How Long Does White Wine Last How to Tell If Wine Has Gone Bad

How Long Does White Wine Last? How to Tell If Wine Has Gone Bad

When the white wine is opened, it lasts about 3 days. When the white wine is unopened, it lasts about 1-2 years.

You’re not alone if you’ve ever questioned whether it’s okay to consume wine that is either leftover or old.

While some things improve with age, that doesn’t always hold true for a bottle of wine that has already been opened. Food and drink expire eventually, and wine is no exception.

In this article, we’ll talk about how long wine keeps and how to tell if it’s bad.

How Long Does White Wine Last When Opened?

As a general rule of thumb, these are the numbers to think about when it comes to white wines and how long they’ll last opened and unopened:

  • Opened: about 3 days
  • Unopened: 1-2 years

To be honest, the best course of action with wine is to always consume the entire bottle. But do not forget to drink sensibly.

Given their sensitivity to temperature, white wines in particular can quickly change in ways that make them taste awful. All wines change after being opened.

However, there are methods for preserving whites after opening them so that you can enjoy them a few days later.

Understanding the white you’re trying to preserve and adhering to the rules to do so are key in this situation.

  • White sparkling wine should be stored in the refrigerator for 1-3 days.
  • When refrigerated, light whites last for 5-7 days.
  • When refrigerated, full-bodied whites last 3–5 days.
  • Two to three weeks in the refrigerator for wine in a bag or box.

Read about How Long Does Red Wine Last After Opening?

Does the Type of White Wine Impact the Longevity of the Wine?

Okay, we’ve already removed the bandage on this one. Because they are not fermented in the grape skins, white wines don’t age as well as other varieties of wine. White wine has less acidity than red wine, and acidity slows the chemical reactions that make wine deteriorate.

But if you happen to have a wine cellar, there are a few varieties of white wine that age well and some even get better over time. These are the ones to look out for:

  • Chardonnay’s ability to age is a result of a combination of higher acidity and tannin-adding oak aging.
  • Semillon: This wine is renowned for its ability to age gracefully and even develop nutty flavors with time.
  • Riesling: As Riesling ages, it turns a creamy yellow color and is known to get better and better over time.

What Happens When Wine Goes Bad?

Wine is an intricate beverage!

While oxygen helps open up a bouquet (which is why we swirl, decant, and aerate), oxidation, or exposure to too much oxygen for an extended period of time, also turns wine and gives it that distinct, vinegary taste.

White wines are not decanted because of the much faster rate of oxidation. There is no way to completely prevent white wines from being exposed to oxygen, but their exposure to oxygen should generally be limited.

White wine will begin to taste sour and vinegary as soon as it starts to oxidize. It will also change color, becoming deeper and yellower.

Wine can spoil for a variety of reasons, some of which are discussed in the following section. Oxidation is just one of them.

How to Tell If My Wine Has Gone Bad?

You’re in luck because you don’t always need to taste wine to determine whether it has gone bad; you can also see and smell it.


There are several visual indicators that indicate a wine has aged past its prime. These include:


Wines that were initially clear are subject to this rule. It’s probably time to throw away wine when it becomes cloudy or forms a film inside the bottle. Cloudiness suggests that bacteria are starting to grow inside the bottle.

Change in Color

Wines can oxidize over time, just like fruit can, and turn brown. The natural aging process of unopened wine causes color changes, which do not always mean that the wine has gone bad. However, it is worth noting that your wine’s chemical composition has started to change. The bottle is therefore probably no longer good if you notice a color change and the bottle was not really intended to age.

Development of Bubbles

Your wine’s emergence of bubbles signals the start of a second fermentation. These bubbles, which are not present in champagne, indicate that your wine has likely soured and should be discarded.


