Can wine go bad? ?
This is THE question everyone has been asking me. And I’m finally answering it right here!
In this blog, we will talk about aging, tools to prevent your wine from going bad, and more!
P.S. Have you ever experienced bad wine? ?
Let’s get straight to it
Yes, wine can go bad! It is a living, breathing, thing ( I honestly can’t think of a better word ? )
Taking it back to the basics, wine is grape juice that wants to be vinegar. The winemaker has put their ✨ magic spell ✨ on the wine to halt it on its journey between juice and vinegar. As it ages in the bottle, it is still slowly creeping down that path. For a bottle to age well and for a long time it needs to have a lot of intensity across different elements, all age-worthy wines need an intense concentration of flavor. They also need high acidity, which is a preservative.
Age-worthy reds are going to need to have significant tannins and for whites, sugar, high acidity, and even yeast integration will help make the wine last longer. The best wines for aging are super intense in their first few years of life and honestly they often really need to chill out for a while before they’re even that good!
Storage and transportation matter enormously, for the quality as it ages.
Light, heat, and temperature fluctuations, are all the enemies of wine as they age.
For wines that are fresh, fruity, and wonderful aging doesn’t do any good for them. For those types, aging basically kills the entities we like about them. Popular styles like Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Grigio don’t benefit at all from aging because everything that we want from them dissipates over time!
On the other hand, for wines that are made to age, the flavors begin to meld over time and they become more complex! You’ll get a little bit of funk, a little bit of nuttiness, and sometimes you can get some really weird (but good) animal vibes going on! All in all, old wine is weird.
So, how long should you keep hanging on to that bottle?
Once you’ve opened up that bottle, your grape juice desperately wants to be vinegar, as we talked about earlier! This process is sped up rapidly when you open up a bottle.
Two things are happening that lead to your wine going bad:
1. Oxidation: This is process is the same as when you cut open an apple and leave it out on the counter, it goes brown and it gets a funky smell and a nutty funky vibe! Oxidation can actually add complexity and interest slowly over time in the bottle to older wines. But for wines that are meant to be drunk bright, fruity, and fresh it’s not doing any favors!
2. The second thing that happens once you’ve opened your bottle of wine is an influx of microbial activity. This creates acetic acid and acetaldehyde, these compounds smell like nail polish and they suck!!
And finally, what you’ve been waiting for, the answer to: How long can you keep a bottle for once it’s been opened?
? Sparkling wines can last a couple of days in the fridge. If you have a sparkling wine cap, these are going to attach more securely and they’re going to keep your bubbles fresh for a bit longer. I really would encourage you to finish off those bubbles the same day or at the most the next day!
? White wines will last in the fridge for three to five days if you want to push them for maybe a week!
? Red wine also can last for three to five days on the counter!
? Fortified wine such as port or sherry will last for a couple of weeks.
My favorite method for wine preservation is Repours ?
This is a pretty new product that I only discovered in the last year and I’m so thankful I did! They are amazing little bottle stoppers that absorb oxygen, and they work super well. Plus, they’re not expensive, definitely a lot cheaper than a Coravin. It protects your wine for days, weeks, or even months! So you can taste without waste, at your own pace.
I believe in them so much so that I recently started to work with Repour! Interested in bringing some home? You can get Repours worth 54$ by subscribing today to my online wine course HERE!
If you want to learn more about wine preservation systems head HERE to find out more!
What to do with wine that has gone bad!
For an opened bottle that has gone bad, you don’t need to stress or worry! And you don’t have to throw it away! It can be used again!
You have the option of leaving it on the counter and cooking with it. When using it for cooking it’s typically best to add in a small quantity such as a splash. The purpose of adding wine to a dish is to add complexity and acidity. Even if it is oxidized you can keep it around for cooking.
Another option is to put it in an ice cube tray and shove it in the freezer! This is another alternative for cooking with oxidized wine. You can toss in an ice cube to your food here and there which is equivalent to adding a tablespoon or two.
If you want to learn more about how long to age your wine head HERE but the short answer is to just drink the damn wine ?
The bottle that you’ve bought at the store is ready to be drunk now! If you don’t have a good place to keep it that is cool, dark, with no temperature fluctuations then I wouldn’t bother saving it. The only time you should really be aging a bottle is if you’re buying one with the intention to age it. If you know that it’s going to be age-worthy, you’ve done your research, and you have a good place to keep it, then go for it!!
But the hard, honest truth is that most wine is not going to get better.
If you learned something new after reading this, join my free and super fun Facebook group “Good wine, Good people”. In “Good wine, Good people” we talk about aging, prevention tips, storage, and much more! It’s a really fun place to be.
Let me know you learned something from the blog by dropping the word “WINE” in the comments.