QUESTION: What is the shelf life of wine after the bottle is opened? How long will the wine be drinkable? 

This will vary based on the grape(s) used and the age of the wine.  Once a cork is pulled (or cap unscrewed), the wine will start to react to the oxygen.  To slow this process, the only good home solution is to reduce that process. This can be done by transferring the wine to a smaller bottle that has less oxygen contact, but the best thing is to put the wine in a refrigerator which will slow the process down.

There are very few wines that taste better on the second day and none that don’t show signs of degradation by the third day.  I would recommend drinking the wine within 48 hours of opening.  But, here’s the thing.  Suppose the bottle has been left on the counter for 4 days.  If you want a glass of wine, then, by all means try it.  If it is enjoyable, then drink it.  Just have a backup plan ready. Loren Sonkin is an Featured Contributor and the Founder/Winemaker at Sonkin Cellars

In our house 20 minutes, then we open the next! Actually, it depends. A young, high alcohol new world wine may be good for three or four days, just with the cork pushed back in. Old world, more natural wine, without preservatives, will only really be good the next day but not the day after. Of course, some really old wines don’t last beyond a few minutes, while others last a few hours. It all depends and there is no way to know.

There are some very good ways to keep wines open longer. Devices like the VacuVin [which pumps air out of the bottle] and Wine Keeper [which replaces oxygen with neutral inert argon gas]. Keeping a wine refrigerated helps prolong the life of any open bottle by a few days. Madeira will never go off. Port, depends on the age and whether it was bottle or cask aged. LBV and Vintage [both bottle aged] live for a few weeks once opened [people who say a Vintage Port must be drunk with 24 to 48 hours are talking nonsense]. Mature wood aged tawny Ports age for several months. Bartholomew Broadbent, CEO of Broadbent Selections


To provide diverse, unbiased, and independent advice, Bartholomew and Loren answer all user submitted questions without consulting one another. Sometimes they agree, sometimes they don't. Always interesting though. Have a wine question for them? Submit it via our Contact Us form