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How long does your wine last once opened?

31.05.23

6 min read

Whenever you open a fresh bottle of wine, there is always a chance you’ll be left with it half-full when your evening draws to a close. Most people know that wine doesn’t last very long once the cork has been pulled out, but how long exactly? If you’re someone who hates the idea of pouring wine down the sink, it’s a good idea to find out.

Why does wine go bad?

Wine deteriorates when exposed to oxygen – a process called oxidation – starting when the cork’s airtight seal is broken. This chemical reaction alters the wine’s compounds, changing its flavour, aroma and colour. UV rays also contribute by breaking the wine, making dark storage crucial. But certain wines are more susceptible than others, depending on factors like alcohol content, acidity and tannins, which act as natural preservers.  

It's good to remember that oxidation creates a gradual decline, so a wine’s lifespan can be subjective. A sensitive palate might notice changes sooner than a less discerning one. You can also employ tactics to slow the process down by minimising oxygen exposure.  

How long does red wine last once opened?

As a general rule, red wine can around 4 days if it’s stored correctly. The two most helpful things you can do to extend the life of your open bottle are to seal the wine and to store it in the fridge. Exactly how long it lasts then depends on the type of red wine you’re drinking.

Richer red wines with more tannins and acidity like Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Malbec or Shiraz could last around 4 days. This is because the tannins – bitter compounds from the grape skins, seeds, stems and wood barrels – are more protected against oxygen. Lighter reds with less tannins, such as Pinot Noir or Grenache, have a life span of closer to 2 days in the fridge.

Will red wine last longer in the fridge?

The short answer is yes. You might prefer not to drink your red wine chilled, but it’s a good idea to store it in the fridge. This is mainly because heat speeds up the oxidation process while colder temperatures slow it down. But take care when bringing the wine back to room temperature, because sudden shifts in heat can damage the wine.

Storing wine in the fridge is also helpful in keeping your wine away from UV rays. These initiate a Sulphur-releasing process, which is also called light strike, which affects the wine’s scent – and this has a knock-on effect on the taste of the wine. As UV light travels through both clear and green glass, it affects all types of wine bottle.

A wine chiller is set at the ideal temperature to preserve wine, but a fridge is a close second best. When you’re looking for the perfect spot to store your wine, it’s good to keep the bottle upright too, because it exposes a much smaller surface area to the oxygen in the air.

eto Wine decanter in Brass: satin finish

How long does white wine last once opened?

The lifespan of white wine is also dependent upon the type of wine it is, although with different criteria to red wines. Lighter, crisper whites tend to last longer than their full-bodied counterparts. If you use a cork or wine stopper, and store the bottle upright in the fridge, some white wines can last longer than others. Here is a breakdown to give you the full picture.

Light white and Rosé

Light white wines like Pinot Grigio and Sauvignon Blanc – and most rosé wines too – can be stored in the fridge for up to 3 days on average, if they’ve been re-corked. But be warned, there will be changes in the taste of the wine after the first day due to oxidation. If not sealed properly, the overall fruitiness of the wine will also gradually diminish, making the wine still drinkable, but less vibrant after a couple of days.

Full-bodied white wine

Full-bodied white wines, like oaked Chardonnay and Viogner, oxidise more quickly than lighter wines. This is because they’re exposed to more oxygen during the pre-bottling aging process, giving the oxidation a head start. The taste change in full bodied wines is also more significant as the creamy, more aromatic, flavours become quite flat after 1-2 days.

Will white wine last longer in the fridge?

As with red wine, the flavour of white wine will be preserved for longer if it is stored in the fridge. This is because the main cause of wine deterioration is oxidation, and this process is slower in colder temperatures. You can help decelerate the wine’s decline further by re-corking the bottle (or using a stopper) and storing it upright in the fridge door.

How long does white wine last if it has a screw top?

To work out how long a bottle of white wine with a screw top lasts, you first need to know what type of wine it is, because this has a greater influence on its longevity than anything else. But if you’re comparing like-for-like wines, a screw top bottle (with the lid replaced) will outlast a re-corked bottle because it’s more effective at keeping air out, and so reduces the speed of oxidation.

eto wine decanter in stainless satin finish

eto Wine decanter in Stainless: satin finish

How does fortified wine last once opened?

Also known as dessert wine, fortified wine can last for a few weeks after being opened, with a general rule that the sweeter the wine – like Port, Sherry and Marsala – the longer you can expect it to last. If these wines are stored in a cool, dark place (below (70F | 21C) with the bottle re-corked, their quality can remain intact for around 28 days. This is because these wines have already been oxidised as part of the fortification process, and so further exposure doesn’t have the same impact. But UV rays can still damage the wine, which is why it’s important to store your fortified wine away from heat and sunlight. 

How long do sparkling wines last once opened?

Sparkling wines such as Champagne, Prosecco, Cava and Cremant may not be eto's speciality, but if you use a specific sparkling wine stopper and store in the fridge it can retain its flavour for a day or two. Without a stopper, sparkling wine will become flat quite quickly - just like any carbonated drink.

How long do organic and natural wines last once opened?

In general, natural and organic wines have more acidity and tannins than regular wines, and so they tend to be longer-lasting. On average, organic red and white wines can last 2-3 days.

How to make your opened wine last longer?

The key to making opened wine last longer is finding ways to keep oxidation to a minimum. From re-corking the bottle, to storing it in the fridge door, and away from the light, there are plenty of things you can do to help. But these methods only slow the process a little. With an eto decanter, you can enjoy a glass of wine for up to 14 days after opening your bottle without any change in its quality.

The award-winning preservation system in eto is simple but exceptionally effective. By adeptly targeting the oxidation process, eto protects the wine’s flavour until you’re ready for another glass. Eto is also an elegant wine decanter with six different finishes that complement any table.

We recommend decanting your wine into eto as soon as you’ve poured your first glass. And when you’ve finished your last, eto is designed to fit perfectly inside your fridge door.

eto Wine decanter in Stainless: satin finish

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