wine preservation, how to keep wine fresh

Wine 101

How to Keep Wine Fresh, Plus Wine Preservation Tips

March 02, 2021

Written By Coravin

Looking for ways to keep wine fresh after opening a bottle? First, it’s important to understand why and how fast this happens. In general, wine lasts one to five days after being opened and that duration depends mostly on how much oxygen touches the surface when the open bottle is stored. Oxidation is the primary reason for wine going bad. When exposed to the lovely, oxygen-rich air we breathe, wine turns to vinegar over time. 

Our top tip: If you don’t plan on finishing the bottle, don’t open it. Our Coravin Timeless systems are the best way to preserve wine for months – even years. For wines you’ll finish in weeks, our Coravin Pivot system is our go-to. It’s perfect for those table wines or the bottles you like to pair with certain cuisines. Reserved your reds for Italian night and Rieslings for grilled chicken salads.

4 ways to preserve wine for longer

No Coravin, no problem. Or, maybe you have a Coravin but you mistakenly decided to open the whole bottle and are realizing that you won’t finish it in one sitting. Here are some ways you can extend freshness beyond the one- or two-day mark:

  1. Cork it. If you suspect you might not finish the bottle in one sitting, immediately put the cork back in after pouring a glass.

  2. Store it upright. Storing the bottle upright ensures that a limited surface area is exposed to oxygen. When placed back on your wine rack on its side, the bottle’s orientation exposes more wine to the oxygen that snuck in after popping the cork. 

  3. Keep it out of the sun. Harsh lights and UV rays can travel easily through clear and green bottles. Sunlight instigates a sulphur-releasing process which can impact the aroma – and therefore the taste – of your wine. Pro tip: Avoid buying wines displayed in store windows – especially whites or rosés stored in clear bottles.  

  4. Store in a cold, dark place. The fridge is a great option for storage. You wouldn’t leave food leftovers out on the table overnight, so don’t do so with your wine. The cooler temperature won’t stop the exposed wine from breaking down but it can significantly slow the process. 

Now that you know how to keep wine fresh, let’s set some realistic expectations for how long different wines should last. 

Red to white: How long does wine last

As we mentioned above, wines last anywhere between one and five days once opened. Follow our tips when it comes to storage and keep these additional tidbits in mind when you’re deciding how fast you’ll finish that bottle you just opened.

Light reds (2-3 days)

Light reds like Pinot Noir, Barbera, and Grenache are some of the most sensitive red wines once they are exposed to air. Older vintages are even more delicate than younger bottles. A good rule of thumb: If the vintage is 10+ years old, best to enjoy the whole bottle in one sitting or use your Coravin and to extract a glass. 

Medium-high bodied reds (3-5 days)

Reds like Merlot, Syrah, Tempranillo, and Shiraz have a higher tannin and alcohol level – both of which help lengthen the preservation time by a day or two. Tannins are naturally occurring polyphenols found in plants, seeds, leaves, and fruit skins (hello, grapes) that help stabilize wine and buffer it against oxidation. The higher the tan

Fortified reds (30+ days)

A high tannin red wine like Bordeaux blend, Petite Sirah, or Nebbiolo, can last up to 6 days after opening. Impressive, right? But then there’s fortified wines like Port and Sherry. The high tannin and high alcohol content in these wines contributes to their very long shelf life after opening. Cork and store fortified wine correctly and it could last months. 

Organic and sulfite-free wines (2-3 days)

Once opened, organic and sulfite-free wines are typically more fragile. Sulfites preserve freshness and protect wine from oxidation, and unwanted bacteria and yeasts – so, less sulfites means less protection. 

White wine (3-5 days)

Generally speaking, white wine will stay drinkable for three to five days after uncorking when stored correctly. Full-bodied whites like Chardonnay, Viognier, and Savatiano oxidize slightly faster because they are typically exposed to more oxygen during the aging process.

Sparkling wine (1-3 days)

We’d be remiss to leave out sparkling wines. These are best finished in a sitting so, go ahead, pour another mimosa – light on the orange juice. If you’d like to save it, cork your sparkling wine immediately after pouring to keep as much carbonation in as possible. Then, store your wine upright in the fridge.

Now that you know how to keep wine fresh and how long that bottle of red or sparkling white will last once opened, go forth and drink confidently. As always, our favorite way to preserve wine for longer is by investing in a Coravin Timeless or Coravin Pivot wine preservation system. These tools will help elevate your wine drinking and ensure that you never pour a bottle down the drain again.

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