Written through Cheri Bantilan MS, RD, CD on January 13, 2020 — median reviewed through Natalie Butler, R.D., L.D.

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If you’ve ever before wondered even if it is a leftover or old party of alcohol is quiet OK to drink, you’re no alone.

While some points get much better with age, the doesn’t necessarily use to an opened up bottle that wine.

Food and beverages execute not last forever, and this hold true for wine as well.

This short article covers how long alcohol lasts, and also how come tell if your wine has actually gone bad.

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Though unopened wine has a longer shelf life than opened wine, it have the right to go bad.

Unopened wine have the right to be consumed past its printed expiration day if it smells and also tastes OK.

It’s crucial to remember the the shelf life the unopened wine counts on the kind of wine, and also how well it’s stored.

Here is a perform of common types of wine and also how long they will last unopened:

White wine: 1–2 years past the printed expiration dateRed wine: 2–3 years previous the published expiration dateCooking wine: 3–5 years previous the published expiration dateFine wine: 10–20 years, stored appropriately in a alcohol cellar

Generally, wine must be maintained in cool, dark places with bottles placed on their sides to avoid the cork from drying out.


The shelf life of unopened wine have the right to last 1–20 years depending on the type of wine.

How lengthy does opened wine last, and also why go it walk bad?

The shelf life of an opened bottle of wine varies depending on the type. In general, lighter wines go bad a lot faster than darker varieties.

Once wine is opened, it’s exposed to more oxygen, heat, light, yeast, and also bacteria, all of which can reason chemical reactions that change the quality of the alcohol (1, 2).

Storing alcohol in lower temperatures will aid slow under these chemistry reactions and keep opened up wine fresher longer.

Here is a list of typical wines and also an estimation of how long they will last once they space opened:

Sparkling: 1–2 daysLight white and rosé: 4–5 daysRich white: 3–5 daysRed wine: 3–6 daysDessert wine: 3–7 daysPort: 1–3 weeks

The best means to store opened wine is tightly sealed in the refrigerator.

Bottles the still, or non-sparkling, wine should constantly be decanted before storing.


Opened alcohol goes negative due to a collection of chemistry reactions that can readjust the smell of the wine. In general, lighter wines go poor faster 보다 darker wines. To expand the shelf life, opened wine have to be tightly sealed and also stored in the refrigerator.

Besides looking in ~ the printed expiration date, over there are indicators that her wine — both opened and also unopened — has gone bad.

The first way to check is to look for any change of color.

For the many part, dark-colored wines, such together purple and red, that revolve a brownish color, as well as light white wines that adjust to a gold or opaque color, have to be discarded.

The adjust in color typically way that the wine has actually been exposed to too much oxygen.

Unplanned fermentation can also occur, developing unwanted tiny bubbles in the wine.

Smelling your wine is likewise a great indicator of whether your wine has actually gone bad.

A alcohol that has been left open up for too lengthy will have a sharp, vinegar-like smell similar to that of sauerkraut.

Wine that has gone stale will begin to have actually a nut-like odor or smell like applesauce or scorched marshmallows.

One the other hand, wine that has never to be opened yet has gone bad will smell choose garlic, cabbage, or scorched rubber.

If you space feeling adventurous, tasting her wine is additionally a great way come tell even if it is it has gone bad. Tasting a little amount of bad wine will not cause any kind of harm.

Wine that has gone bad will have actually a spicy sour or burned applesauce flavor.

Looking in ~ the alcohol cork can likewise give girlfriend an idea.

A alcohol leak the is clearly shows in the cork or a cork pushing previous the wine party rim could be a authorize that your wine has actually undergone heat damage, i beg your pardon can reason the wine to smell and also taste duller.


There room a variety of ways to inspect whether her opened and unopened wine has gone bad. Alcohol that has experienced alters in color, emits a sour, vinegar-like smell, or has actually a sharp, sour flavor has gone bad.

While tasting a tiny amount of negative wine will not reason you any harm, the doesn’t necessarily median that you have to drink it.

Wine deserve to turn poor not only from end exposure to oxygen but also an boost in yeast and bacterial growth.

Chances room drinking poor wine might only be an extremely unpleasant, as wine has actually a low hazard of harboring microbial growth. Together such, harmful foodborne pathogens favor E. Coli and B. Cereus ⁠— two types of bacteria that can cause food poisoning ⁠— space not often a difficulty (1, 2, 3, 4, 5).

That said, bacterial growth is still possible. A study looking at the survival prices of foodborne pathogens in alcoholic beverages uncovered that they deserve to last from several days to weeks (6).

That said, this study just looked at beer and refined rice wine.

Symptoms of food poisoning include upset stomach, abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and fever (7).

Therefore, if friend come throughout bad wine, regardless of even if it is it has been opened, the finest practice is to discard it.


Drinking poor wine is not just unpleasant but may likewise expose you come harmful foodborne pathogens, though the danger is relatively low. It’s ideal to throw out negative wine, regardless of whether it has actually been opened.

Similarly to any type of other food or beverage, wine has actually a shelf life.

The best way to gain your wine new is come drink it shortly after you purchase it.

However, you deserve to still reap unopened wine about 1–5 year after the expiration date, while leftover wine can be appreciated 1–5 days after it has actually been opened, depending upon the type of wine.

You can likewise increase your wine’s freshness by storing that properly.

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The next time you discover leftover or old wine in her kitchen, examine whether it has actually gone bad before you litter it the end or drink it.