How long does wine last after you open it?

How Long Does Wine Last after opening?

While drinking wine can be a wonderful experience - sometimes I can't commit to the whole bottle.

Sometimes - I just want a glass with dinner on Tuesday. When this happens, I'm left with a half bottle of wine that could end up going down the drain.

This is a bottle I paid for with hard earned money.

Honestly - as both an engineer and a sustainability focused consumer - I don't like to watch things wasted. Luckily - you can keep track of how long wine has been opened and use a mixture of techniques and products to make it last longer.

"So then... How long does your wine stay fresh after opening normally?"

Wine begins to lose its charm 3 days after opening. Wine that has been open for 7+ days is typically unpleasant. EVEN IF KEPT IN THE FRIDGE. 

 Why wine spoils

"OKAY - but can I keep my wine fresh longer?"


You can extend the life of your wine for weeks by preventing oxidation. You prevent oxidation by displacing oxygen with the ArT Wine Preserver.


"Sounds good but... What else can I do to protect my wine for free?"


We discuss free tips and tricks with the 4 Ways to Store Open Bottles of Wine below. You can and should use these techniques even if you use our argon wine preserver. 


These freebies will buy you an additional day.


Do the color or varietal of my wine affect how long it lasts?

Specifically - it is fairly difficult to predict the exact rate of spoiling by wines. Generally white wines in the fridge last longer than red wines left out.

For example, open bottles of Pinot Noir wine can spoil in less than 3 days. Many fragile white wines spoil over night if not refrigerated. Some heavy fortified wines can last a few weeks after opening.

Red and white wines that are open will last three longer when preserved properly with ArT Wine Preservation, and even longer if combined with other preservation techniques.

But First - Why Wine Goes Bad


About 20% of the air we breath is oxygen - which is great because this allows us to breath. However - oxygen is highly reactive. In fact, a process known as oxidation occurs in most foods which changes the food itself.


An example of rapid oxidation in fruits: Apple Slices


Apples are an example of fruits that rapidly oxidize from bright white to brown within hours.Apples are an example of fruits that rapidly oxidize from bright white to brown within hours.


When you cut open an apple, it begins to brown. This occurs because the oxygen in the air is oxidizing the exposed apple. Oxidation causes the apple to brown. The texture and flavors of the apple change - in an unpleasant way. 


When oxygen touches the wine - it oxidizes and degrades the wine. An open bottle of wine will rapidly change, in a bad way, after opening.


Okay - so what can we do now?


Well - if we know oxygen causes the problem. Can we just remove the oxygen?We could suck out all the air and that would remove the oxygen - right?


The answer is that unfortunately, sucking out oxygen for wine is not practical. 


Sucking out the air is difficult and won't selectively pull out the oxygen. At best, a hand vacuum will reduce the oxygen content in the bottle itself and at worst it will suck out the aromas of the wine with the air.


What is the point of drinking flat wine?

There is a better way - You can push the oxygen away.

How would be do that?

By introducing a heavy, non-reactive gas into the open bottle such as the noble gas argon.


...Not that kind of noble

This is a picture of the nobleman Sir Godfrey Kneller.

Not to be confused with the Noble Gas Argon. 

For this "noble" argon to work - it would have to be

1) Heavy but not too heavy

Heavier than oxygen, but lighter than the aromas and liquid. That way - argon will form a layer right above the wine and protects it from oxidation.


2) Completely benign and safe to touch our food/wine.

...Oh wait!

Argon happens to meet this criteria.

That is why wineries will pay extra money to use pure argon over other cheaper gases or vacuums.

A better method for preserving wine - one used heavily in the food and wine industry - is to displace the oxygen using a heavy non-reactive gas. 

Let me take a second to give an example of argon use in the wine bottling process... 

...or you can skip to the summary at the bottom.

When wine is bottled - an empty bottle full of air and oxygen is waiting to be filled with wine. If you were a winemaker - you wouldn't want to put your wine into a bottle full of air - would you? That can cause pre-mature oxidation of the wine you worked hard to make.


So here's the winemaker trick:

If you spray argon into the bottle, the oxygen is pushed out the top. You can then fill the bottle with wine - without the risk of oxygen degrading your hard work. A winemaker will then top off with argon before corking.

Here's another fun fact:

That little space between the cork and liquid? It is probably argon - or at least something very similar. Not a vacuum, not empty space - because that just doesn't work in practice. 

A winemaker will bottle using argon as a "filler" to prevent oxygen from degrading your wine while it patiently awaits you to drink it. 

To summarize why wine goes bad:


Oxygen is present in the air. Oxygen starts degrading the wine as soon as you open the bottle.
If you displace the oxygen using argon - no oxidation & your wine stays fresh. No spoiling. Technique used by winemakers.

How "bad" is this bad wine?

While wine does go "bad" as quickly as 3 days after opening, bad wine that has been open longer probably won't harm you.

Keep in mind, by day 7 almost all wine becomes "bad". Wine goes bad due to a rapid degradation in the presence of air known as oxidation (oxygen reacting with the wine).


Though bad wine probably won't harm you, it is certainly unpleasant. 


Red, white, and fortified wines all oxidize in the presence of the air. This causes the wine to go bad (see the explanation above). Preventing oxidation using ArT Wine Preserver and simple techniques can prevent wine from going bad.

With that all said - if the wine is smells worse than spoiled milk - its probably not worth drinking.


Need more wine basics? Check out our Wine Guide below!