The shelf life of an open bottle of wine can vary greatly and may come down to personal preference. It can depend on the type of wine, the storage conditions, and the storage temperature. This article will discuss how long open wine can last in the fridge, offering some tips on preserving the best quality of the drink.
I. Overview of Open Wine Storage
When storing an open bottle of wine in the fridge, it is important to understand the factors influencing the lifetime of the opened bottle. Keeping an open bottle of wine in the fridge can extend its lifetime by slowing down oxidation and spoilage.
- Temperature - Optimal temperatures for open wine storage range between 33°F - 50°F (0.5°C - 10°C). Wine stored outside this temperature range can cause off-flavors from the oxidation caused by the temperature.
- Light & Oxygen - Storing wine bottles upright is recommended to limit its exposure to oxygen. Keeping wine bottles in a dark place such as the back of your refrigerator or in a dark cupboard can also keep it fresher.
- Time – Most wines that have been opened and stored in an appropriate manner will last for 1-3 days in the refrigerator.
When using a wine stopper to reseal an opened bottle, it is exact to remove as much air from the bottle as possible to minimize oxidation. Wine should also be stored at the bottom of the fridge away from the coldest area to prevent the formation of tartrate crystals which form when the wine becomes too cold.
Not all wines are meant for long-term storage. Sparkling wines, light-bodied wines and some sweet wines start degrading shortly after opening and cannot be stored for long in the fridge. Red wines such as cabernet sauvignon, pinot noir, and zinfandel can typically last for 3-5 days.
II. Factors Affecting Open Wine Shelf Life
1. Temperature: The temperature of the refrigerator affects the shelf life of open wines. Storing open bottles of wine at temperatures of 40-65°F (4-18°C) can help maximize the shelf life. Additionally, try to keep the temperature of the wine steady and avoid fluctuations such as opening and closing the refrigerator door frequently.
2. Exposure to Sunlight: Sunlight is one of the biggest enemies of open wines and can drastically decrease the shelf life. To preserve open wine, store it in a dark and dry environment.
3. Air Exposure: When the bottle is already open, removing as much air as possible from the bottle can help extend its shelf life. There are specially designed wine-preservation systems that pump nitrogen or argon gas into bottles of wine to help prevent oxidation.
4. Type of Wine: Different types of wine may have different shelf lives when opened. Generally, red wines have a longer open shelf life compared to white wines. For example, a full-bodied red wine such as a Cabernet Sauvignon or Syrah can maintain its taste and quality for 3 to 5 days. On the other hand, a lighter white wine such as a Sauvignon Blanc may only stay drinkable for 1 to 2 days.
5. Storing the Bottle: It is best to store an opened bottle of wine upright in the fridge, as the wine will not come into contact with the cork and thus prevent bacteria growth. Additionally, ensure that there is minimal contact with the oxygen in the refrigerator, and never leave the bottle out of the refrigerator for more than 1 hour.
III. Estimating Open Wine Shelf Life in the Refrigerator
Prolonging the shelf life of open wine in the refrigerator is an effective way to ensure its quality. The shelf life of open white wine, both dry and sweet, is on average 8-10 days. Red or rosé wine, on the other hand, typically lasts around 5-7 days.
When storing wine in the refrigerator, it is important to ensure that it is not exposed to living air. A vacuum sealer is the best way to ensure that the wine is properly sealed. Additionally, the wine should be stored at a temperature between 37 and 45°F and there should be no humidity present.
- For optimal utilization, keep the refrigerated, open wine away from direct light.
- Wine stored in the refrigerator should not stay there for longer than 3 weeks.
- For extended storage, canned wine can last up to 6 months.
IV. Tips for Extending Freshness of Open Wine
When opened, wine gradually oxidizes and begins to develop an unpleasant taste within several days. To ensure the quality of your drink and to extend its freshness, there are several tips one can follow.
- Cover the bottle with foil. This is the most efficient way to keep the oxygen out. It should also help protect the bottle from accidentally being knocked over if you store it in the fridge.
- Fill the bottle with inert gas. This displaces oxygen and keeps your drink fresh for about a week. You can buy nitrous oxide, nitrogen, and argon cartridges from speciality wine shops. Refill them as needed to ensure that there is no air in the bottle.
- Store the bottle on the door or exhausted shelves. These are the warmest parts of the fridge, and therefore they’ll affect the taste and freshness of wine the least. Avoid storing opened bottles on sections with cold air, as this will significantly reduce the lifespan of your wine.
Additionally, you can purchase special vacuum pumps, stoppers and bags that have been developed to slow down the oxidation process when wine is exposed to air. The effectiveness of these methods depends on the amount of oxygen that the pump is able to extract from the bottle.
- Choose sweeter wines. Wines with higher levels of residual sugar tend to last longer than dry wines. Their higher sugar levels mask the oxidation process that affects the taste.
It is important to remember that the duration of an open bottle of wine in the fridge depends on its quality, and the method of opening and containment used to store it. Wine will last longer if stored correctly. Further research into the duration of open wines in the fridge may help you determine an appropriate timeline for drinking.