How long can my open bottle last? (And tips for leftover wine)

by Aug 31, 2020News0 comments


Dear reader, how’s it going?

Breno is here to help you get ready for the week that’s starting. Well, summer’s leaving, but nice weather keeps strong here in Portugal. Hope it stays like this for a good while!

Now, on to practical things. Were you, by any chance, unable to finish a bottle you had opened this weekend? Don’t worry: all hope is not lost. It can last longer than you think.

It seems odd, but there is indeed a way to enjoy this strange thing called leftover wine. I heard a few times about it, but I’m not exactly sure what that is, as my bottles always go away quickly (just kidding)!

We know: after opened, wine can go bad by turning vinegar-sour (literally) or simply by oxidizing, numbing flavors and aromas and turning the liquid into something dull.

Storing it in the fridge is, therefore, always the top choice to slow down the metabolic process.

But many people I know immediately look at the opened wines in the fridge and go into despair, trying to get rid of them as fast as possible. Especially by drinking it when they’re not in the mood, a day or two after it was opened, or simply by pouring it in any sauce to say “Whew, at least it didn’t spoil!”.

Sometimes that means simply wasting what you have.


Okay, It’s sealed. How long, now?

Here’s typically how long it takes before your opened bottle (considering it is properly air-tight sealed and chilled) starts losing its best due to chemical reactions:

Red wines: expect it to be good for 3 to 5 days in a cool, dark place with a cork. Usually, bolder ones with more body, tannin and acidity are the ones which will likely last longer. So be cool with Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah and others, but be quick with Pinot Noir! Unless temperature right now is really chill for you, put it in a cooler or a fridge.

Lighter/sweet white wines and rosé: around 5 to 7 days in fridge with a cork. Overall, oxidation is more perceptible for these wines, so Sauvignon Blanc, Vinho Verde and others won’t be as vibrant as they were when opened the first time. But nonetheless, still good to go.

Full-bodied whites: from 3 to 5 days in fridge with a cork. Yes, good old Chardonnay tends to oxidize faster because of its earlier oak aging. Store it carefully and think faster than with other whites!

Sparkling wines: mere 1 to 3 days in the fridge with a specific sparkling wine stopper. Since Champagne, Cava, Prosecco and others lose carbonation quickly after opening, don’t let them go dull. What a waste it would be!

In case you are planning to drink the leftover wine, don’t forget to let it gently warm and reach the best drinking temperature so you can enjoy it to the fullest! (And here’s how you can store your unopened bottles for the long term.)

Featured wine and entertainment stories

Five useful apps for wine lovers anywhere in the world


What's ahead for French 2021 vintages after the frosts?


Not all the same: a quick guide to rosé and its different styles


Wines that smell like spring: floral aromas to try this season


Remembering Steven Spurrier, the gentleman who globalized the love of fine wine


A celebration of the women who inspire and shape the wine world


Unearthing and mapping the unique heritage of Portuguese wine and its hidden gems


Five common myths in terms of tasting wine


A virtual trip to Tuscany and its greatest wines - from classics to Super Tuscans to whites


Carménère and other grapes saved from extinction to produce world-class wines


Wine ideas to pour romance into Valentine's Day


How the world’s most famous dessert wines are made


What solutions for cooking leftovers?

Okay. So you decided not to drink your leftover wine. No trouble!

I’m a big fan of por roasts and love the deliciously wine-dependant boeuf bourguignon and coq au vin — but these require much more than just some leftovers.

Using leftover wine, even if very little, is always good for marinating meats: alongside citric flavors, whites are great to enhance poultry and pork dishes. Roast beef and other red meat braised choices go fine with some reds. Tofu is versatile and gains a lot of personality when marinated with any!

Also, a tip that never goes wrong: a splash of red or dry white wine in tomato sauce. Fruity and rich.

That’s the basis also for classic ragù alla bolognese, with the multiplicity of flavors from meat, wine, celery, carrot, sauce and what eventually comes into it! Gravy is great with wine, as is a poissibility that’s also my personal take for filet au poivre – swtching cognac for a fortified or simply for a bolder red inside the peppery, creamy sauce.

Thinking of making a vinaigrette for dressing? Mix any leftovers (of red or white) with lemon juice, honey, salt, pepper, origano/thyme and olive oil. Done. Lovely!

Last but not least: if you’re really not in the mood for using the leftover wine quickly, freeze it in cubes. A few of these cubes will do the trick when and save time and also space – if you simply want to get rid of the bottle.

* * *

In the meantime, why not check our latest Wine Club offers and initial bottle offerings?

And all the available wines on our marketplace are below. Enjoy!

