How Long Does a Bottle Last Once Opened?

Have you ever been that fateful party-goer who opens another bottle at the end of a loonnnggg party night hoping to keep the good times a rollin’? I know every person in the WA office is guilty of that at one time or another. Question is, when the fun comes to a screeching halt before that bottle is finished, what the hell do you do with it? Odds are your morally hungover self might not want to touch the sauce the next evening, so how long will that bottle last before you regain your nerve and climb back on that horse. Read below to find out if that bottle will survive until your Sunday night HBO marathon.

The Three-Day Rule

Generally speaking, bottles of still white or red wine will last about three days. Lower quality wines won’t last quite as long and higher quality ones can actually be fun to sample over the course of days just to see what happens. We once tasted a bottle of old German Eiswein over the course of 2 weeks and that thing was still an acid-ripping roller coaster ride all the way to the end.

Bottoms Up with Bubbles

Sparkling wines really don’t stand the test of time if not consumed all at once. The carbonation slowly dissipates, leaving the wine as a flat expression on the palate. Truth is, this is not a bummer. This is just a reminder to kill the bottle and properly celebrate the moment! Just remember to enjoy sparkling wines early and often.

Sweet is Neat

Fortified wines like port, sherry, or Madeira can last a whole lot longer than still or sparkling wines, so keep this in mind, too. Since they are often higher in alcohol, they are more like liquor or liqueur in terms of shelf life. We’re talking weeks instead of days here. Spiffy!

All this said, there are of course going to be bottles that just might not make it. After all, all good things come to an end, eh? The question now becomes, what do you do with these bottles? Survey says the top three options for deleting wine that is over the hill are: Chuckin’ it, cookin’ with it, and/or serving it to ex-significant others who wouldn’t know the difference.


TNow that you know how long you can push a bottle after it’s been opened, there’s probably some wine in your house that needs to go. Don’t ever put yourself in the position to be in a house sans-wine.  Always stay stocked up, and happy, by getting curated packs of wine each month at an amazing value. Get your first box of 6 for just $39 (a $124 value!) so you never have to worry about drinking wine that’s past its prime. Get yours here! 


  • Donna says:

    Or – use something that removes the oxygen from the bottle and keep your red wine on the shelf for a week, the white in the fridge for two weeks. The sparkling – well, perhaps overnight.

  • Jeremy says:

    I’m with Donna, I use one of the suction pumps and rubber caps on my reds and have kept them for many days without any noticeable decline in taste. Of course I do love the option of feeding them to an ex for my own ill-gotten means.

  • adam says:

    What about a Vacu Vin? Do they work as described?

    • Jeremy says:

      @Adam, that was the device I was trying to think of. I think it works great and I’ve been using it for years. I’m no wine connoisseur, but even after three to five days (depending on the wine), I think the wines are still enjoyable with little to no taste change.

  • Donna says:

    Yes, that is what we use. Be sure to keep going with the pump until you hear a lot of little clicks, then the oxygen should be gone. We also use a rotation system. The first glass is a new bottle, the remainder of the evening is from a previously opened bottle. I like Jeremy’s option. I sort of use this but not on an ex. I’ll leave a bottle that I’m not thrilled with near my hubby, it is usually gone by evening end.

  • Good to know. This is something I hadn’t really looked into as I never like to leave a dead soldier laying around — although I’ve always kept the 3 day rule in the back of my mind.

  • C says:

    I never NOT drink a whole bottle at a time.

  • LG says:

    Just a few clarifications specific to Port & Madeira)…Maderia is already ‘cooked’ by the aging process in barrel that includes relative higher temperatures, and is one of the very few wines shelf-stable after a period of time (assuming proper use of (re)closure) and in fact can be great a year+ on. Vintage declared Port – Old World rule of thumb is that an aged vintage port isn’t opened unless expected to be finished same night (we’re talking ~20+yr old bottles). Upon the birth of a child, the parent (usually father) purchases bottle(s) of birth year vintage port to be held until the child is an adult, then drank in celebration upon ~18th birthday. Sherry can easily be kept for some months, again assuming proper re-corking, but will incrementally lose acidity/freshness.

  • Call me a little frugal but I have been known to keep a bottle of Pinot Grigio or Moscato in my fridge after its been opened for more than a few days replaced with the cork and it has remained in tact just well or so I thought.

  • Lori Logan says:

    If there is any leftover wine (and that is if….), use it for cooking. Best recipes are mushrooms sautéed in white wine with fresh parsley and spaghetti sauce with red-wine is always a winner.

  • Theresa says:

    What is the sweetest kind of wine, I don’t like dry at all, I want the sweetest wine there is

  • I take left over red wine and pour it in an ice cube tray. When frozen, I throw them in a zip lock and use them in soups and sauces. As you all said, IF there is any left…lol

  • Emily Boyd says:

    Put a stainless steel teaspoon stem end in the bottle of sparkling wine. It will stay bubbly till the next day and you can have mimosas. Don’t ask me why but it really does work.

  • Nalini says:

    There is a system called Kuvee. Take a look at it. Only draw back is that you have to buy their bottles wine, but the offer a good selection of good wines, even well k own labels.

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