How Long Can Red Wine Be Open?

When you’ve cracked open a delightful bottle of red wine, it’s essential to know how long you can savour its flavours before it loses its charm. Whether you’re a casual wine drinker or a connoisseur, understanding the lifespan of an open bottle of red wine can enhance your drinking experience and prevent waste. Here’s everything you need to know about keeping your red wine in top condition once opened.

How Long Can Red Wine Be Open?

How Long Does Red Wine Last After Opening?

The simple answer is that red wine typically lasts between 3 to 5 days after being opened. However, the precise time can vary based on the type of red wine, how it’s stored, and its original quality. Let’s delve into what affects the longevity of your open red wine and how you can maximise its lifespan.

Factors Influencing the Shelf Life of Open Red Wine

  1. Type of Wine: Lighter red wines, such as Pinot Noir, generally have a shorter open shelf life due to their lower tannin and acidity levels. In contrast, robust wines like Cabernet Sauvignon or Shiraz, known for their higher tannin content, can often retain their quality a bit longer.
  2. Storage Conditions: Oxygen is both a friend and foe to wine; it’s essential for aging but detrimental once the bottle is opened. Exposure to air causes oxidation, which can degrade the wine’s quality. Storing your open wine bottle in a cool, dark place, preferably in a wine fridge or a regular refrigerator, slows down this process.
  3. Closure Type: How you reseal your wine bottle also impacts its longevity. Using a wine stopper that limits air exposure can extend the wine’s drinkable period. Vacuum pumps, which remove air from the bottle, can also be effective, although they might slightly alter the wine’s character.
  4. Initial Quality: Higher-quality wines might degrade more gracefully compared to less expensive options. Premium wines are generally crafted to withstand time, which can play to your advantage even after opening.

Tips to Extend the Shelf Life of Open Red Wine

  • Refrigerate: Keeping red wine in the fridge after opening slows down oxidation rates and preserves its flavours and aroma for longer.
  • Use a Wine Stopper: Invest in a good quality wine stopper or a vacuum pump to keep excess air out of the bottle.
  • Limit Light and Heat Exposure: Store your wine in a dark, cool place away from direct sunlight and heat sources, which can accelerate the degradation of wine.

When to Discard Open Red Wine

You’ll know it’s time to say goodbye to your open bottle of red wine if:

  • The flavour changes: If your wine starts to taste sour or vinegary, it has likely turned and should not be consumed.
  • The aroma is off: A good sniff can tell you a lot about the condition of your wine. If it smells musty, mouldy, or like cooked fruit, the wine has probably oxidized.
  • The appearance alters: Any noticeable change in colour or the appearance of a haze could indicate that the wine is past its best.


Enjoying an open bottle of red wine over a few days can be a delightful experience if handled correctly. By understanding the factors that affect its shelf life and taking steps to store it properly, you can extend the enjoyment of your wine without compromise. Remember, the key to preserving open red wine lies in minimising its exposure to air, light, and heat. So, next time you pop open a bottle, consider these tips to make the most of your red wine. Cheers to many more splendid glasses!

By following these guidelines, you can enjoy your red wine to its fullest and ensure nothing goes to waste. Enjoy your next glass knowing you’ve mastered the art of keeping open wine fresh!