How Long Does Wine Last Unopened - Basic Guidelines

How Long Does Wine Last Unopened? – Basic Guidelines

All wines will deteriorate over time, whether they are opened or not, whether they are the most expensive sherry or the cheapest wine sold in cardboard boxes. So, how long does wine last unopened?

In general, you should drink wine that costs less than $30 within 12 months or, at most, two years of the date of purchase. This is not to say that these wines are bad, but they typically do not develop a smoother flavor as they age.

How can you guarantee that your wine maintains its flavor and is still able to be sipped? Read on.

How Long Does Wine Last Unopened?

Below are common types of wine, read on to find out how long does wine last unopened?

Red Wine

Red Wine
Red Wine

How long does unopened red wine last? Unopened red wine bottles typically keep for two to three years after the suggested drinking window. This extended natural preservation is made possible by their high tannin content. Store items to get the most shelf life in a cool, dark place out of the sun. Check for How Long Does Red Wine Last After Opening?

White Wine

White Wine
White Wine

How long do unopened white wines last? White wines keep well if they are not opened for 1-2 years after the suggested drinking window. Due to the lower concentration of natural preservatives than in red wine, this process takes less time. White wine shouldn’t be chilled until one to two days prior to consumption; up until that point, it should be stored similarly to red wine. Check for How Long Does White Wine Last? 



Even when kept in a cool, dry environment or the refrigerator, unopened Champagne eventually goes bad.

However, it takes a while before that occurs. Non-Vintage Champagne ages a little quicker than Vintage Champagne, finishing in about 3–4 years. Before your vintage champagne starts losing its fizz, you typically have between 5 and 10 years to enjoy it.

Having said that, it is also true that some Vintage Champagnes get better with age, provided they are kept in a dry, cool environment. Some of them can last up to 20 years before they lose their freshness and begin to develop a more complex aroma and flavor profile.

Rosé Wine

Rosé Wine
Rosé Wine

What is the shelf life of unopened rose wine? Rosé wine that hasn’t been opened will keep for two to three years after the suggested drinking window. Remind yourself to only refrigerate your wine once you’re ready to drink it. Don’t do it while you’re storing it.

Read about

Port Wine

Port Wine
Port Wine

How long does unopened port wine last? Due to its fortified alcohol content and a slower oxidation process, port wine has a long shelf life when it is properly sealed. Unopened port wine should typically last for decades if kept in a cool, dark location. So, how to store port wine?

Does Unopened Wine Go Bad?

Wine is made to keep for a long time. This is made possible by the process of fermenting the grapes and letting the alcohol grow. Because wine contains little sugar, there is less for bacteria to feed on. This makes it more difficult for bacteria to survive when combined with the addition of alcohol. Additionally, the wine’s deterioration and expiration are slowed because fewer bacteria survive.

Tannins also function as a natural preservative, fading over time to allow the development of a rich aroma and flavor. But how can you distinguish between old wine and wine that has gone bad?

Factors That Affect the Shelf Life of Unopened Wine

How long a bottle of wine lasts after being closed has two main effects.

First, the shelf life of wine will depend on how well it’s stored. Generally speaking, wine should be stored on its side in a cool, dark location.

The second factor is the type of wine. Red, white, rosé, and sparkling wines all age differently. Here, the wine’s structure also has an impact. The wine will likely last longer if the balance of the tannins, acidity, and fruitiness is good.

How to Tell If Your Unopened Wine Has Gone Bad

If you’ve unearthed a bottle of wine that you forgot about, and you’re not sure of the expiration date or the vintage date, there are some easy ways to tell if your wine has gone bad:

  • One of the easiest ways to tell if your wine has gone bad is by its odor. A common smell is one that is either medicinal or vinegary, oddly nutty, or even burnt rubber-like. Saying goodbye is necessary if you open your wine bottle and detect any of these aromas.
  • Try the wine by taking a tiny sip. The wine is bad if it has sharp or sour vinegar notes, a horseradish-like flavor, or some caramelized flavors. Not even a few drops on your tongue will be harmful, so don’t be concerned.
  • Small bubbles: Second fermentation can be detected if you notice them in your non-sparkling wine. You shouldn’t drink the wine because it has spoiled.
  • Change in color: Unopened wines naturally change color as they age, but if the color of your wine changes significantly, chemical changes are probably taking place. The color of your wine shouldn’t significantly change if it is not a fine wine. Therefore, it’s time to discard it if you notice that it has.
What Conditions Affect Wine Storage
What Conditions Affect Wine Storage?

What Conditions Affect Wine Storage?

Wine lovers need to make sure that their storage facilities are ideal for the wines to develop their best flavors. The key elements that influence wine storage are covered in the section below.

Temperature: In a wine cellar that has been specifically designed, the ideal conditions for wine storage exist. The environment here should be dim, cool, and consistently between 50 and 55 degrees Fahrenheit (roughly 13 degrees Celsius).

Humidity: In general, 70% humidity is ideal. Corks may dry out or crack in an unsuitable humidity environment, allowing more air to enter the wine bottle. Unrelated odors can contaminate wines if they leak through the cork, especially if the environment is too humid and pungent.

Darkness: When tannins are exposed to UV rays, they oxidize, harming the wine. Even when the wine is in dark-colored bottles, the UV rays are not effectively blocked by them. Wine should be stored in a dark location as a result, and if any light is needed, only use sodium vapor or incandescent lamps as opposed to fluorescent lighting.

Vibration: Make sure the storage location is not constantly vibrated by machinery or busy traffic. Such vibrations interfere with the symmetry and normal growth of the wine.

Bottle Positioning: Always maintain contact between the cork and the wine. The bottle needs to be positioned horizontally in your storage space for that. Vertical placement causes the wine to accumulate sediment on the bottom.

How to Best Store Your Wine?

There are right and wrong ways to store a bottle of wine, regardless of whether you buy it a few weeks beforehand or on the day it will be served.

For instance, placing the wine next to your dishwasher, on top of the refrigerator, or under the stove is not a good idea because these appliances will heat the wine up whenever they are turned on.

  1. Find a cool, dark place to put your wine rack. Although a basement location is best, a closet, kitchen, or cabinet cupboard will work as long as it’s out of the way of direct sunlight and away from any sources of heat.
  2. Never tilt a corked bottle of wine before serving. As a result, the seal is preserved and the cork is kept moist, preventing it from drying out and crumbling. As air could potentially seep in and taint your wine, this stops it from happening.
  3. Maintain order and cleanliness in the wine storage area. A lot of dirt and dust might get through. Jockeying the bottle disturbs the symmetry and stirs up the wine sediments.

Read about Tips for storing red wine

So, How Long Does Wine Last Unopened?

Generally speaking, if your wine cost less than $30, it should be consumed within 12 months and no later than 2 years of the date of purchase! Such wines aren’t necessarily bad; they just don’t typically age well. This isn’t to say that they are bad in any way.

Although wine has been designed to last much longer than grape juice, it will still eventually degrade. You’ll need to carefully monitor your storage conditions to make sure your unopened bottle of wine not only lasts a long time but continues to taste fantastic.

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