How long will wine last with a stopper?

Answered by Michael Blake

As a sommelier and brewer, I have had the opportunity to experiment with various preservation methods and observe the longevity of wines with different types of stoppers. When it comes to preserving opened wine, a quality wine stopper is essential. It helps to slow down the process of oxidization, which is the main factor that affects the lifespan of an opened bottle of wine.

In my experience, with a good wine stopper, light white wines can typically last anywhere from four to seven days in the refrigerator. However, it is important to note that the character of the wine will start to change relatively quickly due to the process of oxidization. This means that while the wine may still be drinkable after several days, it may not taste as fresh and vibrant as when it was first opened.

Oxidization occurs when oxygen comes into contact with the wine, causing chemical reactions that alter its flavor and aroma. Even with a stopper, a small amount of air may still be present in the bottle, leading to gradual oxidization. The rate at which this occurs can vary depending on factors such as the type of wine, the quality of the stopper, and the storage conditions.

To maximize the lifespan of an opened bottle of wine, there are a few tips I can offer. Firstly, ensure that the wine is properly sealed with a tight-fitting stopper immediately after pouring. This minimizes the contact between the wine and oxygen. Secondly, store the bottle upright in the refrigerator, as this reduces the surface area exposed to oxygen. Additionally, keeping the wine at a lower temperature can help slow down the oxidization process.

It's important to mention that not all wines are created equal in terms of their ability to withstand oxidization. Light white wines, such as Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Grigio, tend to be more delicate and susceptible to the effects of oxygen. On the other hand, full-bodied red wines, such as Cabernet Sauvignon or Syrah, generally have more tannins and structure, which can help them withstand oxidization for a longer period.

In my personal experience, I have found that even with a good wine stopper, the flavor and aroma of a can noticeably change after about four days in the refrigerator. The vibrant fruitiness may fade, and the wine can become flatter and less enjoyable to drink. However, this can vary depending on the specific wine and its age.

With a decent wine stopper, most light white wines can last for four to seven days in the refrigerator. However, their character will start to change relatively quickly due to oxidization. It's always best to consume an opened bottle of wine within a couple of days to enjoy it at its best. If you're unable to finish a bottle within that time frame, consider using wine preservation methods such as vacuum pumps or inert gas systems to further extend the wine's lifespan.