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How long can you keep a bottle of white wine after opening it?
Recipes & Food / 6:11 PM - Thursday February 24, 2011

How long can you keep a bottle of white wine after opening it?

Assuming that you put a lid on it and keep it in the fridge?

- Asked by sunset77, Female, 36-45, Who Cares?

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How long can you keep wine once the bottle has been opened? How soon does wine in an open bottle go bad? Do I need to finish a bottle of wine in one sitting when it has been opened? This question gets asked in a great many ways but it always does get asked. This is because one of the harder things to figure out about wine is when to pour out wine that is left in the bottle.

There are lots of variables regarding the wine type, method of production, age of bottle and on and on. There are all those considerations and exceptions but for 95% of the wine that most people drink, the answer is pretty simple.

Three (3) days. Around here, we keep wines up to 3 days after the bottle has been opened. Once a bottle of wine is opened, the oxygen in the air starts a process that initially softens the flavors and opens up the aromas of the wine. As this process (oxidation) continues over many hours and days, the wine is ultimately made undrinkable. The trick is to use the wine before it becomes unpalatable or to pour it out before bad wine is served to guests.

You can (and usually should) refrigerate recorked bottes. You can buy stoppers and gadgets to create a slight vaccuum in the bottle. You can get systems that put a layer of inert gas in the bottle. All these items and efforts are aimed at slowing the oxidation that will eventually destroy the wine.

What makes the whole thing tricky is that the wine will not go immediately from good to bad. The wine will, at a point, begin to progressively develop tastes that are unpleasant. Just like milk that is going bad, each person has a different point at which they identify the beverage as having gone bad.

If you want to play it safe (and who doesn't with either milk or wine), then just use the 3 day rule. Recork and refrigerate the bottle for up to three days. With red wines, pull the bottle from the refrigerator at least 1/2 hour before you want to use it so it will warm to a desirable serving temperature in the mid 60's F. With white wines or roses, just pull and pour when you need them.

Keeping opened wines beyond 3 days is like playing golf in a lightning storm. You may get through but you are tempting the fates. If you keep a table wine for more than 3 days, you will be serving a wine that has lost most of the characteristics that are prized. The aroma will start to change and much of the fresh fruit smells and tastes will subside. At worst, you'll be serving a wine that has oxidized too much and is partly or entirely bad.

Dessert wines like Sauternes, most everyday Ports and most Sherries can last much longer but those are special cases. Just play it safe with the 3 day rule. It is a good practice to write the date the bottle was opened on the label if there is a chance of confusion.

- Response by shanegalang, A Rebel, Male, 46-55, Transportation

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WHY?! :)

- Response by stillagoodguy1, An Intellectual Guy, Male, 56-65, Political / Government

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Community Rating: Community Star

I used to make wine, just a backyard vintner, but know quite a bit about it.

Wine is mostly alcohol, water, flavoids, and some acid. Not much can happen to the stuff actually. Air can allow some bacteria to grow, but so can the absence of air. So, some wine just goes bad in the bottle. To prevent that from happening, sulfer is typically added to the wine. This doesn't escape when you open the bottle.

There is some air in there when it is bottled. When you pull the cork, new air gets in, but not very much. It will indeed cause some changes to the flavor compounds in the wine. With old red wine, people usually want that a bit. i.e. let it breathe. But with white, there are not as much flavor compounds to deal with. The water, alcohol, and acid usually are pretty stable.

So, if you are drinking really good wine, and have a very astute taste, then you might be able to tell that it had been open a week. (of course you could never drink mine since it was not that good) But if you drink the usual cheaper stuff like I do, you can leave it recorked in the refrigerator for a long time and it will be about the same as when you opened it.

It is best if you don't leave one inch in the bottom of the bottle full of air. This is way to much air to the volume of wine. But if the bottle is somewhere near half full, you will be able to keep it weeks. I have.

And nothing will actually happen to it. Vinagar is made without air and will not form with too much oxygen. So, it doesn't spoil like milk, or go flat like soda, or even absorb flavors like water.

But I do say that you should just find a reason to drink the rest of the bottle, why keep the stuff for very long?

Have a good day

- Response by welloone, A Mr. Married Guy, Male, 66 or older, Retired

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drinking? probably "two" days.

cooking? probably a week.

- Response by two469, Female, 18-21, Seattle, Science / Engineering

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Not long enough to stick around! Now turn it bottoms up & enjoy! :-)

- Response by syncaset, A Creative, Male, 46-55, Dallas, Artist / Musician / Writer

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I have never had that problem...with the women I know it usually goes to fast....Gotta Love a Lush!!

- Response by boxer1, A Guy Critical, Male, 46-55, Self-Employed

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if Jessica is here..not Depends on the temperature....colder the longer it last...but at some point (like a couple of months) it will ferment.

- Response by hwyrider, A Mr. Nice Guy, Male, 56-65, Retired

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Once you have opened a bottle of wine, you want to drink it as soon as possible. If it is a red wine, you cork it and put it at room temperature on a counter. If a white wine, put in fridge, but do not leave it more than a couple of days.

- Response by randyl, Female, Who Cares?, Technical

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if i could keep one long
enough, lol, i would keep
it on ice and leave it uncorked.
peace. kitkat

- Response by kitkat19, Female, 56-65

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That's a good question, and I hope somebody gives you a serious answer!

I have a bottle of white wine in the fridge...I needed some white wine for a recipe, but the rest of the bottle is just sitting there. I don't drink, so it's not going to get used until I need white wine for another recipe. So will it still be good to 2 months or 4 months or a year later? Or should I throw it out and buy a new bottle when the time comes?

- Response by justpassingthru, Female, 56-65, Financial / Banking

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