What is the shelf life of boxed wine?

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Dear Dr. Vinny,

What is the shelf life of boxed wine?

—Doug, Nokomis, Fla.

Dear Doug,

As you might imagine, boxed wines aren’t meant for long-term aging. If you take a close look at a boxed wine, you’ll most likely see a “best-by” date, probably stamped on the bottom or side of the box. This expiration date is typically within a year or so from the time the wine was packaged. It’s not that the wine will go bad, but the plastic bags that the wines are stored in allow microscopic amounts of oxygen to pass through, and after a while, the wine will taste less fresh.

We’ve done some trials with boxed wines, and find that you’ll get more life out of an opened box—as with an opened bottle—if you store it in your refrigerator. The cold slows down the process of a wine fading and taking on nutty, oxidized notes. One nice design feature of boxed wines is that the bag will collapse as the wine is poured out, which minimizes its exposure to oxygen. We found that boxed wines lasted two or three weeks once opened before starting to fade.

If you’re interested in boxed wines, check out our latest reviews. We taste boxed and canned wines in blind tastings alongside their peers from glass bottles, and there are some recommended ones.

—Dr. Vinny

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