Leftover wine is rare, but it does happen. You open a bottle of wine with dinner and as your night winds down, you realize that you still have some wine left over. Rather than push yourself to finish the bottle and regret that decision in the morning, you put the bottle in the refrigerator with the best of intentions.
Can Wine Go Bad?
Unfortunately, wine can go bad by oxidizing and become dull. While small amounts of air can help a wine come together and embody its flavors, oxygen is also the enemy. Wine is perishable, like fresh fruit and once it collides with air, it starts to deteriorate quickly.
For How Long Does Each Type of Wine Last Once Opened?
- Sparkling Wine has a lifespan of 24 hours; just like carbonated pop, once opened it will start to go flat. Plan to finish a bottle of sparkling wine and champagne the same night you open it.
- White Wine can retain freshness for 1-3 days after opening. White Wine is primarily consumed for fresh fruit flavors, and these fade quickly once opened. Heavier wines (like oaky Chardonnay) tend to last longer than Riesling or Sauvignon Blanc.
- Rosé Wine can last in the refrigerator for about 1-3 days. Lighter rosés are like white wines and will fade quickly. Some fuller-bodied wines will still taste fine after a few days.
- Light-bodied Red Wine will deteriorate within 1-3 days. Lighter reds are built around the freshness of fruit and fade quickly.
- Full-bodied Red Wine may even improve after being open for a day or two. However, after 2-5 days, the fruit and aromas will fade.
- Dessert Wines can last 7-14+ days because of the high alcohol and sugar content. These elements act as preservatives that can fight the oxygen process more so than the other wines.
How Can You Maximize the Time of Your Opened Wine?
Regardless of whether you’re drinking a red or white wine, refrigerate the wine if you don’t plan to finish the bottle that night. Sticking the cork back in the bottle will not stop the wine from losing its flavors and aroma, but it will help to limit the amount of oxygen that gets back into the bottle. There are also bottle stoppers that can help if you can’t get the cork back in. There are tools that most stores, including ours, carry that will help to vacuum the oxygen from the bottle, which will certainly help to slow the deterioration process.
Even if your wine gets too old to enjoy, it can't hurt you. While the wine will lose its flavor and become flat, it won't turn toxic. You can even plan to use leftover wine for cooking if you want to be resourceful.