Written by: Tim Edison

Updated on: June 12, 2022

How Long Does White Wine Last? [Best Ways to Store it]

How long does white wine stay good for? How long does it last in the fridge? What are the best ways to keep it tasting fresh? If you need these answers, we can help down below!

woman drinking bad white wine

Recently we explored the staying power of red wine, but what about white?

How do you tell if white wine is bad?  What's the best way to keep a bottle once it's been opened? And, how can you tell if it's bad before tasting it?

Just like red, how long a white wine lasts really depends on the type of wine. 

Whether you're drinking a Chardonnay, Pino Grigio, Sauvignon Blanc, Viognier, Riesling, or any other type of white wine - you might find your experience differs.

In addition, white wines are sensitive to light and heat, making them a little more temperamental.

Today, we explain how to tell if your white wine has gone bad and also what you can do to extend its lifespan.


How Long Does White Wine Last When Opened?

As a general rule of thumb, these are the numbers to think about when it comes to white wines and how long they'll last opened and unopened:

  • Opened: about 3 days
  • Unopened: 1-2 years

To be honest, your best bet with wine is to drink it in its entirety each time. But, please remember to drink responsibly.

All wine changes once opened and whites, being as sensitive to temperature as they are, can change in ways that that make it taste pretty bad, pretty quickly.  

That said, there are ways to keep whites after opening them and to enjoy them a few days later.

The key to this is understanding the white you're trying to keep and following the guidelines to do so.

Here are the basics for how long white wines will last, but remember, whites are sensitive to light and temperature, and so the style can also dictate how long the wines last.

  • Sparkling Whites: 1-3 days in the fridge with a sparkling wine stopper.
  • Light Whites: 5-7 days in the fridge when recorked.
  • Full Bodied Whites: 3-5 days in the fridge when recorked.
  • Wine in a Bag in a Box: 2-3 weeks in the fridge.
Angry woman on phone in restaurant


What Happens When Wine Goes Bad?

Wine is a complicated drink!

While oxygen is good for opening up a bouquet (it's why we swirl, decant, aerate), oxidation (too much oxygen over a prolonged period) is also what turns a wine, giving it that distinct, vinegary taste.

White wines oxidize far more quickly which is why they aren't decanted. Basically white wines should have their exposure to oxygen limited, but there is no way to completely block wine from exposure to oxygen.

Once white wine becomes oxidized it will start to get a sour, vinegary taste and there will also be a change in color with white wines deepening and yellowing.  

Oxidation isn't the only cause of wine going bad and we explain some of the signals that you can interpret for wine being bad in the next section.


How Do I Know If My Wine Has Gone Bad?

Lucky for you, there are ways to see and smell whether or not your wine has gone bad - that means you don't always have to taste it.


Visual Clues

  • Oxidized wines generally turn brown. For a white wine you're going to want to avoid a wine that has turned a deep yellow or straw color. A change in color is a good sign that something's up - but you can also sniff or even taste the wine to confirm.
  • If the cork has been pushed out of the bottle, you've got spoiled wine. This is a sign that the bottle has been heated too much. This normally happens in transit but could feasibly occur in warm climates where the bottles have not been properly stored.
  • If you see bubbles but the wine is still, it's bad! You can also hear this clue - when opening a still bottle of wine you shouldn't hear a deeper pop like you would with champagne. While it won't be nearly as loud, there is a distinct sound that a wine gone fizzy emits when the cork is removed.


Clues Through Smell

  • Smells like vinegar. This is a tell tale smell sign that your wine is way past its prime.  Vinegar or sour smelling wines should be dumped.
  • Smells musty. Like an old, wet basement? Like wet cardboard? Anything that smells like something that's been damp and sitting, like mildew, is likely "corked" and definitely not drinkable. Corked wine accounts for about 2-5% of all wine!
  • Smells sweet. If a dry white smells sweet, it's bad.

We've got a great resource on the tell-tale smells of a wine 'gone bad'.


Clues Through Taste

  • Tastes like vinegar. While some wines do have vinegar on the nose, a vinegar taste is a good indication that the wine has oxidized.
  • Tastes fizzy. Still whites should never fizz so if you feel slight bubbles, it's gone bad.
  • Tastes flat. A lack of fruit flavors and general dullness to wine often mean the bottle is bad. This is an indication of cork taint from a corked wine (see 'Cues Through Smell').

Learn From Bad Wine!

If you're at an event or restaurant and you're told that the bottle is bad once the sommelier or staff have opened it, ask for a lesson! When they bring a new bottle you can ask questions as you compare and contrast the good stuff with the bad -  color, scent, taste - these will help to develop your understanding wine.


How Can I Extend the Life of My Wine After It's Been Opened?

As we touched on in the last section, oxygen is the enemy when it comes to preserving an opened white wine.

Time is not on your side but there are devices that can help.

These are essentially air vacuums that suck oxygen out of an opened bottle before forming an air tight seal over the opening.

There are two models that I've used and feel that are good enough to recommend.


1. The Vacu Vin Wine Saver - Great Value

This tool is essentially a little pump with a bottle stopper. It allows you to suck the air out of the bottle after you put the bottle stopper on, essentially creating a vacuum.

It’s this air that causes oxidation, so the less air that remains in your bottle after you close it, the less quickly your wine will oxidize.

It's a great little tool that can give you an extra couple of days of fresh wine once it's been opened.





2. Coravin Wine Preservation System - Preservation Excellence

The other option you have to extend the life of your opened wine bottle is the Coravin.

Let me start by saying these are expensive. They're a very impressive invention but they're definitely not for everyone.

The selling point here is that it can preserve opened wine for weeks, months, and even years!

But how?

Using a thin, hollow needle and argon gas!

Coravin extracts wine through the needle once it's inserted into the cork and then pumps in a little argon.

When the needle is extracted the cork naturally expands, almost treating the wine as if it were never opened to begin with.

So, you are able to pour glasses of wine from the bottle without oxidation ruining the remaining wine in the bottle.




How Long Does White Wine Last Unopened?

When stored properly, unopened white wine can last a considerable amount of time.

Cellaring is the best option but a well-maintained wine refrigerator or even a pantry, if kept cool and dark, work well too.

Assuming that more of us have pantries than cellars, here are the basic guidelines for keeping unopened wines in the pantry:

  • Bottled Whites last 1-2 years
  • Wine Boxes last 1 year


Conclusion

It's always best to drink a bottle of white wine within a few hours of opening it, but if this isn't an option be sure to recork it and get it in the fridge as soon as possible.

If it's sparkling, use a sparkling wine bottle stopper.

For still wines use a combination vacuum pump/wine stopper cap to get the air out and prolong the wine's life.  

Something like the Coravin Wine Preserver is a great accessory for keeping wine fresh but it's also really expensive and out of reach for most of us!


About the Author Tim Edison

Although not having any formal training in wine, Tim has developed an irrefutable love of wine and interest in anything related to it ever since his late teens.

Coming from a family of wine lovers, it was from a young age that he got exposed to wine and the culture that goes with it.

Tim has travelled to dozens of wine regions across the world including those in France, Italy, California, Australia, and South Africa.

It is with great joy that he hopes to share those experiences here on wineturtle.com and take you along on the journey for a second time!

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  1. Hi, I have a box of Rosemont GTR and it expired one year ago. It has been kept in a dark place, my question is isn’t okay? Or do I have to throw it?

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