Ask Whit: Leftovers

by whitney on September 30, 2012

Ask Whit is back! Today we have a question from the lovely Aeshna about the shelf life of an opened bottle of wine. There’s no one right answer, but I’ll try my best!

Q: “How long can you keep wine after opening it before it goes off?┬áThank you!” -Aeshna


A: It’s different for every bottle. I play the how long will this wine stay drinkable game all the time by keeping opened bottles in the fridge for weeks sometimes just to see and it can be surprising. I can tell you that some styles of wine more than others can better handle being exposed to oxygen- Rieslings with their classic high acidity combined with higher RS (residual sugar), fortified wines and dessert wines like Madeira or Port, purposefully oxidized whites like Sherry or wines from Rioja or the Jura. I’ve also found that some wines fermented and aged in amphora have this magical ability to withstand the elements and can be open for several days and still taste very good.

But with everyday bottles, a couple of days open is usually fine. More than two days is when some wines start to fall flat. My main tip is put the cork all the way back in the bottle to the point where you’ll need a corkscrew to open it again. And put it in the fridge, whether it is red or white.

Photo taken at Ronco del Gnemiz, April 2012

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Scott Burau October 1, 2012 at 10:35 am

What do you think of the VacuVin pump? A friend of mine swears by it, but I usually just jam the cork back into the bottle when holding on to something…

whitney October 1, 2012 at 1:58 pm

i don’t have one but i’m sure it does some good! i’ve used them at work many times, but i’ve never had a problem with my old school approach. no tools necessary!

Molly Elmore October 2, 2012 at 6:17 am

I got these “bags” to transport wine when camping (they are called Platypus PlatyPreserve) and have found there are the perfect solution to storing a half full bottle of wine at home. Since air is the enemy of preserving wine, these bags allow you to expel all the air, which is simply not possible with those little pump things. You can keep the bag of wine in the fridge but I prefer to keep my reds in a cool place like the basement vs. the really cold fridge (I am too impatient to wait for a red to warm up from fridge temp). I have no connection at all with this company other than being a very happy customer.

whitney October 2, 2012 at 9:01 am

that’s a great idea actually!

Aeshna October 2, 2012 at 11:09 pm

Thanks so much, Whitney! This is most helpful.

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