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How long does your wine last once opened?


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.

Wine starts deteriorating when it’s exposed to oxygen – a process called oxidisation – and this starts when the airtight seal of the cork is broken. But certain wines are more susceptible than others, and you can also employ tactics to slow the process down. It’s good to remember that oxidisation creates a gradual decline, so how long your wine lasts can be personal too. A sensitive palate might notice a change in taste sooner than someone with a less discerning nose.

How long will wine last once opened infographic

How long does red wine last once opened?

As a general rule, red wine can last 2-5 days if it’s stored correctly. The two most helpful things you can do to extend the life of your open bottle are to re-cork 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 4-5 days in the fridge. 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 a Pinot Noir or Grenache have a life span of closer to 2-3 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 oxidisation 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 Copper mirror wine decanter

 eto Copper mirror wine decanter

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 up to 7 days. 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 for 5-7 days in the fridge if they’ve been re-corked. But be warned, there will be a subtle change in the taste of the wine after the first day due to the oxidisation. 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 and last around 3-5 days in the fridge with a cork. This is because they’re exposed to more oxygen during the pre-bottling aging process, giving the oxidisation 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 oxidisation, 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.

eto wine decanter in Copper: mirror finish

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 oxidisation.

How long do sparkling wines last once opened?

Sparkling wines such as Champagne, Prosecco, Cava and Cremant, can keep their flavour and fizz for up to 3 days if you use a specific sparkling wine stopper and store the bottle in the fridge. Without a stopper, sparkling wine will become flat quite quickly – just like any carbonated drink – but it can retain its flavour for a day or two.

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. 

eto Stainless satin wine decanter

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 wine can last 3-5 days and organic white wine between 3 and 7 days.

How to make your opened wine last longer?

The key to making opened wine last longer is finding ways to keep oxidisation 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.

eto Copper satin wine decanter

eto Copper satin wine decanter

The award-winning preservation system in eto is simple but exceptionally effective. By adeptly targeting the oxidisation process, eto protects the wine’s flavour until you’re ready for another glass. Eto is also an elegant wine decanter with a choice of seven different finishes that complements 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.