The short answer is “not long.” A bottle of wine will only remain fresh for several days after it has been opened. Each time a bottle is uncorked and re-corked, air gets trapped into the bottle and the oxygen mixes with the wine. Small amounts of oxygen are good, as swirling wine around the glass allows the wine to interact with oxygen and awaken its delicious aromas and flavors! However, too much oxygen, trapped oxygen, or extended exposure to air can quickly cause the wine to lose its fresh fruit flavors and taste like vinegar!
How Can Wine Stay Fresh Longer?
First, you can store your open bottle of wine in the refrigerator. As the least expensive option, this method can could extend its freshness by an additional 2-3 days. Second, you could use a wine vacuum to remove the oxygen from the bottle. Every time you open a bottle or remove the cork, oxygen mixes with the wine and speeds up the spoilage process. A wine vacuum will remove the oxygen when the top is sealed, buying you a few additional days of freshness. Lastly you could use a blanket system to replace the oxygen in the open bottle. Although it is the most expensive option, this will extend the freshness by weeks or even months!
The Dos and Don’ts of Wine Storage
Do store wine in a cool, dry place at a constant temperature.
For long-term storage, wine bottles need to be stored in a cool place, with a constant temperature around 50-60 degrees Fahrenheit, or between 10-10 degrees Celsius. If wines are stored in areas that are too hot or too cold, they can damage the wine and affect the taste. The best place to store wine is a temperature-controlled wine refrigerator, a wine cellar, a cool basement, or anywhere that fits these qualifications.
Do lay the bottle on its side if it’s corked.
Wine bottles with cork closures should be stored laying on their sides. In this way, the wine stays in constant contact with the cork, keeping it wet. If a cork closure dries out, it can cause air to enter the bottle and oxidize the wine. Please note: screw caps may be stored upright.
Do keep wine away from strong or direct sunlight.
Although we would love to see our wines as decor gracing our dining rooms or parlors, exposing them to sunlight can cause the wine to become tainted or stale. In addition, the light can heat the wine, causing it to have off-flavors. Wines should be stored away from both sunlight and artificial lights.
Do keep wines steady, free from movement or vibrations.
Wines should be stored in a quiet and still place, away from large vibrations and movement. Wine that constantly disturbed could cause bottle damage or sediment movement.
Don’t store open bottles of wine.
Once a bottle of wine is opened, it should be consumed relatively quickly (1-3 days), or longer if you use a vacuum or device to remove the oxygen. Exposure to air will oxidize (vinegarize) the wine over time, making it undrinkable.
Don’t Store wines up high.
Heat rises. If wines are stored too high, the temperature may be too warm and could damage the contents over time.
Don’t store wines on appliances.
Appliances emit heat and sometimes vibrate. Although many wine racks are built on top of refrigerators, it’s probably not a great idea to store wine there. The top of the refrigerator could get hot, hum, or vibrate. And like previously stated, it’s up high, where temperatures are warmer.
Don’t forget to clean your wine cellar or basement.
It’s a good idea to periodically clean your wine storage area to ensure the bottles are free of mold and dust.
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