How long does wine last?

It’ll no doubt be the question that’s right on the tip of every wine lover’s tongue, and when you take the time to create a custom label for your favourite vintage it becomes even more pressing. Don’t get us wrong, we certainly don’t blame you for wanting to get to the bottom of this conundrum, it’s just that we already know the answer, so we know there’s nothing to worry about. Don’t believe us? Just take a look at the following wise words if you want to set your mind at ease once and for all…


Uncorking your wine makes a big difference

Okay, so you don’t have to be a wine connoisseur to guess this because really it’s just common sense. That said, the key question is how long does wine last once you’ve popped it open?


The short answer is that it depends on what type of wine you’ve treated yourself to, but we know you’re the detail-orientated sort of person who wants to be able to put a number on things. After all it’s no use splashing out your hard earned money on a prime vintage only to be greeted by an unfamiliar taste when you pop it open for a second time a few weeks later.


Red wines last the longest

If you want to spend a couple of weeks savouring the flavour of your favourite glass of red then be our guest. Red wines are hardy and made to last in this sense, which means you won’t notice an ounce of change in the flavour or mouthfeel within 2 weeks of popping the cork out. Good news for those of you who like to take your time when it comes to enjoying the finer things in life. But if you’re anything like us you’re going to want to polish it offer a little quicker than that…


White wines are crying out for you

Now, whilst red wines allow you to take your time, white wines are a different kettle of fish entirely. If you Google ‘How long does wine last?’ and it comes up with 3 days or less, you know the writer will have been talking specifically about the white stuff. Why does it have such a shorter shelf life once open? It depends on a lot of things such as the growing process, the environment, how it was bottled. But the key thing is that it’s really quite a rather different drink at the end of the day. If you remember that and aren’t too hard on your favourite bottle of white for being a little quicker to age, you’ll still get the most out of every glass.


How do you know when wine is off?

It’s a good question and one you don’t need to go anywhere else to find the answer to. After all, how can we tell you how long does wine last without telling you what it does to your mouth when it ages?


Whilst the precise change in flavour will be heavily dependent on the vintage and style of wine you’re about to sample, one thing will be common: the background taste. Wines that have turned and gone past their best before date will have a sour and vinegary taste to them that becomes stronger and stronger the longer they are left to age.


What can you do to reverse the ageing process?

Unfortunately there’s nothing that can be done for your favourite vintage if you don’t drink it in time — the damage is terminal and you’ll have to pour it away. If you’re feeling adventurous you might try to soldier on by kidding yourself that it still tastes just as good, but really you’re just leaving a bad taste in your mouth. After all, wouldn’t you rather shell out on a new bottle of the good stuff that you can actually enjoy, rather than trying to endure a bottle you just don’t love anymore? Makes sense when you put it like that, doesn’t it?


What if I don’t open it?

Okay, this is where things start to get complicated. You can keep wine for years, but not hundreds of years. That means if you start collecting it with a view to still enjoying it someday, you’ll to want to make sure that you pay attention to this bit. Print it out, stick it to your fridge door, and bore everyone to death if they ask you ‘how long does wine last?’


Nearly all wines can be stored for 5 years, so take that as your benchmark and aim to polish off everything within that time if you want to savour every mouthful. There are however several varieties that can last twice that length of time, Cabernet Sauvignon being a prime example. But don’t feel like you’re under pressure to know everything there is to know about wine folks — it’s meant to be enjoyable so always make sure you put your enjoyment of the experience front and centre.


Can I extend the lifetime with the right storage options?

The lifetimes above are if you’ve stored your wine properly throughout it’s life, so whilst it’s not possible to improve on them all that much, it is possible to shorten them dramatically by ignoring the advice that’s to follow. Of course we know that you don’t really intend to do that (who would) but it illustrates our point nicely.


If you want to know how long does wine last when stored properly, and to see the results for yourself, you’re going to want to:


  • Store your wine in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight which will trigger chemical reactions inside the bottle which change the flavour irreversibly.
  • Keep your wine away from moisture and damp which could gradually permeate through the cork and knock the carefully blended balance of a good vintage out of alignment.
  • Make sure it’s away from the kids or anyone likely to knock it over and break it (this one is for all you parents out there who’ve had to pay to get the carpet cleaned recently)


Now that we’ve talked for as long as we need to about the wonderful world of wine, you’ll never have to ask anyone ‘how long does wine last?’ ever again!

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