One of the most obvious signs that it’s time to move on from your wine is typically the aroma. These aromas are frequently disagreeable and medicinal—like chemicals or vinegar—but they can also be sweet, depending on how your wine responds to outside influences. Common changes in smell include:

Acetic Acid Scents

When bacteria in your wine starts to form acetic acid, you might notice smells that are:

  • Similar to sauerkraut
  • Reminiscent of vinegar
  • Sharp or tangy

Oxidation Smells

When oxidation occurs, wine becomes stale and yields scents that are:

  • Unusually nutty
  • Similar to apples or sweet applesauce
  • Smoky and sweet like burnt marshmallows or caramel

Reduction Odors

Some wines deteriorate due to wine flaws even before they are opened. When this occurs, you might notice odors like:

  • Cabbage
  • Garlic
  • Burnt rubber or garbage


Wine that has gone bad may have strong or unusual flavors if you ignore the cues of changed appearance and scents. These flavors often include:

  • Sharp or sour vinegar flavors
  • Horseradish-like taste
  • Sherried or caramelized flavors
How Long Does White Wine Last How to Tell If Wine Has Gone Bad
How Long Does White Wine Last? How to Tell If Wine Has Gone Bad

How to Extend the Life of My Wine After It’s Been Opened?

The last section mentioned that oxygen is the enemy of keeping opened white wine fresh.

Despite the fact that time is not on your side, there are tools available.

These are essentially air vacuums that draw oxygen from opened bottles before creating an airtight seal over the opening.

I’ve tried out two models and believe they’re both worthy of endorsement.

The Vacu Vin Wine Saver

Essentially a tiny pump with a bottle stopper, this device is. After you secure the bottle stopper, it enables you to virtually create a vacuum by sucking the air out of the bottle.

The less air that remains in your bottle after you close it, the slower your wine will oxidize because it is this air that causes oxidation.

Once the wine is opened, this wonderful little device can help you extend its freshness by a few days.

Coravin Wine Preservation System

You can also use the Coravin to prolong the shelf life of your opened wine bottle.

Let me begin by stating that these are pricey. Although they are a very impressive invention, they are unquestionably not for everyone.

The ability to store opened wine for weeks, months, or even years makes this product appealing.

But how?

using an argon gas laser and a thin, hollow needle!

The needle is inserted into the cork by Coravin, which then extracts the wine before adding a little argon.

The cork naturally expands when the needle is removed, treating the wine almost as if it had never been opened.

As a result, you can pour wine into glasses from the bottle without worrying about the wine’s remaining quality being ruined by oxidation.

Read about How Many Calories In White Wine

Health Concerns About Drinking Bad Wine

Even though a small amount of bad wine won’t harm you, that doesn’t mean you should necessarily drink it.

In addition to excessive oxygen exposure, yeast and bacterial growth can also cause wine to spoil.

Due to wine’s low risk of supporting microbial growth, the likelihood of drinking bad wine is that it will only be extremely unpleasant. As such, harmful foodborne pathogens like E. coli and B. cereus ⁠— two types of bacteria that can cause food poisoning ⁠— are not often a problem.

Nevertheless, bacterial growth is still conceivable. Foodborne pathogens can survive in alcoholic beverages for a few days to a few weeks, according to a study that examined this topic.

However, the study only examined fine rice wine and beer.

A upset stomach, pain in the abdomen, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and fever are all signs of food poisoning.

Thus, the best course of action is to throw away bad wine if you come across it, regardless of whether it has been opened.

How to Store White Wine?

However, let’s discuss how you ought to keep the wine. Due to the slower chemical reactions caused by the cooler temperatures, wine prefers to be kept in cool, dark locations where it can stay fresh for a longer period of time before beginning to oxidize. Not sure why these chemical reactions weren’t covered in chemistry class given that they are essential life skills, but we’ll bring it up with the school board later.

A wine that doesn’t require as much upkeep doesn’t care which way she’s stored, but it should still be stored on its side to prevent the cork from drying out.

The worst locations to store wine, according to experts, are above refrigerators, beneath stoves, or close to dishwashers. Why? Because the appliance and your wine will both be heated. That actually makes sense, so, yeah….*makes a mental note to take Bev cans off of the refrigerator later*

Final Thoughts

Wine has an expiration date, just like any other food or drink.

Wine should be consumed as soon as possible after purchase to enjoy it at its freshest.

Nevertheless, leftover wine can generally be enjoyed one to five days after it has been opened, depending on the type of wine, while unopened wine can generally be enjoyed one to five years after its expiration date.

By storing it correctly, you can also prolong the freshness of your wine.

Check to see if the wine has gone bad the next time you have some leftover or old wine in your kitchen before you drink it or throw it out.

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