Today’s Tipsy Tuesday comes from Martha Stewart and is a helpful tip that we can all use! How long does a open bottle of wine last? I’m sure all of us have asked that question more than once.
Do you ever find a half-empty bottle of merlot on the counter and can't quite remember how many days it's been there? Should you pour it down the drain or take a chance on sipping it during your next Netflix session? As a professional sommelier, I'm frequently asked how long is a bottle of wine still drinkable once it's been opened. The short answer: It depends on the wine. Here, understanding a bottle of wine's best window for drinking, plus how long each type of wine typically lasts once the cork has been popped.
Why Does Wine Have a Drinkability "Window?"
Before we go over specific wines and how long you can expect them to stay delicious, it's important to understand why wine has a life cycle: Think of wine as you would an avocado. When wine is in the bottle, it goes through a process called micro-oxygenation. Traces of oxygen permeate the closure and get to work on the organic molecules of the wine, slowly starting to ripen it and break it down. The same thing happens when you expose an avocado to air. Wine sees more micro-oxygenation every moment it's in the bottle, and gets riper and more evolved every second until it finally hits a '"peak" of optimal drinkability. And once it peaks, it begins to decline very quickly. Just like an avocado sees a peak of perfect ripeness (and we know what a brief window that is!) before it starts to turn brown and soft and mushy—wine goes through a similar journey.
Once a bottle of wine has been opened or uncorked, it's exposed to much more oxygen and therefore, the evolution process is drastically sped up. This is why you have a limited time to enjoy it at its peak of flavor. However, although wine that's past its prime peak may taste a little flat or stale, it's not actually harmful to consume. As long as it tastes okay to you, feel free to drink it—just as in moments of desperation, a slightly brown avocado is better than no avocado.