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!
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.
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:
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.
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.
Clues Through Smell
We've got a great resource on the tell-tale smells of a wine 'gone bad'.
Clues Through Taste
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!
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:
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!