How long does an open bottle of red wine keep?

Ask Dr Vinny

Hello there! I'm Dr. Vinifera, but you can call me Vinny. Ask me your toughest wine questions, from the fine points of etiquette to the science of winemaking. And don't worry, I'm no wine snob—you can also ask me those "dumb questions" you're too embarrased to ask your wine geek friends! I hope you find my answers educational, empowering and even amusing. And don't forget to check out my most asked questions and my full archives for all my Q&A classics.

Dear Dr. Vinny,

How long does an open bottle of red wine keep?

—Glen, Toronto

Dear Glen,

As soon as you open a bottle of wine, you expose the wine inside to more oxygen. While exposure to oxygen might initially help it become more expressive, eventually all wine sill start to fade and the flavors and aromas will flatten and start to taste oxidized—nutty and dull.

Bolder, younger wines will last longer after opened than delicate, older or light-bodied wines. Wines with higher acidity or residual sugar also have a longer life. It depends not just on the wine, but the person drinking it and their sensitivity to such things, but in general I think it will still taste good for three to five days after being opened, possibly longer, and depending a lot on how the wine is stored after it's been opened.

At the very least, reseal the bottle with the cork or screwcap, or find a stopper, to prevent further oxidation. You can also transfer the wine to a smaller bottle with less surface area. Storing an open bottle in the refrigerator (yes, even for reds) will also slow the oxidation process.

—Dr. Vinny

Ask Dr. Vinny

More In Dr. Vinny

What are Greece’s Muscat of Patras wines? Are they made with sun-dried grapes?

Wine Spectator's expert Dr. Vinny introduces us to two Greek fortified wines: Muscat of …

Aug 10, 2020

Should the capsule on top of a wine bottle spin or not?

Wine Spectator's expert Dr. Vinny explains the folklore about foil capsules, or sleeves, on …

Aug 7, 2020

I tried to clean a red wine stain and it turned blue. Why?

Wine Spectator's expert Dr. Vinny explains why wine stains can turn blue, and how best to …

Aug 5, 2020

How does Wine Spectator review canned wines in blind tastings?

Wine Spectator's expert Dr. Vinny explains the procedure for blind-tasting wines from …

Aug 3, 2020

When will wine from Virginia get the recognition it deserves?

Wine Spectator's expert Dr. Vinny explains why Virginia's wines aren't more well-known on …

Jul 31, 2020

Why do Champagne bubbles come from the bottom of my glass?

Wine Spectator's expert Dr. Vinny explains carbon dioxide "nucleation sites."

Jul 29, 2020