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How long does wine take to spoil?

Wine is a common alcoholic beverage, but it can spoil if it is not stored properly or consumed promptly. Wine usually lasts a few days after it has been opened. Its taste, smell, and consistency can change if it goes bad. Wine that has gone bad will make you sick in extreme cases.

Many adults of legal drinking age drink wine, and research indicates that moderate consumption can be beneficial to one’s health. According to some studies, a light-to-moderate wine consumption can protect heart health.

Excessive alcohol intake, on the other hand, may be harmful to one’s health. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) advises abstaining from alcohol entirely or drinking in moderation.

The CDC describes moderate drinking as no more than one or two drinks a day for women and two drinks a day for men. A 5-ounce glass of wine with a 12 percent alcohol content equals one drink.

People can avoid drinking wine that has gone bad by using proper storage methods and understanding the signs of wine spoilage.

We’ll talk about how long different wines last in this post. We also go into the warning signs of wine spoilage and the dangers of consuming spoiled wine.

How long does open wine last?

Opened wine

And once a bottle of wine is opened, it starts to oxidise, it does not last as long as unopened wine. When you open a bottle, the wine inside comes into contact with sunlight, which starts the oxidation process. Wine can deteriorate due to oxidation, which can convert it into vinegar.

Wine spoilage can also be caused by bacteria and other microbes. Bacteria can change the taste and consistency of open wine if they come into contact with it.

If an individual does not wish to finish a bottle of wine, they should reduce the amount of oxygen and bacteria that come into contact with it in order to extend its shelf life.

They will do this by replacing the cork or screw-top on the bottle and storing it in an appropriate location for the wine. People can store white wine in the refrigerator and red wine in a cool, dark spot, for example.

The following is an estimation of how long such wines would last if properly stored until opened:

  • Sparkling wine: 1–2 days
  • White wine: 3–5 days
  • Rosé wine: 3–5 days
  • Red wine: 3–6 days
  • Fortified wine: 1–3 weeks

How long does unopened wine last?

Wine that has not been opened has a longer shelf life than wine that has been opened. As a result, as long as wine is stored correctly, it will last for a long time. To keep wine fresh, store it in a cool, dark place and turn the bottle on its side to prevent the cork from drying out.

The following is an estimation of how long such wines would last if stored properly and not opened after the printed expiration date:

  • Bottled white wine: 1–2 years
  • Bottled rosé: 1–2 years
  • Bottled red wine: 2–3 years
  • Non-vintage sparkling wine: 3–4 years
  • Vintage sparkling wine: 5–10 years
  • Fortified wine: decades

Signs that wine has gone bad

There are some signs that a bottle of wine has gone wrong. There are some of them:

Color variations

The colour of the wine is the first thing that a person notices. If the colour seems to have changed when you first opened the bottle, it may be a sign of spoilage.

A bad red wine, for example, may have a brownish tint, while a bad white wine might darken or turn a deep yellow or brownish straw colour.

Changes in odour

When wine has gone bad, some aromas can be detectable. A sharp, vinegar-like odour, a damp odour, or a barnyard-like odour are all possibilities.

The scent of the wine can also shift if it has become stale. Some people say stale wine smells like nuts, while others say it smells like burnt marshmallows or applesauce.

Some wine can spoil before it is opened, which is usually due to a flaw in the wine. A faulty wine can have a garlic odour or a cabbage or burnt rubber odour.

Taste alterations

Wine that has gone wrong should not be consumed. However, in some cases, tasting a small amount of wine is a good way to see if it’s still safe to drink.

If wine has gone wrong, the taste might have changed. Bad wine has a harsh, sour taste that is similar to vinegar. Owing to the strong odour and taste, it can also slightly burn a person’s nasal passage.

If wine has gone wrong, it might have a strong chemical taste that reminds you of paint thinner.

Wine with unwanted bubbles

The presence of bubbles in a still wine indicates that it is fermenting. This happens when there isn’t enough sterilisation, and it means yeasts are already involved in the wine.

Cork that has come loose or has leaked

Heat damage can be indicated if the cork is loose, noticeable above the rim, or visibly leaking. This damage can cause subtle changes in the wine’s smell and flavour, dulling its appearance and taste.

Health risks

Although a person may drink a small amount of spoiled wine without fear of its consequences, they should not consume large quantities of it.

Wine spoilage is usually caused by oxidation, which causes the wine to turn into vinegar. While it has an unpleasant taste, it is unlikely to hurt you.

Food poisoning may occur as a result of spoilage caused by microbes. This form of spoilage is uncommon, but it does happen.

The following are some of the most common signs and symptoms of food poisoning:

If a person thinks their wine has gone bad, they should reject it immediately because it will taste bad and will make them sick.

How to Properly Store Wine

When storing wine, people should keep the following points in mind:

Choose a cool, dark place

Wine should be kept in a calm, constant temperature setting. Temperature changes may have an effect on the wine’s consistency.

It’s also important to keep the wine away from light, so it’s best to keep it in a dark spot.

Store corked bottles horizontally

When you store a bottle on its side, the wine is in regular contact with the cork, which keeps it from drying out. If the cork dries out, it can allow oxygen into the bottle, causing the wine to spoil.

This form of spoilage only affects wines in corked bottles, so bottles with a screw-top can be stored upright.

It’s crucial to have the right humidity

Humidity levels that are too high or too low may also ruin a wine. According to anecdotal evidence, a relative humidity of about 60% is optimal for wine storage.

The cork can dry out if the humidity is too low, allowing oxygen to enter the bottle and spoil the wine. If the humidity is too high, it may encourage the growth of mould, as well as degrading any labels on the wine.

Consider purchasing a wine refrigerator

If a person does not have access to a convenient storage space that is dark, cool, and humid, they may want to consider investing in a wine fridge.

These refrigerators, also known as wine coolers, are not as cold as normal refrigerators and help keep wine at the proper temperature and humidity for storage.


Different wines will last for different amounts of time before spoiling. Wine that hasn’t been opened and is properly stored will last for years. A bottle of wine normally lasts a few days after it is opened.

Unopened wine will last longer if it is stored properly.

A wine’s appearance, smell, and taste usually indicate whether or not it has spoiled. If a person thinks that a bottle of wine has gone bad, he or she should dispose it rather than drink it.


Chukwuebuka Martins

Chukwuebuka Martins is a writer, researcher, and health enthusiast who specializes in human physiology. He takes great pleasure in penning informative articles on many aspects of physical wellness, which he then thoroughly enjoys sharing to the general public.