If you’re like us and love good wine, there’s little chance of a bottle lasting long enough to risk losing its drinkability. If you do find yourself with an opened bottle or two at the end of an evening, this guide will help make the most of those delectable drops before they’re spoiled.
Why Does Wine Go Off?
Once a wine is opened and exposed to air, oxidisation begins robbing the wine of its fresh fruit flavours. That’s why it’s best to finish an entire bottle over a night or event. Refrigeration can help keep the wine fresh for longer by slowing the oxidisation process and postponing spoilage.
Open wine also risks developing acetic acid bacteria which consumes the alcohol in wine, leaving behind a bitter vinegar-like taste and smell. Like oxidisation, the bacteria is a chemical process, so storing the wine at a low temperature can slow the reaction.
Once popped, Champagne, Prosecco, Sparkling Whites and Sparkling Reds quickly lose their carbonation or fizz. Use a Sparkling wine stopper and store it in the fridge for no more than two days.
Light White Wines
The light-weight whites like Pinot Grigio, Pinot Gris, Sauvignon Blanc and blends, Riesling, Vermentino and Gewürztraminer should remain fresh for up to two days. Make sure the wine is sealed with a screw cap or stopper and stored in the fridge. You will probably notice a change in taste as the wine oxidises and the fruit characters diminish, becoming less vibrant.
Full-Bodied Whites and Rosé
When sealed with a screw cap, cork or stopper and stored in the fridge, three days is the use-by for a Rosé or full-bodied white like Chardonnay, Fiano, Roussanne, Viognier and Verdelho. Oaked Chardonnay and Viognier tend to oxidise more quickly because they are exposed to additional oxygen during the pre-bottled ageing process.
Full-Bodied Red Wine
When sealed and stored in a cool, dark place or a fridge, red wines like Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Malbec can last for around four days. As a general rule, red wines with higher tannin and acidity tend to last longer once opened. Late harvest reds can also stay fresh for up to four days.
Thanks to the addition of brandy during the blending process, vintage fortified wines, Tawny, Muscat and Topaque can stay fresh for a considerable 28 days once opened. Like full-bodied reds, ensure the bottle is sealed tight with the screw cap or original cork and store the wine in a cool, dark cellar or cupboard.
Learn more about the best wine storage practices in our article The Dos and Don’ts of Good Wine Storage.