The saying goes that wine gets better with age--but of course, that only applies while it remains in the bottle. There are many instances when you only need a splash of wine to accompany your dinner, or you opened the Pinot Noir a little too late in the evening, leaving you with a half-full bottle too precious to throw out. Amidst these trying instances, you may find yourself asking: How long does wine really last?
We did a little digging, and here's what we discovered.
1. Typically, a wine's longevity depends on the type of wine and how you store it.
After opening a bottle, it is important to re-cork and refrigerate wine, no matter the type. By taking these two measures, you reduce the wine's exposure to oxygen, light, and heat--all things that can cause a wine to go funky after just a few short days.
If you close it up and keep it cool, a bottle of red or white wine can last between two and five days. For sparkling wine, these techniques will give you another one to three days to enjoy your favorite bubbly beverage. Still, you should drink this bottle more quickly, as this type of wine naturally loses its carbonation over time.
An unstable natural wine (made without preservatives) may only last a day after uncorking, while a highly tannic (or bitter) commercial red wine can last up to a week after it's been opened.
2. There's no shortage of wine stoppers to prolong the lifetime of your wine.
If you're short a cork, have no fear! There are easy alternatives you can make from items that are probably already in your home. Try securing Saran Wrap with a rubber band over the mouth of the bottle to do the trick. Otherwise, you can easily purchase an official wine stopper at your local grocery store.
3. Wine color will tell you if your wine is still good.
If you're tempted to dump that remaining bottle of Chardonnay that's been sitting in your fridge for over a week--wait. Before disposing of what could still be a perfectly good bottle, make sure to check the color of the wine. A wine that loses its vibrancy to a brownish hue, sadly, has to go. This means that the wine has undergone oxidation, a sign of decay that also occurs in produce. Red wine gone bad will taste like vinegar, while white wine on the out will taste like bruised apples.
Despite a wine's color, however, tasting the wine is the only way to know if it's still good. If you find it drinkable, then, by all means, keep it in the fridge for a few more days.
We won't judge you for it.