Does Wine Expire or Go Bad?

Whether you are an expert wine connoisseur or are just entering the world of vino, there is always more to learn about the art of making, and enjoying, wine. One of the most common mistakes made is assuming that all wine only gets better with age. However, this is not necessarily so cut and dry.

So, does wine expire? Does wine go bad? Well, keep reading and you’ll soon find out.

Does Wine Expire?

The answer to this question can be a bit murky. Does it expire? Yes….and no. Some, and I mean a relatively small percentage, absolutely get better with age, but most wines either expire or go bad within years of its release. For instance, since the characteristics (aromatics and its fresh fruity flavors) of most white wine varieties largely depend on being fresh, they should be consumed sooner rather than later. This is particularly important regarding open bottles. Your opened bottle of white wine should be drunk within 1 to 3 days. Red wines last a few days longer although keep in mind that lighter red varieties are the more sensitive of the bunch. They should be drunk within 3 days of opening.

How to Tell If Wine Has Gone Bad

Typically, the smell and or taste will give bad or expired vino away, but there are also some general guidelines. Granted, some wines are designed to last between 1 and 5 years, most that are produced these days are usually meant to be drunk soon after purchasing. Other than using smell/taste to determine if your wine has gone bad, a visual inspection would be helpful. Does the cork seem to be pushed out a bit? Has the color of the wine changed? Although drinking some not-so-fresh wine will not make you super sick, it likely will not be very palatable or a pleasant experience.

Preventative Measures

Most wines go bad thanks to the oxidation process. Once opened, and oxygen is introduced, the wine starts to oxidize. It will continue to do so until your precious vino is basically turned into vinegar. To prevent this from happening, you need to cork and refrigerate your opened wine as soon as possible. You can also transfer it into a smaller container to limit the amount of oxygen that the wine is exposed to.

There you have it. Unless yours is a wine that is meant to be aged, less than 1% of what is produced today, it is best used up relatively quickly. Aging a wine that was not produced to improve with time is pointless and does not offer any discernible benefits. And, could actually be detrimental. So, now you have a very reasonable and legitimate excuse for why that bottle that was recently brought home from the shop, needs the cork popped sooner than later! Ciao!

Minimum 4 characters