Does Opened Red Wine Go Bad? How Long Does Opened Red Wine Last?

If you’re enjoying a bottle of red wine, there is a chance you won’t finish it in one sitting, especially if you’re drinking alone.  This could lead you to wonder how long your red wine will last after it has been opened.

Quick Answer

Red wine does not go bad, in the sense that it will not become unsafe to consume.  However, the quality will decline rather quickly.

  • Light red wines will stay good for two to three days.
  • Medium reds will stay good for three to five days.
  • Full-bodied reds will stay good for four to six days.
  • You can taste old wines to see if they are still good.


Although you are not at risk of getting sick from drinking old wine, there is still a good bit to know about the shelf life of red wine after opening it.

Does Opened Red Wine Go Bad? How Long Does Opened Red Wine Last?

Where you keep your open bottle of wine will affect how long it stays good.  Keep this in mind when you are storing your opened wine.

How Long Does Opened Red Wine Last Outside

Keeping your wine at room temperature is generally a bad idea.  At room temperature, the flavor of wine will degrade  rather quickly, meaning that your counter or pantry are poor storage locations.

It is hard to get an exact estimate of how quickly wine will start to go bad at room temperature, because it depends on the kind of wine and the temperature of your room.  Generally, it should not be left out for more than a few hours.

Once you’re done with your wine, you should re-cork it (or cover it with plastic wrap and a rubber band), and refrigerate it right away.

How Long Does Opened Red Wine Last in the Fridge

It is best to keep your wine in the fridge, especially after you open it.  Refrigerated opened red wine will typically last anywhere from two to six days, depending on what kind of wine it is.

Light red wines can be expected to last for two to three days.  Medium reds will last for about three to five days, and full-bodied reds last for four to six days.

If you are unsure whether your red wine is still good, you can always taste it.  Red wine that has gone “bad” may develop and unpleasant flavor, but it will not become toxic or otherwise unsafe for consumption.

How Long Does Opened Red Wine Last in the Freezer

When you have leftover red wine that you want to keep a while longer, you can always freeze it.  Frozen wine tends to stay good for about four to six months.  Beyond that, its flavor may start to decline.

While some hardcore wine enthusiasts may disapprove of the idea of freezing wine, this is simply a matter of preference.  Most people should not notice a significant decline in flavor, especially if the wine has not been frozen for more than six months.

If you do freeze your wine, just remember to freeze it in a freezer-safe container.  For instructions on how best to freeze wine, see below (“Can You Freeze Red Win?  How?”).

It’s pretty easy to store an opened bottle of red wine in a way that will preserve it, so long as it’s stored in a cool place.

How To Tell If Red Wine Has Gone Bad / How To Know Red Wine is Fresh

Although old red wine is not dangerous to consume, the flavor may become unpleasant.  If you want to determine whether your red wine is still okay, here are some things to check for.

Smell.  The smell of a red wine is the best way to tell whether it is good or bad.  When red wine goes bad, the smell will be noticeably off.  One of the most common aromas old wine will develop is a somewhat musty smell.  It may also develop a smell similar to vinegar, one similar to raisins, or an unusually sour smell.

Color.  Red wine will change in color over time.  When it becomes old, the color will change from red to brown.  If your wine is brown in color, or if it has developed a brown tint, there is a good chance it has gone bad.

Flavor.  Although you may not want to risk tasting old wine, flavor is a reliable indicator of whether wine has gone bad, and can be tried if you can’t tell by smell or color.  The flavor may become unusually sweet, sour, frizzy, or start to taste like chemicals.  All of these are indicators that your wine is old and has gone bad.

How to Store Opened Red Wine?

There are a handful of factors that can affect the freshness of red wine, so here are some tips for storing it after you’ve opened it.

Re-cork your wine.  One of the most important things is to re-cork your wine.  If you don’t have a cork you can use, you can place plastic wrap over the top, and tie a rubber band around it to seal it on.

Keep it in a cool place.  Be sure to keep your wine cool – the fridge or freezer are both good places to store it.

Keep it in a dark place.  Exposing wine to light can make it go bad faster, so try to store it in the dark.

Store it upright.  Storing wine upright reduces the amount of surface area exposed to air.  This means that less oxidation will occur.

Can You Freeze Red Wine? How?

Red wine that you want to store for a while longer can be safely frozen with only slight changes to the flavor.  Here are some tips for freezing wine:

Use a freezer-safe container – not the bottle.  Wine expands when it is frozen, so if you freeze it in the bottle, it may crack or break.  Use an air-tight freezer-safe container to freeze your wine, and leave room for it to expand.

Consider freezing in an ice cube tray first.  If you are going to be cooking with this wine, it may be a good idea to freeze it into cubes.  The way to do this is to fill an ice cube tray with your leftover red wine, cover it with plastic wrap, freeze it, then transfer the frozen wine cubes to a freezer-safe container or a freezer bag.

For best quality, thaw within six months.  Because frozen red wine will lose its flavor over time, it is recommended that you thaw and use it within six months.

How to Thaw Red Wine?

If you are cooking with frozen wine cubes, there is no need to thaw them first.  You can simply add them to your recipe and let them melt.

If you want to drink your wine, or thaw it for any other reason, move it into the refrigerator or to the counter and wait for it to thaw completely.  You should start thawing it well in advance of when you want it.

Frequently Asked Questions About Red Wine’s Shelf Life

Wine can be somewhat delicate, so you may still have some questions about storing it.  Here are some things you may be wondering.

What red wines last the longest?  Full-bodied red wines are usually the longest-lasting red wines, and will stay good the longest after they are opened.  The reason for this is because of the higher alcohol content and the higher number of tannins present in the wine.  Some examples of these are Cabernet Sauvignon and Zinfandel.

Do wine preservers/wine savers really work?  Unfortunately, there has not been much evidence that wine savers actually work the way they are intended to.  They work by removing air from an opened bottle of wine and sealing them, but they have been reported to leak, and some people claim that they remove some aromatics from your wine.


Wrap Up

Once your red wine has been opened, it has a few days left before it goes bad, depending on the kind.  Always re-cork and refrigerate your open red wine, and freeze it if you need to keep it longer.

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