Does Wine Go Bad? How Long Does Wine Last?

If you are a wine connoisseur, you may be wondering if wine can go bad. Wine is something most people have in their fridges, and knowing how long wine can last both inside and outside of the refrigerator can help you make the most of your wine.

Quick Answer

Wine does go bad, but the timeline depends on a few factors. The shelf life of unopened wine extends past the expiration date for up to 20 years. If wine is opened, the shelf life is quite a bit shorter; if not stored correctly, it can only last up to 7 days.  After the expiration date, yeast and bacteria can build up in the bottle and make it bad.


Knowing the factors that can make your wine go bad can help you keep your wine fresh and tasty for a more extended time. Read on to determine the factors needed to keep the wine fresh.

Does Wine Go Bad? How Long Does Wine Last?

The factors determining how and why wine goes bad to depend on the environment it is in and how long it has been opened. These things will determine how long you can enjoy your wine.

How Long Does Wine Last Outside?

An unopened bottle of wine can last a long time past the expiration date. Sweeter unopened bottles of wines can last up to 3 to 5 years past their expiration dates. A fine wine such as port can last up to 20 years past the due date.

To make sure the wine stays good, it needs to be stored in a cool dark storage space. It can last for a more extended period due to the lack of sunlight leading to yeast and bacteria in the bottle. If wine is placed in direct sunlight, it can expedite the process.

Wine, if opened, should not be stored outside of the fridge. If left outside of the refrigerator, the wine will not last long. Once the air is in the bottle from being open, it quickly oxidizes the alcohol and causes bacteria and yeast to build up in the bottle.

How Long Does Wine Last in the Fridge?

Unopened wine stored in the fridge can last for a while. As long as the bottle remains cold, the wine will remain reasonably fresh. An unopened bottle of wine can last in the fridge for the same amount of time it can be left out.

An opened bottle of wine can only be stored in the fridge for up to a week. This is because once opened, air and carbonation can escape the bottle. A lack of a tight seal will cause the wine to spoil.

When opening a bottle of wine, it is best to keep the original cap to create the tightest seal possible for the wine. The lighter the wine, the quicker it will go bad, but you can avoid it by decanting the wine before storing it in the fridge.

How Long Does Wine Last in the Freezer?

Wine is not often stored in the freezer. But it can be stored in the freezer for an indefinite period. Freezing helps pause the turning process and keep the wine fresh for a more extended time.

Full bottles of wine should not be stored in the freezer due to the freezer’s expansive properties on the wine. It is best to accumulate smaller amounts of wine in the freezer. It expands the shelf-life of the open wine indefinitely.

When wine is placed in the freezer it expands, while also staying fresh and slushy for future use. Thawing the wine will once again make it fresh. But if you are using carbonated wine, it is recommended not to freeze it because it will eliminate the bubbles.


Wine is best stored in a cool, damp, dark area if unopened, and if opened, it is best stored in the fridge. To keep your wine fresh make sure you are following the right strategies to keep your wine fresh.

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

There are a couple of different ways you can determine if your wine has gone bad.

Smell: One of the easiest ways to tell wine has gone bad is by its smell. If it smells like vinegar or sour and bitter, your wine has gone bad, more than likely. The wine can even smell like manure and rotten eggs due to its refermenting. Fresh wine will smell aromatic and fresh, unlike bad wine.

Taste: If you are not sure the wine is bad, you can taste it. If it is indeed bad, it will taste like sauerkraut or like chemicals. You will be able to taste it quite strongly, and the bitter notes will taste extremely sour.

Appearance: The appearance of spoiled wine will look brownish and have a vinegar consistency. Still, the wine will also have bubbles in it because it is refermenting. Most of the time these signs are caused by oxygen seeping into the bottle and turning it.

How to Store Wine?

To keep your wine good for as long as possible, you need to store it properly.

Unopened: Unopened bottles of wine should be stored in a cool dark place. These should be stored on their side and only kept for a few years after the expiration date. They can also be refrigerated if you would prefer chilled wine.

Opened: Opened bottles of wine should be stored in the refrigerator. If there is a lot of room in the bottle, you should decant it before storing it to eliminate possible oxidation problems. The seal on an opened bottle should be as tight as it can be. If the cap is loose, it can cause problems and create a breeding ground for yeast and bacteria.

Can You Freeze Wine? How?

Yes, you can freeze wine. There are a couple of things to pay attention to when putting a bottle of wine in the freezer.

Amount of Wine:  When freezing wine, it is essential to make sure you are not freezing a full bottle. If you freeze and an unopened bottle of wine, it can cause the cork to open and wine to explode in your freezer. An opened bottle of wine can be stored in the freezer and has less of a chance of leaking.

Size of Container: An unopened bottle of wine should not be stored in the freezer because it can explode. An open bottle of wine should be stored in an expandable container to keep the tannins in the bottle and keep the wine from exploding.

This is all you need to do to freeze your wine! It will become slushy reasonably quickly in a bit more than one hour.

How to Thaw Wine?

The best way to thaw wine helps keep the wine fresh and allow it to breathe.

Thaw: Wine will not fully freeze, but the slushy remains need to be thawed in the fridge for a little while. You may see crystals in the wine that are formed when changing the temperature of the wine.

Time: Depending on how slushy you want your wine to depend on how long you thaw it. If you’re going to thaw a bottle of wine, it could take up to 24 hours in the fridge before it is fully melted.

Frequently Asked Questions About Wine’s Shelf Life

Can you get sick from drinking old wine? Drinking from an opened bottle of wine will not make you sick. The only noticeable difference is that the wine may taste different and not fresh. You will have no harmful effects if you drink old wine, but you should use wine soon after it is opened.

What can I do with old wine? If you have old wine, there are a couple of things you can do with it. First, you can make vinegar! The fermenting of the wine can give it vinegar-like qualities. You can also poach fruit, marinate meat, and create a salad dressing. You do not need to throw away old wine; you can instead have it work for you!

Wrap Up

Wine does go bad after a little bit of time, but knowing the best way to store and keep the wine fresh, can help you enjoy your wine for a little longer! Now that you know the steps for keeping wine fresh, you will know what to do next time you open a bottle of wine.

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