Sherry is a wine from Spain known for its bold taste. There are several different types of sherry, such as Fino, Manzanilla, and Oloroso. Sherry is also a fortified wine, meaning its alcoholic content is slightly higher than normal wine.
Sherry does spoil and lose its peak flavor as other wines do. If kept out, most bottles of Sherry can last from 1-2 years if kept in a cellar away from heat and sunlight. Once opened, sherry can last only 2-3 days or more depending on the type of Sherry. Finer bottles of Sherry, like Oloroso or Amontillado, may last between 2-4 weeks.
If you’ve ever wanted to purchase a bottle of Sherry or have a bottle and are curious about how long it can last, read on.
Does Sherry Go Bad? How Long Does Sherry Last?
Sherry does not always age as well as other wines. Different types of sherry may also last longer depending on how they are stored.
How Long Does Sherry Last Outside?
Unopened: A bottle of Sherry can last up from 12-18 months if kept in a cool, dry place. Fino and Manzanilla Sherry wines which are naturally dry and light in color will last up to 18 months. Darker, sweeter Sherry wines like Amontillado or Oloroso can last up from 18-36 months.
Opened: The quality of Sherry begins to drop the moment the bottle is opened. Sherry will last 24 hours if kept out and loses its flavor quickly.
How Long Does Sherry Last In The Fridge?
Once a bottle of Sherry has been opened, its shelf life will differ depending on what type of Sherry wine you have.
Fino / Manzanilla: These wines are light and dry last on average 2-3 days when left in the fridge. They age naturally with the help of ‘flor’ yeast and are more prone to spoiling.
Amontillado / Medium: Amontillado Sherry wines last longer than Fino wines, ranging from 2-3 in the fridge. This is due to their hybrid aging process, at first with ‘flor’ yeast and then through oxidation.
Oloroso / Pedro Ximénez: Oloroso Sherry wines last from 1-2 months after being placed in the refrigerator. Oloroso Sherry wines or wines made from Pedro Ximénez grapes do not use yeast to age and are thus heavier, bolder wines.
How Long Does Sherry Last In The Freezer?
If kept in a container with minimal oxygen, Sherry can last for 3 years or indefinitely. Sherry has a hard time freezing in a standard freezer due to its higher alcoholic content. Freezing also alters the taste of sherry and while it may be safe to drink, the wine may not be as pleasant to drink.
To summarize, the best place to store Sherry wines is in a cellar or cool, dark place if unopened. Once opened, it’s best to keep Sherry in the fridge, no matter which type of Sherry wine you have.
How Can You Tell If Sherry Has Gone Bad?
Many of the same tell-tale signs of spoiling in red or white wines can be applied to Sherry wines. As with all wines, oxidation after being bottled is the enemy and can spoil an otherwise delicious wine.
Smell: Depending on which type of Sherry wine you have, smells will change but they’re all pleasant if still fresh. Amontillado Sherry wine, for example, can smell like hazelnuts and dried apricots. However, oxidation will cause all wines to turn to vinegar. If you smell a vinegary smell, then the wine has gone bad and should be thrown out.
Cork Integrity: Left too long, corks can dry up and crumble into the wine. This will leave black specks at the top of the wine. If you notice these specks, it might mean the wine has gone bad. The specks of cork can also grow mold on them, so it’s best to toss.
Signs of Oxidation: If there are any signs of sediment at the bottom of the bottle, then oxidation has taken place and the wine has spoiled.
Taste: Probably the easiest way to determine if Sherry wine has gone bad is by taking a small sip. Check for any of the advertised tastes. If you detect vinegary, flat taste, or a loss of any flavor, the wine has expired.
How Do You Store Sherry Wine?
Unopened: Store Sherry wines in a cellar or dark pantry space. Heat and light can speed up wine’s aging process so a proper wine rack away from direct sunlight will work perfectly.
Opened: For Fino or Manzanilla Sherry wines, opened bottles will spoil faster. They are best placed in the fridge to maintain their freshness. Use a cork or stopper to prevent oxygen from entering the bottle. Another option is to pour the wine into a decanter or smaller bottle.
Amontillado and Medium Sherry wines will last longer but must also be kept in the fridge. Oloroso wines may get away with being stored outside of the fridge but they will last longer when kept cold.
Can You Freeze Sherry?
Yes, Sherry wines can be frozen although freezing will affect their taste and look. If you are freezing Sherry, remember to use an airtight container and minimize the amount of air in the bottle by transferring it into a smaller bottle. Sherry wines can also be used for cooking and flavoring. Note that Sherry wines take colder temperatures to freeze due to their higher alcohol content compared to other wines.
How Do You Thaw Sherry?
There is no need to thaw Sherry wines. If you’re using Sherry wines for cooking, the best way to freeze and thaw Sherry wines is to use ice cube trays. Pour the wine into the trays and let them freeze. Place the frozen cubes into freezer bags. When ready to thaw, simply take what you need and leave the rest. They will thaw quickly when cooking.
FAQs about Sherry Shelf Life
My bottle of Sherry wine tastes funny but hasn’t been long since purchasing/storing. What can I do? It could be something called ‘cork taint,’ a condition when fungi from the cork appear in the wine. To fix, wrap plastic sheetings into the inside of a bowl. Pour the Sherry wine into the bowl and wait 45 minutes. The fungi will stick to the plastic.
Does storing Sherry on its side affect its shelf life? Yes, it’s better to store Sherry wine standing up to minimize the amount of oxygen in the bottle. It also helps to keep the cork from drying up.
Now that you’ve learned about the shelf-life of Sherry, you can purchase a bottle with confidence. Whether you’re into lighter wines like Fino or darker wines like Amontillado or Oloroso, Sherry wines have something for everyone.