Today it is easier to get a nice bottle of wine than ever before. From boutique supermarkets to subscription boxes for wine lovers, you can quickly stock bottles faster than you can drink them.
Having a well-stocked wine list at home is great. But all that wine won't last forever ̵
The shelf life of wine, however, is not a mystery (although it may seem like it sometimes). Once you know how long your opened and unopened bottles are stored, you can set up a strategy so that you never pour good wine down the drain. Let's take a closer look at the time frame.
How long does open wine remain?
When you open that cork, you introduce oxygen into the bottle. Oxygen causes the wine to spoil faster once it is opened.
Because wine occurs in so many different varieties, there is no solid answer about how fast things go bad. The exact timing depends on the type and quality of the wine. But to give you an estimate, most opened wines will spoil within two to five days. (Sparkling wines have an even shorter lifespan; they go empty in about a day.)
Of course your wine will not go bad at once. It will deteriorate in quality, but the difference may not be so noticeable in the beginning. So if you're fine with a wine that has lost some of its aroma and flavor, you can get more time out of that opened bottle. But once it takes on a brownish color or an unpleasant odor, it is no longer worth drinking.
How to make open wine last longer
However, there is good news: you can make those opened bottles last a little longer with these tips. Here you can read how to extend the life of your wine beyond two to five days.
Use the refrigerator and cork
When you have a half-open wine bottle, your first instinct is likely to cork it and put it in the refrigerator for later. And that is exactly the right thing to do.
In addition to oxygen, heat and light also cause wine to go bad faster. By corking it and putting it in the fridge, you limit the exposure to these elements. If you lose the cork, cover the top with plastic wrap and a rubber band, or keep a few extra wine stoppers on hand.
Even red wine must be stored in the refrigerator as soon as it is opened. Make sure you take it off for about half an hour before you plan to drink it so that it can reach the right temperature.
Opt for quality
There is something very painful about a quality wine that has become bad. But luckily, the better the wine, the longer it tends to last. The best quality wines will be preserved for about a week after uncorking, while a low quality wine will get bad within a few days.
Drink Tannic Reds
Tannins create the dry, bitter taste that red wines are known for. They are not for everyone's taste, but if you like tannin wines, you will be happy to know that they last longer than their sweeter counterparts. The tannins help protect the wine against the aging properties of oxygen.
Keep It Half-Full
A bottle that is half full or more does not go bad easily because it does not contain so much oxygen. So if you are debating whether to pour another glass or not, you may want to wait – the fuller bottle will stay in the fridge for longer.
Use a sparkling wine stopper.
To extend the life of sparkling wine, try a wine stopper designed to prevent it from becoming flat. Keep the stopper on the bottle until you are ready to use it, because you will buzz a little every time you open the bottle. Some sparkling wines still taste great when they are flat, so you may want to give your flat wine a taste before you throw it.
Buy a wine preserver
Even for non-sparkling wines, a chic wine stopper can make the difference. You buy a standard vacuum preserver with your wine for a few more days, while high-end preservatives that use gas displacement can store your wine for up to two weeks.
How long is unopened wine stored?
If you have not opened the bottle, it is tempting to think that your wine will last forever. But unfortunately, even in the most high-tech wine cellar, wine bottles still have a limited lifespan.
Although popular belief suggests that wine gets better with age, most wines are actually designed to be consumed soon after bottling. The intention is that only a few very high-quality wines will mature for years.
Most unopened wines will taste good for a few years after bottling. However, just as with opened wines, the exact lifespan depends on the type and quality of the wine.
How to make unopened wine last longer
You do not need a good wine cellar to preserve your bottles for maximum quality. These tips help your wine stay fresh until you are ready.
Keep it in a cool, dark place
Although you do not want to keep your unopened wine bottles in the refrigerator, you must still keep them away from heat and light, which can break down the wine even before it is open. Aim for a location that remains around 55 degrees or so without serious temperature fluctuations.
A basement can work well, but the same applies to a cool, dark cupboard, cupboard or garage. Mild humidity is good because it prevents the cork from drying out, but do not store wine near a heat source, such as the oven or radiator.
Invest in a wine cooler
Instead of a fully inflated wine cellar, you can store bottles in a simple wine cooler instead. Although they start at $ 100 and go up from there, a wine cooler is a valuable investment if you care about your wines and don't have a good place to store them.
Put down bottles
Storing wine horizontally helps the corks dry out. A dried cork leaves oxygen in the bottle, so that is something to avoid. In addition, storing wines horizontally is a great way to maximize your space usage, and most wine storage racks are designed with this in mind.
Alternatives to wine bottles: what you need to know
If you want to worry even less about the shelf life of your wine, you can buy wine in a non-traditional container, such as a screw top bottle, a box or a can.
Screw wine lasts about as long as cork wine, but you have won you don't have to worry about the cork drying out and letting in oxygen. This also reduces the risk of "cork smell", a manufacturing defect that makes a wine taste bad.
Unopened wine in boxes has a shorter lifespan than unopened wine bottles: check the expiration date to see how long you have left. But once opened, a box of wine can stay fresh for weeks because the bag design shuts off oxygen.
The verdict is not yet known about how long canned wine lasts, but because there is no way to leave oxygen in the can, it is likely that it will keep longer than bottled wine. Of course, once opened, you want to finish the can quickly – but it's much easier to finish one can of wine at once than by plowing a bottle.
With the accessibility of good, affordable wines today it is not the end of the world if you have to pour out the spoiled last half of a bottle. But why waste something if you can make it last instead? Use these tips to get the most out of your wines, whether it is cheap, mass-produced picks or high-quality bottles that you may never find again.