How Long Does Wine Last Unopened in a Wine Cooler?

If you’ve ever opened a bottle of wine and left it out, but don’t know whether to drink it when going back to it at a later date - you’re not wrong to contemplate whether or not to!

While you assume that wine gets better with age, this doesn’t necessarily apply to a bottle of opened wine - whether that be white wine, red wine, rosé, etc.

As you know, your food and other beverages do not last forever (especially when opened). So does this hold true for your opened wine or not? Read along with us to find out more!


How Long Do Different Types of Unopened Wine Last?

So, how long does wine last unopened? Well, when it comes to unopened wine, you will always hear about the expiration date being endless and that your wine will get better with age. Unopened wine can be consumed years after the printed expiration date if it looks, smells and tastes fine when stored correctly. For example, an integrated wine cooler, built-in wine cooler or freestanding wine fridge would be ideal!

Depending on the wine beverage you store will depend on how long the wine will usually last when unopened and in the correct storage environment (wine fridges/ coolers, wine racks or wine cellar). Whether it be unopened white wine, red wine, fine wine or any other type of wine available on the market - the wine expiry date will vary dependent on this.

It is also important to note that the shelf life of these wines will be based on how well the wine is stored. Therefore, for these purposes, we will be showing you how long different types of unopened wine last in an optimal environment with expert wine storage. Here are the common types of wine and how long they last unopened:

First of all, white wine - this wine lasts only 1-2 years past the printed expiration date meaning it is the wine with the least storage time before chemically changing. Red wine on the other hand will last 2-3 years past its expiry date due to the chemical process taking longer to break down within the bottle. Cooking wine is one of the longest-lasting wines to drink after the expiry date - as you are able to drink it 3-5 years past the shelf life date. Last on the list, fine wine is the magnum opus of unopened stored wine - as it lasts 10-20 years when stored properly in a wine cellar.


How Long Does Opened Wine Last?

There is a major contrast between the shelf life of unopened and opened wine - but similarly to unopened wine, different types of opened wine go off at different times. In the broad scheme of things, lighter wines often go deficient faster than darker variants.

Once the wine has gone bad due to copious reasons such as heat, light, bacteria and many more - which can cause chemical reactions that will essentially alter the calibre of your wine.

Storing your opened wine in lower, fresher temperatures (in a wine cooler) will ultimately help this chemical process slow down - however, it will never fully return to its original unopened storage time. Here is a list of how long each wine will last when opened from longest-lasting to least-lasting:

  • Port wine: 1-3 weeks
  • Dessert wine: 3-7 days
  • Red wine: 3-6 days
  • Light white wine and rose: 4-5 days
  • Rich white: 3-5 days
  • Sparkling wine: 1-2 days

The most effective route for storing your wine optimally for them to last this amount of time when opened is to re-seal them with either a cork, stopper or plastic wrap cover if neither of the first two options is available to you. Placing them back into your refrigerator standing up and making sure everything is tightly sealed is crucial for longer-lasting wine shelf life.


Signs Your Wine Has Gone Off

When dealing with food or beverages, you have to make sure your health isn’t at risk when storing it in your kitchen, garden/outdoor space or any other storage space you have in your household or commercial property.

One of the first checks you need to make when spotting whether your wine has gone bad is examining if there has been any change in colour. Predominantly, most dark-coloured wines such as your purple or red wines will turn into a brownish colour when going off - whereas, the lighter-coloured wines will change to a more golden tone. Therefore, both outcomes need to be discarded when or if it occurs.

When the problem arises - this means that your wine has been exposed to too much oxygen and fermentation can occur (generating unwanted tiny bubbles in the wine).

A great indicator of whether your wine has gone off is by smelling the wine - as gone bad wines always have a specific sharp, vinegar-like smell that will overpower the sweet-smell wine of the past.


Or, on the other hand, it could have a nut-like odour that will remind you of applesauce which is an unsatisfactory sign for that specific wine. A good tell of an unopened wine is that it will have a scent of garlic or burnt rubber.

A visual test you can use is to view the cork - because if the cork is pushing past the wine bottle rim, this in some cases can be a sign that your wine has been displayed to too much heat. Exposure to heat can completely nullify the smell and taste of your wine - leaving a very plain and boring tasting experience.

If you’re ever feeling unsure and finding it hard to tell whether your wine has gone off or not, it may be worth just having a small taste test of the wine. Having very minor sips of wine that may be damaged will not cause any harm to you or your health in general. The only component that may put you off is the fact is won’t taste very pleasant. There are minor cases of food poisoning from drinking bad wine - due to the bacterial growth within the chemicals - but to avoid this potentially happening, it is best just to dispense any bad wine.

What wine fridges are suitable for storing open bottles?

Storing opened bottles in a wine cooler can cause problems with spillages and potentially unwanted smells if the bottles are left too long and the wine starts to go sour. At Elite Wine Refrigeration we have a small range of products which are suitable to storing bottles upright - storing the bottles vertically will mean there won't be any spillages.

The Dunavox Home line is probably the most suited to vertical storage, at the bottom of each freestanding wine cooler there is a small section suited to storing bottles that have been opened - the space is large enough for Champagne bottles as well.

Another suitable unit should you be looking for a a higher capacity wine fridge is the Vestfrost WFG185 - the shelves are very flat in this model and designed more for upright storage which also makes it ideal for the storage of other beverages such as beers and soft drinks alike.

Artevino's wine cabinets would also be suitable for upright storage, the shelves are designed both standing and flat bottles so they would be suitable for domestic and commercial installations.

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