Stories on wine investment


Five useful apps for wine lovers anywhere in the world

It is easy to have quick options to manage your cellar; acquaint with oenophiles; compare prices and vintages; develop tasting profiles; meet new wine styles; buy bottles and find pairings.

Investing in fine wine remotely in times of Covid, tariffs and stuck cargo ships

Amidst lockdowns, disrupted supply chains and economic concerns, online investment with full safety opens new possibilities for investors and collectors

Alti Wine Exchange Indexes in 2020: despite it all, safe and strong returns for fine wine

Fine and rare wines have enjoyed robust performance and low volatility in comparison to markets during Covid, gaining further room in diversified portfolios

Read and watch our fine wine investment tips and analyses

Free contents, reports and overviews by our experts will help you make the best decisions for profit and protection – and also enjoy the best investment-grade wines

Introducing our internal index for fine wine investors


Outside the bottle | Prosperity is not automatic: a lesson from top wine producers


Fine wine withstood a tough year. What's ahead for 2021?


Why not give your loved ones a rare wine Christmas gift card?


What makes Seña a masterpiece of New World winemaking


Why people are turning their passion for wine into investment


Explore More from Our Blog

Ever heard of a wine cocktail?

DEAR READER, I hope some of you learned from the reader letter last week [hyperlink to Week Ten post] and checked your attics! You never know how much wine sits above you, waiting to be uncorked and decanted—on someone else’s dime! Dear Sommelier Ferdinand, I have a...

What on earth is a ‘Wine Decanter’?

DEAR READER, It’s come to my attention that many of you are ill-informed, misinformed, and frankly, uninformed about how wine is to be consumed. Were I only a wine enthusiast, it would be wholly dispiriting. But—wine is my profession, and I’m obligated to recognize...

“What’s My Next Question?” – Benjamin Kaplan

What’s My Next Question? On a random day like today 11 years ago, a legendary Harvard Law professor and lawyer, Benjamin Kaplan, died at 99 years of age. A rich, marked life that left an impact long after his last breathe. Apart from influencing the likes of Ruth...

Wine that Makes You Look Up

Wines that Make You Look Up Can you imagine having a device that magnifies your view and never thinking to look up, never pointing it toward the sky? Until August 25, 1609, nobody had. Enter Galileo Galilee, the man who changed the way we see and interpret all that is...

Should you be swirling your wine before consumption?

DEAR READER, Through all the melodrama of the past few weeks, I’ve neglected to educate the newcomers about the art of winetasting. So, I dug deep into my inbox for this query: Sommelier Ferdinand, I went to a ball last night and wasn’t aware of the proper pre-drink...

Sommelier Ferdinand answers “What’s the point of drinking wine from a hundred years ago?”.

DEAR READER, I’ve heard what you’ve all had to say, and I’ve decided to reach out to Jerry, once again, to bury the hatchet. Who’s to say if he would be open to making amends… but I made the effort, on behalf of all you insightful readers! I’ll keep you all updated on...


DEAR READER, Something unprecedented has happened. My assistant has received an additional letter from Jerry. Remember him—from last week [READ HERE] Well, our beloved wine purist wrote back after reading yesterweek’s column: Sommelier Ferdinand, I don’t care about...

Transcending Time through Wine

On August 11, 1888, The Scientific American published its 658th issue, replete with exciting findings. From “A Study on Whirlwinds,” to “The Distillation of Peppermint" and thoughts on the human conscious, this popular science magazine had already been around since...

Boxed Wine and an angry recipient.

What an experience, to receive all your criticisms. That would shake any normal individual. But I’ve spent years having my judgments under a microscope, so I’ve learned to shut my doors to it. You are all welcome to try—but I won’t be changing any time soon! Speaking...

Sommelier Ferdinand answers “What it takes to become a Sommelier”.

DEAR READER, As the grapes grow richer, so do the bottler and buyer! Wine is an investment, my dear readers. Never forget the long game! Now, for some advice you folks have solicited: Sommelier Ferdinand, I want to be a sommelier, like yourself. I have the respect for...

Harry Potter and the Magical Creation of Seña 2007

On July 21, 2007, J.K. Rowling released her seventh and final book of a most memorable series. In just 24 hours, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows sold more than 11 million copies! On that same day, in a land more fascinating than Hogwarts, Seña 2007 was getting...

This week Sommelier Ferdinand answers the difficult question “Which do you prefer: Red or White?

DEAR READER, Some wrote in after last week, wishing me happiness…? Sending me love…? What do you all think, I’m still in love with Matilde? Save your pity for someone who needs it, I beg you! Anyway: Sommelier Ferdinand, Which do you prefer: Red, or white? -Clarise...