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How Long Can You Leave a Bottle of Wine Open?

An opened bottle of wine and a wine glass


For some, the idea of ever having leftover wine may seem like a joke, but for those who only fancy a small glass or two a night, or find that they have half a bottle left after a party may find themselves unsure of what to do with their remaining wine. Many people either keep the wine in the fridge door for a day or decide to immediately demote the bottle to cooking wine, but how long will wine actually last if you store it properly?

Last year, wine retailer Laithwaite’s conducted a study into wine waste, finding that approximately two glasses of wine are thrown away each week from the average UK household. This equates to the total of 3.1 billion glasses a year, which would be enough to fill up a whopping 333 Olympic-sized pools! This research suggested that the main reason wine drinkers were pouring the wine away was that they were not sure how long the wine could be kept once opened.

The biggest victim in this is sparkling wine, with 69 million bottles worth of bubbly going down the sink each year, after 31 percent of respondents stated that they thought wines such as Prosecco, Cava or even Champagne could only be left open for between one and five hours!

How long can wine be left open and how should it be stored?

There certainly isn’t just one set rule for how long all wine can last, as the amount of time is dependent on the type and quality of the particular bottle you’ve selected from your wine rack. Generally speaking, the average bottle of wine is likely to stay fresh for about three or four days. After this time, oxygen begins to impact on the flavour of the wine, and it will begin to deteriorate. When it comes to how long the wine can remain opened, the style of winemaking has a much bigger impact than the colour of the wine. Take a look at the guide below to help you gain an idea of how long each wine type can be kept and how it should be stored.

Sparkling Wine

Sparkling wine, such as Prosecco or Cava, has the shortest ‘lifespan’ of all the wine types, but should still last between one and three days if it is sealed with a cork and stored upright in the fridge. 


Champagne

Champagne, as a quality wine, can usually last a little longer if stored properly; between three and five days. To keep Champagne in its best condition, stopper the top with a wine stopper, or alternatively, cover the top of the bottle with some cling film and hold it in place with an elastic band. Champagne should be stored in the fridge.


White and Rose Wine

White and Rosé wines can last between three and five days if stored in the fridge with the cork replaced.


Lighter White and Rose Wine

Lighter wines can actually last for up to a week when stored in the fridge.


Red Wine

Red wines should have the cork replaced, and stored in a cool, dark place. Here it will remain perfectly drinkable for between three and five days. Some people believe that red wine cannot be kept in the fridge, but this is a myth, and can be if there is no other suitable place!


Fortified Wine

Fortified wines, such as Port, Madeira, or Sherry, last the longest. If the cork is replaced and the bottles are stored in a cool and dark place, then these wines can keep for at least a month!

Glass of white wine

How can you reduce wine waste?

One simple way of reducing the amount of wine tipped away, is to invest in a slightly better quality wine than you may usually opt for, especially if you enjoy a weekday tipple and are only looking to have a glass or two a night. Quality wines will last longer, and taste better over a number of days, compared with a cheaper wine, allowing you to get more out of each bottle. Plus, if you’ve spent a little more on a great tasting, quality bottle, you are less likely to want to just throw it away.

Another way of reducing waste and making your wine last longer is to consider drinking a fortified wine, such as Sherry or Port. These can last for weeks, if kept with the lid or cork on, making it a great alternative if you’re not looking to finish a bottle in one go!

You can also make wine last longer and reduce waste by ensuring that the bottle is kept in an upright position when it is being stored. Doing this lowers the surface area that is exposed to oxygen, which contributes to wine spoiling at a faster rate. Finally, when hosting a party with wine on offer, only open one bottle at a time, rather than uncorking the number of bottles you think you may need. There are bound to be a couple of half-full bottles remaining at the end if all are opened at once!

 

Do you have any other tips for making wine last longer and reducing wine waste? Let us know via our social media channels! 


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