Does Wine Go Bad and How Long Will It Last After Opening

Like all food and beverages, wine has a shelf life. And if we're being honest, we usually don't have an issue with our wine's shelf life because we typically consume it right after purchase. But if perhaps you were born with more self-control than us or you happened to inherit a ton of fine old wine, we're here to share our knowledge with you about a wine's shelf life. You're welcome!  

With Bev, You Don’t Have To Worry

We're going to start by talking about ourselves because that is what we do best. Our wines come in cans, so we're a built-in portion control option that makes things easy for you, so you never have to worry about what to do with an open bottle of wine. 

Some say we're girl power in a can. As a woman-owned, woman-made product, we can see why they say that. Our girls are deliciously fizzy and single-serve at 8.4 ounces or a glass and a half, allowing you to sip on the go or have fun. We currently have five different flavor varieties that will rock your world. Bev Rose, Bev Gris, Bev Pinot, Bev Noir, and Bev Glitz. Oh, and ready for the best part? Our girls are also sugar-free. Bet you didn’t see that coming! 

Does Unopened Wine Go Bad?

Although unopened wine can last significantly longer than opened wine, unopened wine still has a shelf life. Typically, unopened wine can be enjoyed past its expiration date if it smells and tastes okay. But here's the catch: the shelf life of an unopened bottle of wine greatly varies based on the types of wine it is as well as how well it's stored. 

But, here’s the thing and we should probably acknowledge the elephant in the room: some wines are not meant to be cellared or aged. Let’s say, for example, you purchased a wine for under twenty dollars. This wine is a nice drink but the reality is, storing it correctly for a few years won’t make your wine taste better or make it worth more money. Instead, it’ll likely just spoil. 

If you happen to have found yourself with a ton of fancy, fine wine, good for you, you wine lover! But now you need to take care of your goodies! If you need some help on how to store wine properly, don't worry! We, of course, have you covered. Check out our blog post here! But, we'll give you the main takeaway here: wine should be stored in a dry, dark place, ideally on a wine rack, to maintain its delicious taste and prevent spoilage. Light is bad and so is oxygen, when it comes to wine storage! If you can't keep your bottle entirely out of the light, try to wrap them in a cloth or put them in a box that will protect them from the sun to prevent fermentation. 

Assuming wine has been well stored because you read our blog dedicated to the matter, experts, such as ourselves, suggest that white wine can last one to two years past the printed expiration date; Red wine: 2–3 years past the published expiration date; Cooking wine: 3–5 years past the printed expiration date; Fine wine: 10–20 years. 

Does Opened Wine Go Bad?

Well, yes. Of course, it does! As soon as the wine is opened, it is immediately exposed to oxygen, heat, light, yeast, and bacteria. All of these things can cause chemical reactions that significantly alter the quality of the wine. 

And of course, the shelf life of an opened bottle of wine is also dependent on what kind of wine it is. In general, lighter wines (and especially sparkling wines) are known to go bad much quicker than dark varieties. 

To extend the life of an opened bottle of wine, store your wine in lower temperatures, and tightly seal the top with a wine stopper. Doing so helps slow down the chemical reactions that cause the wine to go bad. But as a rule of thumb, here is a general estimation of how long wine lasts after they have been opened: 

  • Sparkling: 1–2 days
  • Light white and rosé: 4–5 days
  • Rich white: 3–5 days
  • Red wine: 3–6 days
  • Dessert wine: 3–7 days
  • Port: 1–3 weeks

How Can You Tell?

Besides reading the printed expiration featured on a bottle of wine, there are also a few signs to be on the lookout for both opened and unopened wine bottles. The first way to verify if your wine is bad is by looking to see a noticeable change of color. Both red and white wines change color with oxidation and are, therefore, bad. Dark-colored wines typically turn a not-so-appealing brownish color when bad, while white wines will begin to look more golden or opaque. 

Another way to verify if your wine is good or bad is by smelling your wine. A wine that has been open for far too long will have a smell that wouldn't make you want to drink it. Think sharp, vinegary smell that is similar to that of sauerkraut, because it converts to acetic acid. A wine that has become stale will also not smell great, but instead of a pungent smell, stale wines tend to have a nutty odor or smell like burnt marshmallows. A wine that has never been opened but has gone bad will smell like burnt rubber. If it has cork taint, it may smell like wet dog or wet cardboard. 

If you're an adventurous person, we don't advise this, but you can also taste your wine to verify whether it has gone bad. Tasting a little sip of bad wine won't cause you any harm other than perhaps a yucky after taste. While a small amount will not cause you harm, that doesn't mean you should drink it. Wine oxidizes (or goes bad) due to overexposure to oxygen, so you can count on an increase in yeast and bacterial growth. Therefore, drinking bad wine might not just be unpleasant, but you could find yourself with a case of food poisoning. 

With Bev, You Don’t Have To Worry

Again, if you stick to small, single-serve cans like Bev, you won't have an issue. But if you decide to venture out to live your sommelier dreams, there are plenty of methods to keep your wine delicious for many years!