Hello there! I'm Dr. Vinifera, or "Vinny" for short. Ask me your toughest wine questions, from the technical aspects of winemaking to the fine points of etiquette. I hope you find my answers educational and even amusing. Looking for a particular answer? Check my archive and my FAQs. You can also follow me on Twitter: @AskDrVinny.
Do you have a question for Dr. Vinny? Ask it here...
Dear Dr. Vinny,
Once opened, do white wines spoil at a different rate than red wines do, in general?
By “spoil,” I’m guessing you mean “oxidize”—that is, as an open bottle interacts with the air, it will eventually fade, flatten out and begin to take on nutty, bruised-apple notes. The wine isn’t spoiled in exactly the same way food can become spoiled, but it can still be unpleasant to drink.
In my experience, older wines will fade more quickly than younger wines, and more delicate wines will show oxidized notes faster than more robust wines. I personally haven’t seen a difference just between red and white wines. I think it may depend on the individual wine drinker’s perceptiveness of these notes—I usually notice young wines starting to fade after a day or two, but some people I know can nurse an open bottle for a week. To get more mileage out of a bottle of wine, transfer the leftovers to a smaller container (so that less surface area is exposed to oxygen) and store it in a refrigerator.
Learn from the experts and get the most out of each sip. Take one of our online courses or take them all—from the ABCs of Tasting to in-depth seminars on Food Pairing, California Cabernet, Bordeaux, Tuscany, Sensory Evaluation and more.