It’s one of the most commonly asked wine questions - how to store wine, and how long does it last after opening it? Read our handy guide below to find out how to store that new bottle of red at home:
How to Store Red Wine After Opening:
Most wine is bottled with some form of closure - cork, screwcap, even glass stoppers. This protects the wine from oxygen and slows down the ageing process.
Once you open the bottle however, the clock is ticking before the wine turns to vinegar! Luckily, in most cases you have a bit of time to drink it before that happens.
If you’re planning on drinking it over a few days, try and keep the cork/capsule on it at all times. This will prevent too much air getting in.
And when you’re storing it, try and keep it upright. This reduces the surface area of the wine exposed to air (as opposed to lying on its side).
How Long Does Red Wine Last When Opened?
Unfortunately with wine, there are rarely any hard and fast rules. But if you pushed me to it, I’d go with the following:
- Lighter reds - drink within 1 day
- Full-bodied reds (not too old) - drink over 2-3 days
- Old reds - drink within a couple of hours!
There are bits of kit you can invest in that help prolong this. The cheapest of which is a vacu-vin, which will extend the above by 20-30%.
If you really want to splash out, look into a Coravin. You should get unlimited glasses of wine out of the bottle (until it’s drunk) but it isn’t cheap.
Some Tips on Red Wine Storage:
The key thing when storing red wine is to avoid temperature and light fluctuation. So rooms with radiators and a lot of noise/light are big no-no’s.
The ideal solution is to dig a big hole underneath your house and build a wine cellar (like Berta Valganon's in Rioja above). The constant cool temperature and lack of light is the perfect environment for your wine while it sleeps. However, assuming that's not an option for you, you could:
- Set up a wine rack against an outside wall - a cool room in the house will do.
- Put it in a wine fridge - that's great too! I set mine to 12 degrees celsius and keep my nicer bottles in there.
Last thing… if the wine has a cork closure, lay it on its side to prevent it drying out.
What to Avoid When Storing Red Wine:
Whatever you were told about storing wine at room temperature, forget about that. Room temperature was the right advice centuries ago when wine drinkers lived in castles and manors which were cold most of the time.
These days, most homes are far too warm for storing wine at room temperature.
Other things to avoid:
- Room temperature fluctuation - keep out of rooms with radiators
- Direct sunlight
- Noise and vibrations - kitchen cupboards aren’t ideal
Long Lasting Red Wines
If stored in the right conditions, some of the best red wines can last up to decades. Again there are no hard and fast rules, but generally:
- Price is a decent indicator of ageability - expensive reds tend to be longer lasting
- As can region - a lot of Bordeaux, Rhone, Ribera Del Duero really hit their stride after several years of ageing
In wine there’s often nothing more enjoyable or magical than drinking wine with age. Think of all the things that happened in the world since that bottle last saw air. Make sure you invest in decent glassware so you can enjoy those delicate and complex flavours in all their glory.