondering how long is wine good after opening, we’ve put together a handy guide to help you out.

How long does wine last after opening?

John Belsham, an international consultant and founder/winemaker of Foxes Island in New Zealand, says, “The ultimate deciding factor is quality. The better the wine, the longer it will keep in an open bottle. That’s irrespective of the techniques used to protect the wine, be it gas-injection or vacuuming…The bottom line is that once you’ve opened the bottle, oxygen is introduced, which is absorbed into the wine. It’s not actually what’s in that space above the wine that makes the difference, but what’s absorbed into the wine at the moment of opening.”

White wine

“The wine will not rapidly oxidize, if it’s been well made,” says Belsham. “I would expect a quality bottle of Chardonnay, Riesling, Sémillon or Sauvignon Blanc to last comfortably three to four days in a half-full bottle. Really high-grade, single-vineyard wines with a high fill level will last for at least a week in the fridge, in my own experience. Even with slight loss of aroma, it will still be palatable. Mass-produced, simpler whites and rosés are probably best [enjoyed] over two days.”

Red wine

“With red wine, similarly, it will comfortably be in good shape for three to four days,” says Belsham. “The more robust the red wine, the more tannin it has to protect itself against oxygen. So, the denser the red wine, the better it will present itself...”

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