How Long Does an Open Bottle of Wine Last

We've all been there. That moment you apprehensively sniff a bottle of wine that's been open for a few days, hoping it's still fit for drinking.

In most cases, there's only a short window of time (usually less than a week) to savour a delicious bottle of wine before it can start to smell and taste like something you'd use to dress a salad.

Once a bottle of wine has been opened, it’s immediately exposed to the elements — oxygen, heat, light and bacteria. Oxidation, a chemical reaction that occurs when the wine is exposed to air, will alter its colour, aroma and taste over time, rendering it unpalatable.

To slow the oxidation process and prevent bacteria growth and spoilage, open bottles of wine should be appropriately stored and consumed within a reasonable time frame.

Here at Nepenthe, we believe that wine is made for sharing, so the idea of a lonely half-bottle slowly deteriorating breaks our wine-loving hearts.

So we’ve pulled together this handy guide so you can keep that open bottle of vino as fresh and flavourful for as long as possible.

Bottle and glass of Nepenthe Pinot Noir with salmon and salad


How long does red wine last once opened?

The lifespan of an opened bottle of red wine can be influenced by different factors, including the wine's quality, grape variety, age, and storage conditions.

Lighter Red wines with softer tannins, like Pinot Noir, should be stored in the fridge once opened and consumed within a day or two.

Bold and heavy varietals, like Shiraz or Cabernet Sauvignon, can last a little longer, especially if they have been aged. These wines should be stored in a cool, dark place and consumed within five days.

If you notice any signs of spoilage, such as a vinegary or musty smell, it’s best to discard the wine.


How long does white wine last once opened?

White wine tends to languish faster than red wine as its delicate flavours make it more susceptible to oxidation and spoilage. In truth, white wine is best consumed on the day of opening as its flavours can be noticeably different after 24 hours.

An open bottle of white wine should be tightly sealed, stored in the refrigerator, and consumed within two to three days.


How long does rosé wine last once opened?

Like white wine, the light fruity flavours of rosé should be enjoyed on the day of opening. After a day, rosé will begin to oxidise, affecting its aroma and taste. After 3-4 days, you may also notice the wine start to turn a deeper shade of pink.

An open bottle of rosé typically lasts 3-4 days if sealed and stored in the refrigerator.


How long does sparkling wine last once opened?

Sparkling wine begins to lose its fizzy vibrancy soon after it’s been opened, so it’s best to enjoy that within the first day or two.

When sealed with a proper sparkling wine stopper, your open bottle of bubbles should last up to two days in the fridge.

The type of sparkling wine may influence whether it has more staying power. For example, a sparkling wine made using Méthode Traditionnelle (traditional method), where the wine’s bubbles are created inside the bottle, e.g. Champagne or Cava may last longer than sparkling wines made using the tank (or Charmat) method like Prosecco or Moscato.


How to tell if wine has gone bad

  • Smell: If a bottle of wine has passed its prime, it will have a sharp, vinegar-like odour.
  • Colour: Red wine will develop a brown tinge, rosé will turn a darker shade of pink, and white wine will turn a deeper shade of yellow.
  • Taste: This is the most definitive way to know whether your open bottle of wine is still palatable. If the wine tastes too acidic or is flat (sparkling wine), it's probably best to discard it.


For more information on the correct way to store wine, check out our Guide to cellaring wine.