Depending on the type of wine and method of storage, most wines will last for three to five days after opening. Once a wine goes bad, it won’t taste good, though it also won’t be harmful. There are two causes for wine going bad after opening. One is the consumption of the alcohol by acetic acid bacteria, causing the wine to develop a sharp, vinegar-like smell. The other is oxidation of the alcohol, causing a “bruised” fruit taste. So exactly how long do different wines retain their freshness and flavors? See the guide below, broken down by type of wine:
Sweet White, Light White, and Rose Wine:
If kept refrigerated and resealed with a cork, these wines should last for 5-7 days. As the wine oxidizes in the first few days, you’ll notice a slight change in taste and a less pronounced fruit flavor, but these should remain drinkable for up to a week.
Full Bodied White Wine:
Oaked wines such as Chardonnay will oxidize quickly due to their aging process. If corked and refrigerated, they should keep for 3-5 days at most.
If you use a special stopper made for sparkling wine, these wines will stay fresh and retain some carbonation for 1-3 days. A traditional Champagne may last another day since they are bottled with a larger amount of bubbles.
The lighter red wines won’t last as long after opening as the richer, more full-bodied reds. Generally, the more tannic wines will last longer, and may even improve after the first day. Reds will last 3-5 days if stored in a cool dark place once open.
Wines such as Sherry or Port will last up to a month after opening, if kept sealed and cool. The brandy added to these wines aids in keeping them fresh longer. As a general rule, the sweeter the wine, the longer it will last once opened.