How long can open wine be stored?
This is a question often asked by sommeliers when it comes to storing an already opened bottle of wine. Can open wine wait a couple of days or weeks, and what is the general shelf life of an uncorked bottle?
Unfortunately, the answer to this question disappoints many. Generally, it is recommended to drink the wine on the same day and not keep it for more than a day, but those wines that you have kept in the fridge since last weekend, a month or, God forbid, a year, you just have to pour it out and not drink it.
Of course, there are exceptions and there are a couple of tips on how to extend the life of an unused wine, but first you need to find out to which group the drink belongs.
Young light wine – it can be white, rosé and even light red wine, the age of which does not exceed five years. Freshness and initial aromas are essential for such wines, which evaporate very quickly in contact with oxygen. Of course, such wine will not turn into vinegar or poison, but it will lose its aromas and freshness of taste, but there will be no sign of the original light charm if you drink the wine the next day.
Sparkling wines. In general, wines with bubbles are also recommended to be drunk immediately, because the wine loses not only its light bouquet, but also the charming bubbles. And believe me, the trick with the spoon in the neck of the bottle will not help you. The only thing that can extend the life of your champagne is high quality and longer aging (more than a year), when the persistence of the bubbles is determined by the duration of the wine’s second fermentation in the bottle.
There is also the other extreme – very old champagnes have an extremely fragile structure and therefore it is better not to risk, but to enjoy the drink immediately after opening it.
If you own more aged wines that have been in oak barrels, or wines made from withered grapes, and you have recently acquired them and the wine has not yet had time to rest and mature in the bottle, then such wines will only benefit from aeration, that is, saturation of the wine with oxygen.
Sometimes it happens that the wine that has not been drunk the next day becomes even more aromatic and acquires a more interesting bouquet and taste. Of course, such wines can be kept open for a couple of days, but it is preferable to close the bottle and put it in a cool place. But take care of it and don’t forget to drink it soon so you don’t lose the precious bouquet.
Sweet dessert wines are less capricious and more durable in storage due to the high concentration of sugar, which is a natural preservative, and also due to their saturated structure. However, you should not keep an uncorked bottle of sweet wine indefinitely, four to five days is the optimal time, after which it will lose its aroma like other wines.
Fortified wines – sherry, port, madeira, marsala and other drinks to which grape alcohol has been added during the production process and whose alcohol content is 15-22% can be stored for several weeks, sometimes even months. Some winemakers claim that their wines can be stored for several years, so it is not uncommon for a wine cork to be supplied with a special cork in the shape of a mushroom to make it easier for the user to re-cork the bottle for later.
If the bottle is not drank all the way through…
If the wine is left over and it was not possible to drink it right away, there are several options to extend the life of the drink.
As a minimum, the bottle should be corked with the same cork or a special substitute and placed in a cool, dark place. Most often – in the refrigerator. However, it is not a very secure method. In this way, you will only slow down the oxidation process, but will not prevent the loss of aroma and taste.
With the help of a special wine vacuum pump, you can pump the air out of the bottle, thus slowing down the oxidation of the wine. This method will give you a longer-lasting result, prolonging the storage of the wine up to 4-5 days, however, it does not guarantee the perfect quality of the drink, especially if it is a new wine.
I recommend getting acquainted with an innovative solution – the Zzysh device, which allows wine – both still and sparkling – to retain its flavors and aromatic properties for up to several weeks after opening. This is possible thanks to special corks and gas cylinders with argon, which replace the air in the bottle without oxidizing its contents, because argon, as the name itself suggests, is an inert gas. You can read more about Zzysh here.
And finally – you can not open the bottle of wine at all, but using another professional device Coravin, with the help of a needle and an argon cylinder, pour yourself exactly as much wine as you are in the mood to drink at this time, leaving the rest in the bottle for storage as long as you like. According to the creators of this system, the wine can be stored as long as it was originally intended. Learn more about the Coravin machine here.
If you have doubts about how to properly serve or store wine, I recommend consulting a wine specialist or seller so that you can enjoy the drink to the fullest.