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 is the benefit of “keeping wine on the dregs”?

Wine Spectator's expert Dr. Vinny explains what a wine's "dregs" are and why some wines …

Jan 30, 2023

How do you soften a hard cork?

Wine Spectator's expert Dr. Vinny explains what happens after a wine bottle is opened, and …

Jan 24, 2023

How long can Champagne be stored in a wine cooler?

Wine Spectator's expert Dr. Vinny explains what happens as sparkling wine ages, how long it …

Jan 17, 2023

I shook a bottle of wine with sediment and now it's cloudy. Is it ruined?

Wine Spectator's expert Dr. Vinny explains where sediment comes from, and what to do if …

Jan 9, 2023

Can a cork-tainted bottle of wine cross-contaminate other bottles in my cellar?

Wine Spectator's expert Dr. Vinny explains how and when cork taint or TCA contamination …

Jan 3, 2023

Dr. Vinny’s Wine Care Clinic: Top Tips for Safekeeping Your Wine Bottles

Wine Spectator's expert Dr. Vinny answers all your wine storage and serving questions!

Dec 27, 2022