How Long Does Red Wine Really Last?

Whether it’s a Pinot Noir, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon or a Shiraz, red wines have made a name for themselves throughout the globe.

With their seductive flavours, red wines are amongst the most desired wines on earth.  Showing off a variety of light or heavy, translucent or deeply coloured wines, the promise of that lingering grape flavour is still evident.

A welcomed addition to the cellar, red wine is a compliment to any occasion. Let us answer your burning questions about this lady marmalade. 

How Long Does Red Wine Last?

To determine the lifespan of red wine, you will have to consider a few factors, as red wine can last between 5 to 10 years depending on how it is stored.

Taking into consideration that temperatures fluctuate, and that wine doesn’t do too well when it’s intermittently heated and cooled, finding the appropriate storage space is vital. 

Storing your bottle of red wine at the bottom of a cupboard away from direct sunlight would be a plus. 

Constant temperatures of between 10 C and 15 C are ideal as it will stop the expanding and shrinking that the fluctuating temperatures cause. This will dramatically reduce oxidation.

Does Red Wine Go Bad?

Yes, red wine does go bad if it is kept over the use-by date, or stored incorrectly.  If red wine is sealed in its bottle, and kept away from direct sunlight, or fluctuating temperatures, the wine and cork start to expand, and then shrink, allowing air to get into the sealed wine.

This causes oxidation which eventually makes the wine undrinkable. If the bottle of wine has been opened then it is advisable to cork it, and store it in the fridge for up to 5 days. 

Can You Drink Red Wine After 7 Days?

Drinking wine that has been opened and refrigerated for more the 7 days is not advisable as the smell and taste would have change tremendously in that time.

When you open a wine bottle, air gets into it, immediately starting the oxidation process.

Oxidation changes the appearance, smell and taste of the wine so unless you’re willing to have a vinegary tasting red wine, the thought of drinking it after 7 days should be aborted.

How Long Can I Store Red Wine?

If sealed, and stored in even temperatures that are between 10 C and 15 C, red wine can last between 3 to 10 years. Of course, this will also depend on the type of red wine that you wish to store. A lighter red wine has a shorter lifespan, whereas a heavier darker red wine is said to fair much better as it has a higher alcohol percentage.

Can Red Wine Last For 2 Weeks?

Even if your red wine has been sitting in the fridge for 2 weeks, undisturbed, the fact that it has already been opened would have had a great effect on it. Although you may notice a richer colour to your wine, the taste and smell would have degraded much, emitting a vinegar flavour due to the oxidation. So, red wine actually becomes vinegar after 2 weeks.

How Long Do Other Wines Last After Opening?

When looking at the other wines lifespans after opening, we should also take into consideration the alcohol weight in each wine, and whether or not they have been corked and refrigerated after opening. Here is a general idea on the lifespan of other opened wines, taking into consideration that they were corked and stored in the fridge.

  1. White wines can last for 3 to 5 days once opened.
  2. Rose wines have a 3 to 5 day lifespan.
  3. Sweet or dessert wines have a 2 to 3 week lifespan once opened.
  4. Sparkling wines have a 3 to 5 day lifespan, but they lose their sparkle after the first day.

How Can I Extend The Life Of My Wine After It Has Been Opened?

There are many methods to extend the life of your wine, but the one that I have found that works the best is the method of transferring the left over wine into a smaller bottle. Make sure to fill it up to the top, leaving very little space for any air to fit in. Then seal the bottle with a cork and refrigerate it. Although this method doesn’t stop the oxidation process, it does slow it down, ensuring an extended lifespan.

Red Wine Vs. White Wine Vs. Sparkling Wine Vs. Boxed Wine Vs. Fortified Vs. Rose

If you would want to determine a winner here, then that would depend entirely on your preferred taste, so let’s have a look at how these sexy ladies fair in the taste category.

Red wine – A spicy, sultry, bitter sweet taste, that entraps the palate.

White wine – The light weight champion of the wine world, with its seductive entrancing taste.

Sparkling wine – A lingering fruitiness, that teases the palate, for a little while longer.

Boxed wine – Bitter or sweet, the choice is yours.

Fortified – Distilled with spirits to enhance the sweetness, this wine sure is a knock out.

Rose – A deep fruity deliciousness that lingers. 

What’s The Best Way Of Keeping Red Wine Fresh?

To keep red wine at its best, store it in the lowest shelf in your cupboard. This is where you would be able to ensure an even temperature around your wine bottle, protecting your wine from fluctuating temperatures and preventing the inevitable oxidation process. Unless you have a hidden cellar, this method would be your best bet.

How To Store An Opened Bottle Of Red Wine?

To ensure a fresh tasting red wine, keep the opened wine tightly corked and refrigerated. This will slow down the oxidation process avoiding the sour taste and smell, giving you a drinkable wine.  You can also transfer the wine into a smaller bottle, filling it to the top and sealing it. This will prevent air from getting into your wine, delaying oxidation.

How To Store Unopened Wine?

If you are fortunate enough to have your own cellar, then successfully storing your wine would be a walk in the park, if not, then storing your unopened wine in a secure place with even temperatures would be ideal. Just make sure that it is stored away from direct sunlight and fluctuating temperatures.

What Happens To Red Wine After You Uncork It?

After red wine is uncorked it unfortunately comes into contact with oxygen. This attraction starts the oxidation process which is a degradation of the wine. This process cannot be stopped after the wine is opened, however, it can be slowed down if the correct storage methods are executed.

How Would You Know If An Open Wine Has Gone Bad?

The pungent smell and vinegary taste is a dead giveaway to wines that have spoiled. It is an unmistakable strong odour and sharp sour taste, making it easy to determine if your opened wine has gone bad. 

Health Concerns About Drinking Bad Wine?

Fortunately drinking bad wine is not hazardous to your health, as all that will happen is that the oxidation process turns your wine into vinegar. If your palate can tolerate the sharp sourness of the bad wine then you can still drink it. I must warn you though, that after oxidation this bittersweet lady becomes quite arrogant.

Why Does Wine Have A Drinkability Window?

Wines have a drinkability window to give you, the consumer, an approximate idea as to when you would get the most out of your selected wine. The option of leaving a wine to age in the wine cellar is a luxury that is enjoyed by a few, but it is advantageous to the wine collector.  The drinkability window would refer to both an opened or sealed bottle of wine,  and should be adhered to, to get the best out of your wine.

How Long Should You Keep Wine In Your Wine Cellar?

To answer this you would have to consider many factors. What wine is it? What is the drinkability window? Is it already aged or not? These are questions that would tell you the approximate length of time that you should keep your wine in the wine cellar. An estimated 1 to 10 years is the general lifespan of an unopened bottle of wine. Here are a few estimates to give you an idea.

  • A Cabernet Sauvignon – has a 7 to 10 year lifespan.
  • A Pinot Noir – has a 5 year lifespan.
  • A Merlot – has a 3 to 5 year lifespan.
  • A Zinfandel – has a 2 to 5 year lifespan.
  • A Chardonnay – has a 2 to 7 year lifespan.
  • A Riesling – has a 3 to 5 year lifespan.
  • A Sauvignon Blanc – has a 1 year 6 months to 2 year lifespan.
  • A Pinot Gris – has a 1 to 2 year lifespan.

Wines that last longer are not always considered better because although ageing does change the wine, whether or not it degrades or improves the wine during this time is arguable.