When Does Wine Go Bad?

A quick guide to storing leftover wine

You’ve heard the joke. Question: "How long does leftover wine last?" Answer: "What’s leftover wine?" In the interest of promoting moderation and less wine waste, let’s tackle this issue. You’re probably staring at a bottle on your counter right now, wondering, "Can I still drink this?"

Part of the problem is having the wine on your counter. Store leftover wine, even reds, in the fridge. The cold environment slows down the oxidation process. When it comes to preserving freshness and flavor in your wine, oxygen is the enemy. While preparing dinner (or waiting for that pizza to be delivered), don’t forget to pull that bottle of red out of the fridge. By the time you dig into your dish (or slice), the wine will have shed its chill.

So you’d like an absolute number when it comes to how long an open bottle of wine lasts? Not a wide range, nor vague answer, but something concrete? Since the vast majority of wine produced today is meant to be opened and consumed immediately, time is definitely not on your side. At Bottlenotes, we generally keep dry white wines for two days; red wines for three.

Of course there are exceptions to every rule, so let us know your thoughts. It comes down to whether avoiding waste becomes more important than taste. Luckily, with wine, as Christy Frank, owner of Frankly Wines in New York City, explains, "It's not going to go bad in the way that milk does, so it won't make you sick. Just keep trying it until you feel it's not worth drinking."

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hkalmanson's picture

There's absolutely no reason to refrigerate red wine. Just use a wine vacuum pump. They're inexpensive, easy to use and remove most of the oxygen from the bottle for long-lasting effect. It also makes it easier to transport if you don't finish an expensive bottle at a restaurant or wish to drive home sober. Pump, toss it into the trunk and finish it at home.

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