We’ve all been there. It’s a random weeknight and you just want one glass of wine. But what about the rest of the bottle? Figuring out how to store the remaining wine isn’t always straightforward. After all, many factors go into just how long a bottle of wine can keep after it’s opened.
To help, we compiled a list of five tried and true tips for properly storing your open bottle of wine.
1. Re-cork Wine the Right Way
The first rule of preserving wine is to replace the cork correctly. While the “clean” side may seem easier to fit in the bottle, resist. Instead, reinsert the stained side; the “clean” side could introduce new contaminants and taint the bottle’s contents.
2. Use Half Bottles
Air causes oxidation and flattens wine, lessening flavors and aromas. To minimize air exposure, use a funnel to pour the remaining wine into a screw-cap half bottle (a.k.a. a 375-ml bottle). Even if there’s a little air at the top, it’s far less than if the remaining wine was in a full-size bottle.
3. Refrigerate Your Opened Wine
It’s amazing how often people will keep leftover wine on the counter after they’ve recorked it. You wouldn’t do that with food, so don’t with wine. The cool temp can’t stop exposed wine from oxidizing, but it can slow the process significantly.
4. Don’t Open It
If popping high-end bottles is what you call Wednesday (or you’re itching to taste those gems in your cellar), it may be time for a Coravin. This device pierces the cork with a needle and displaces the wine with argon gas. Pour what you want, remove the needle and the cork will re-seal naturally. Many restaurants use this gadget to sell top-shelf wines-by-the-glass.
You could also opt for the Wine Enthusiast Automatic Vacuum Wine Saver and Preserver, which allows wine to keep for up to a week. However, if you prefer to sample a couple bottles at a time, check out the Wine Enthusiast Somm du Vin 2-Bottle Wine Preserver and Chiller. This fridge automatically vacuum seals two bottles and can preserve them for up to 10 days.
5. Finish It
Look, there are roughly five glasses of wine in a regular 750-ml bottle, meaning you and a friend can each pair 2.5 glasses with a sizeable dinner.
What Is the Ideal Temperature for Storing Wine?
Red, white, sparkling and fortified wines should be stored between 53 and 57°F, which will allow what’s in your bottle to continue to evolve. Just make sure the temperature doesn’t get too warm or fluctuate too often, or the wine can become damaged.
How Long Is Wine Good After Opening?
It depends! But in general, the better the wine’s quality, the longer the wine is going to last once you’ve popped the cork.
On average, a good quality white or red wine will last up to four days in the fridge. When it comes to bubbles, carbon dioxide acts as a preservative. So, if you’ve only poured a glass, you can keep the bottle in the refrigerator for up to four days—just make sure the stopper is fully reinserted to maintain pressure.
To be extra cautious, pick up some of these stoppers, which are meant for preserving bubbly. If half the bottle or more has been consumed, the bubbly will have up to two days. You can also opt to check out Coravin’s sparkling wine preservation system.
When it comes to fortified options, drink Sherries and Ports within a week. Madeiras, on the other hand, have already been exposed to heat, are oxidized and can last a good long while in the fridge.
Do You Refrigerate Wine?
Yes! If your wine has been opened, it needs to go into the refrigerator. The cool environment helps slow oxidation.
What are the Best Ways to Store Wine?
If you’re investing in good bottles of wine, storage is everything. Whether they are in your cellar or refrigerator, keep the temperature a consistent 53 and 57°F with controlled humidity. You can check out more storage tips here.
How Do You Store Open Wine Without a Cork?
So, you lost the cork after opening the bottle? It happens to the best of us. Along with using another cork from an empty bottle, it never hurts to have a few extra stoppers on hand.
This story was updated on January 23, 2023.