Wine Basics: How Long Does White Wine Last?


Occasionally happy surprises happen to every one of us. Sometimes it comes in the form a forgotten $20 bill in your jacket. Who’s been there done that?

Sometimes it is a bottle of wine while cleaning out storage or fridge. $20 is $20 right?. Goods can be bought with the money, but it may not be the same case for wine. Wine can go bad.

Wine is designed to last long. The very low sugar content present in wine gives very little for bacteria to feed on. The high alcohol content in the wine is a hostile environment for bacteria (they really don’t like alcohol). These two factors combined make it very difficult for bacteria to break down wine. How long a bottle of wine remains consumable all depends on the type of wine, and storage conditions.

In general, white wine typically has less shelf life compared to other kinds of wine, like reds. An unopened bottle of white wine can be consumed in 2-3 years after the expiry date on the label of the wine bottle compared to fine wine which is good even decades after the production. So particular care has to be taken in case of white wines.

Storage Conditions for White Wine

Storage conditions are a major factor in determining how long a bottle of wine will last. Let us list some of the factors and explain the reasons behind it. You don’t want to waste your time too fast right?

A Cool and Dry Storing Environment

Wine has to be kept in a relatively cool place. This is the main reason why wine cellars are built below the ground!

There is a stable, lower temperature below the ground level. When the temperature around the wine bottle is high, it causes the wine to disintegrate. So wine needs to be stored in a cool place. Every one of us cannot afford to build a cellar, so wine chillers similar to this are ideal places to store wine. Refrigerators also work but just remember to warm up a bit the wine before consumption.

Dark and Low Lit Environments

As with warmth, light also helps the wine to disintegrate. This is another advantage with an underground cellar. Natural light is scarce. This is the reason why wine comes in dark bottles, especially red wines. Boxed wine lasts longer because of this, it’s completely dark and enclosed inside. So be very mindful where and how you store your favorite wines!

A dark storage cabinet like this one would make a beautiful furniture addition in your home!

Store Wine in the Right Humidity Levels

When the air around a wine bottle is dry, it also dries the cork of the bottle. This will cause air and other contaminants to enter the bottle, which encourages the disintegrating process of wine. This is part of the reason wine bottles are stored sideways actually. Storing sideways, the cork will remain damp with the liquid inside the bottle. This will ensure a tight fit of the cork and keeps the elements out of the bottle.

If you’re a person who loves keepsakes, this cork holder is perfect for you! Store your wine corks from around the world in this decorative home-piece.

How Long Does an Unopened Bottle of White Wine Last?

In general, an unopened bottle of white wine lasts for 2-3 years after the expiry date on the label. Take a look below for more steps you can take when you are unsure about how long the bottle of wine has been sitting out.

  1. Check expiry: Most wine bottles have an expiration date. White wine will be good even a couple of years after the expiry date on the label but might not be as delicious later down the road.
  2. Vintage year: When no expiry date is given on the label, check the year which the grapes were harvested. It is generally projected on the label on most bottles of wine. From that information, the expiry date of the bottle could be easily figured out.
  3. Type of wine: As mentioned before, fine wine lasts longer than white wine. Even within white wine, the different types of white wine will last for different periods. One couldn’t exactly pinpoint how long each type of wine would last but there’s some key points to understand that can help you out. For one, sparkling wine lasts the least. Full-bodied whites last more than sparkling whites. And Lastly, light-bodied whites last longer than full-bodied whites.
  4. Testing: Even after checking the expiry, vintage year, and type of wine, one cannot be certain whether the wine is consumable or needs to be thrown out without testing. Keep reading on how to ensure you’re testing wine correctly!

Taste Testing Wine the Correct Way

With testing, we could be confident whether the wine can be consumed or not. The testing has to be done in the sequence as given below.

1. Visual Testing

Check the wine for a change in color. If the wine has gone bad, it’ll turn to a murky or muddy color or even yellowish-brown/color kind of like straw. If the color is changed, throw the wine out!

Also, check for bubble formation in the bottle. If bubbles are formed in the bottle, it is not a good sign. It is definitely not fit for consumption.

2. Scent or Smell Testing

If the wine has gone bad it’ll smell like vinegar, so give your wine a quick sniff to check. If an acrid or pungent smell comes from the wine, it is better down the drain than down your mouth. Can you imagine drinking wine that tastes like vinegar, yuck!

How Long Does an Opened Bottle of White Wine Last?

White wine is designed for quick consumption. It is not ideal to store an opened bottle of wine for another day. Oxygen is good for opening up the wine. It is the reason why we swirl the wine before drinking! But long exposure with air breaks down the wine faster. White wine can be kept for only a few days after it is opened. But remember like we mentioned before it really depends on the type of wine you have too!

  • Sparkling whites last for 1-3 days after the bottle is opened.
  • Full-bodied whites last for 3-5 days after the bottle is opened.
  • Light-bodied whites last for 5-7 days after the bottle is opened.

It is better to consume a bottle of white wine on the day of opening the bottle. But in case you want or have to store it for another day, remember to re-cork the bottle tightly and store in a cool and dark place. If you regularly save opened bottle of white wine for another day, bottles with screw-on tops would be better. For serious consumers of wine, there are vacuum pumps and nitrogen gas cartridges which will help the bottle of wine last longer. We even found these stainless steel, airtight bottle plugs.

It’s better, and more enjoyable, to finish white wine in one go. And if you’re a wine connoisseur like us, that’s an easy task to accomplish!

Have you been storing your white wine correctly? Hopefully these tips will help you for future bottles! If you’ve tried any additional, useful tips when storing white wine that you think should be added to our list, leave a comment down below, we’d love to hear!

Bottoms up, we’ll uncork ya later! 🍷

Wine on My Time is a resource blog for wine lovers all across the world! We take pride in delivering the best quality wine material for our readers. Check us out on Instagram for daily wine content!

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