How long does a wine bottle keep?

A question I often get from our clients and candidates attending my wine courses is – How long can you keep an open bottle of wine? And as with everything regarding wine, the answer is, “it depends!”

Light, inexpensive (lower quality) aromatic white wines and sparkling wines are the ones that have the shortest life span once the bottle is opened. Even one day after opening, most wines like this will have lost much of their freshness and will be more dull and flat. Powerful young red wines however, can handle a few days in an open bottle and sometimes even improve. Below are some suggestions on how to slow down the damaging oxidation process, which starts as soon as the cork is removed.

The Refrigerator

All chemical reactions, including oxidation, are slower in low temperatures, so keeping the bottle cool is a good first step. Low temperatures also make life difficult for various bacteria, such as acetic bacteria that turn the wine to vinegar. There are, however, more efficient solutions than just the fridge.


Instead of just putting the cork back into the original bottle when half full it is advisable to decant it into a smaller container, to minimise the ratio of oxygen to wine, and only then putting the cork back. Some argue that by decanting the wine into a second bottle, the wine is exposed to oxygen and that there is no advantage of doing it. This depends on the wine being decanted.



Another way of protecting the wine is by using a vacuum pump. This is a fairly simple device that creates a vacuum the bottle. Unfortunately, it can also suck some aromatics out of the wine. Some wine experts claim the use of a vacuum pump leaves the wine somewhat flat while others find it to be one of the best solutions. In my experience it does increase the holding capacity of the wine, but I recommend not to keep it for more than 3-4 days. These pumps are widely available in super markets and wine shops.

A new solution – the wine shield

Nitrogen or argon

A more advanced system for preserving wine, is a cylinder of inert gas such as nitrogen or argon. A small dose is injected into the bottle to protect the wine from oxidation. The gas will create a protective shield over the wine and push out the oxygen. Some of these solutions are quite large and unpractical for homes or smaller boats. For more information and solutions please check out

I have not tried this new invention but it has been tested by some high-tech laboratories both in Australia and in the US with very good results. The feedback on the internet is very good in terms of preservation but perhaps a bit awkward to handle! Judge for your self by viewing this video.

It is not yet available in Europe according to the website but I am sure shipment can be arranged. Please contact us if you are interested.