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How long can I keep an open bottle of wine?

Saving some for later? Know how long your opened wine will keep for. Photo: Wine Selectors
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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 a night though, this guide will help make the most of those delectable drops before their flavours fade.

What causes wine to degrade?

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 wine fresh for longer by slowing the oxidisation process and postponing spoilage.

Open wine also risks developing acetic acid bacteria that 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.

Sparkling wines

Expect to get a couple of days from sparkling once opened, using a stopper.

Unsurprisingly, once popped Champagne, prosecco, sparkling whites and sparkling reds quickly lose their carbonation or fizz.

Use a sparkling wine stopper and store the bottle in the fridge for no more than two days.

Light white wines

Sealed and stored in the fridge, light whites should last a couple of days.

The lightweight whites such as 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

Enjoy full-bodied whites for up to three days after opening when sealed and refrigerated.

When sealed with a screw cap, cork or stopper and stored in the fridge, three days is the general use-by for a rosé or full-bodied white, such as 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 wines

Seal and store your reds in the fridge or cool, dark place to enjoy later.

When sealed and stored in a cool, dark place or a fridge, red wines such as shiraz, cabernet sauvignon, merlot and malbec can last for about four days.

As a general rule, red wines with higher tannin and acidity tend to last longer once opened.

Fortified wines

Fortified wines can stay fresh up to 28 days after opening when sealed tight.

Thanks to the addition of brandy during the blending process, vintage fortified wines, tawny, muscat and topaque can stay fresh for up to 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.

Want to know more?

Wine Selectors’ Adam Walls talks you through how long an open bottle of wine lasts in this video explainer.

Click through for this and other wine tips!