At the campsite or in the garden on a balmy summer evening: everyone sometimes opens a bottle of wine that does not go completely empty. How long can you actually keep such an opened bottle of wine?
According to vinologist Martin van den Brink, red wines generally last longer than white wines. This is due to the dust tannin in the skin of the grape. That is a kind of natural preservative. Red wine is made with the skin of the grape, white wine only from the white juice in the grape.
Due to the high sugar content, sweet wines can often be kept longer than dry wines according to the vinologist. Sugar works just like tannin as a preservative. Wines with maturing in oak barrels also last longer, such as the famous white wine Bourgogne Chardonnay.
A sparkling wine, such as prosecco or champagne, can be kept open for the least, Van den Brink says. "Once open, it is best to drink sparkling wine within two days, because the bubbles will escape. This will turn it into a still wine, which will also oxidize."
Oxidation ensures that the quality of the wine deteriorates quickly once the bottle is opened. According to the vinologist, this is because oxygen is added to the wine, which causes a chemical process that often has a negative effect on taste.
Most wine can be kept for two days in the fridge, only sweet white wine lasts longer. (Photo: 123RF)
You can also store red wine in the refrigerator
But oxidation can also have positive effects. With some 'young' wines, it can actually work very well if the wine develops even further after the bottle has been opened, says vinologist Cathy Moerdijk. "For example, some young wines can still be completely 'locked'. Then the flavors will not come into their own. You should first let such a wine air or serve from a decanter to speed up that process."
Guidelines for storing wine in the refrigerator after opening
- Dry white wine: two days
- Sweet white wine: six days
- Sparkling wine: two days
- Red wine: two to three days
- Rosé: two days
To postpone the negative oxidation process for as long as possible, it certainly helps to put the wine in the fridge, says Moerdijk. This also applies to red wine, which is often said to be better stored outside the fridge. "Because of the lower temperature, all types of wine develop less quickly. You have to get red wine out of the fridge on time before you want to drink it."
Another tip from the vinologist to keep your wine good for as long as possible is to use a vacuum pump. With this you extract the oxygen from the bottle and you extend the life. Although according to Moerdijk it can also be at the expense of the aromas.
Those who do not have it at home can also use a small plastic water bottle, says Moerdijk. "You pour wine in. Then squeeze the wine until it is at the very top of the bottle, then the air is out. Then you quickly turn the cap on and put the bottle in the fridge."
"Wine becomes tasteless and falls apart"
To determine whether you can still drink an opened bottle of wine, it is best to use your senses, the experts say. When the oxidation process persists too long, wine becomes tasteless and empty, says Moerdijk. "It is falling apart. An 'empty' flavor without fruit remains."
Tips to keep your wine as long as possible
- Do not put your bottle of white wine on the table, but close it immediately after opening in the refrigerator
- Use a vacuum pump, but don't pump for too long, then you remove the aromas from the bottle
- Store all types of opened wine bottles in the refrigerator
- Use a special champagne cap for bottles with bubbles
- Always put the cork or cap back in or on the bottle when you store it
"The wine can also become bitter," adds Van den Brink. In addition, according to him, the wine can discolour. White wine can turn yellow or brown and red wine light orange-brown. Moerdijk: "If you smell the bottle and the smell is sour or you are disappointed, then you probably should not drink it anymore."