There are a few questions that you can never seem to answer — no matter how long you’ve been a functioning ‘adult’. Perhaps the most important of those questions: How long wine lasts after it is opened? The idiom “aged like a fine wine” doesn’t apply to open bottles, but while other consumables have clearly marked expiration or ‘best by’ dates, wine often remains a mystery.
Unfortunately, we can’t solve that mystery for you. Every wine is different. A more natural wine might go bad in a day, but a highly tannic red wine might last for a week. While we can’t give you a solid answer, we can help you make that open bottle of wine last.
To increase your chance of extended-wine-survival, we recommend two things:
First, recork that bad boy.
Second, throw it in the fridge.
By re-sealing and refrigerating your wine, you are limiting its exposure to its greatest enemies: oxygen, heat and light. Follow these rules diligently and that bottle could last up to five days! Best practices suggest that you recork (or seal with a stopper) your wine between glasses too — every bit of protection against oxygen helps!
Oxygen, heat and light can corrupt the integrity and flavor profile of even the finest (or cheapest) wine. Winemakers and sellers take great care to protect their product from these environmental enemies.
On the larger, wine production and storage scale, this is where stainless steel wine barrels and fermentation tanks come in. Skolnik stainless steel wine drums are opaque, easily climate-controlled and offer winemakers a superior seal, keeping their wine fresh and acting as a sort of stasis chamber, preserving the flavor profile they so purposefully crafted. Oak wine barrels might be romantic, but they are hardly pragmatic when it comes to protecting wine from the perils of environment.
The winemaker carefully crafted a delicious batch of wine and painstakingly protected it until it was ready to put out in the world. The seller or restaurateur dutifully preserved and respected the product. You are the final link in the chain of custody. Wine is a precious thing. Do what you can to properly savor it and save it.