Wine can last for substantially longer periods. Its shelf life largely depends on whether it is opened or not. Nothing tastes better than aged wine; so, they say.

I personally haven’t, but I hear a sip of a 1983 bottle of wine is sweeter than one made in the last decade. If that was the case, then it explains a lot about the exorbitant pricing. It is almost a luxury to have to drink a glass of old wine.

Wine; red or white, has their sell by dates. If kept in favorable conditions, it has a really long lifespan. And, the longer it stays the more value it attracts. Even so, with its age, wine can easily go bad once exposed to the wrong temperatures or light.

Red wine is light-hating, whilst white wine is heat-hating. That is why, most red wine bottles are dull and translucent as white wine is kept in cold storage even at drinking point.

How Long Does Wine Last?

The time wine will take before it goes bad depends on whether it is opened or unopened.

Opened Wine

As you would have expected, this type of wine has a shorter shelf life. Importantly, the particular type of opened wine has a role in determining how long it will stay without going bad.

Generally, you can expect to have the varieties of lighter wine to go bad faster than those that are darker. Remember, the moment you open wine, you leave it exposed to many things, from oxygen, light, yeast, and even bacteria, all of which can affect the quality of your wine. This is because of the chemical reactions when the wine is opened and exposed to all the factors.

You can keep wineunder lower temperatures. This way, the rate at which the chemical reactions take place is slowed. Also, you can have your wine stay fresher for a longer period. Notably, these chemical reactions contribute to some changes in flavor you might experience.

So, what is the estimated shelf life of different kinds of opened wine? If you have opened your sparkling wine, you can have it for around 1-2 days without going bad. On the other hand, light white wine will take 4-5 days when opened before it spoils.

Moreover, rich white wine will last for 3-5 days, while red wine will take 3-6 days before going bad. Dessert wine, on the other hand, has a shelf life of 3 days to a week before it spoils. Lastly, the type of wine with the longest shelf life once opened is port wine; it can stay anywhere between 1 to 3 weeks.

Different types of opened wine vary in their shelf life. However, regardlessof its type, the moment you open that wine bottle, always ensure you seal it tightly before putting it in a refrigerator. This will help you prolong its shelf life.

Unopened Wine

Unlike opened wine, unopened wine can stay for a longer period before it goes bad. However, the ability of it having a longer shelf life does not dispute the fact that it can still go bad. What happens when you don’t open your wine, and yet the expiry date printed reaches? Should you get rid of it? On the contrary, if you can smell and taste it, feel it is still okay; there is no need to discard it.

Just like opened wine, the type of wine plays an important role in determining its shelf life. How you store your wine is also key as it can help dictate how long it can last. So, what is the shelf life of some common types of wine?

White wine can be okay even after 1-2 years after the expiry date printed. On the other hand, red wine can stay way up to 2-3 years after the expiry date printed on it. Cooking wine, on its end, can stay anywhere around 3-5 years past the expiration date printed. Lastly, if you store fine well properly in a wine cellar, it can take anywhere between10 to 20 years.

Therefore, if you keep the general rule of storing your wine in a cool, dark place and place the bottle on the sides, so the cork doesn’t dry out, you can help prolong the shelf life of your wine.

Signs That Your Wine Has Gone Bad

How can you tell if your wine, whether opened or unopened, has gone bad? One of the ways to do so is by checking the expiry date printed. Alternatively, you can be keen on the color; is there a change? Does the color look weird from how it was before? When your wine color changes, it implies that it has been subjected to excessive exposure to oxygen.

For instance, has your purple, red, or other dark-colored wine changed to a brownish color? Has the color of your lighter wine changed to a golden color or any that you can’t see through? This is evidence that your wine is spoilt, and all you should do is discard it.

Another thing you can consider to know if your wine is okay or not is the smell. Opened wine that is stale can have a sharp smell that is almost similar to that of vinegar. At times, the smell can resemble that of a burnt marshmallow.On the other hand, if unopened wine has gone bad, it will smell like garlic or burnt rubber.

If you feel like tasting the wine for confirmation, you can freely do so in small amounts without attractingharm. However, you shouldn’t drink bad wine.


Just like any other beverage or food, wine can also go bad. However, the shelf life depends on several things, the type of wine, the way you store it, and whether it is opened or not. Also, the taste and quality of wine change due to various chemical reactions brought by exposure to oxygen, light, bacterial growth, among others. Moreover, there are different ways to tell if your wine is bad or still okay. It can be smelling it, looking at the color change, or tasting a very small amount.

Mental health expert
MS, University of Latvia

I am deeply convinced that each patient needs a unique, individual approach. Therefore, I use different psychotherapy methods in my work. During my studies, I discovered an in-depth interest in people as a whole and the belief in the inseparability of mind and body, and the importance of emotional health in physical health. In my spare time, I enjoy reading (a big fan of thrillers) and going on hikes.

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