Wine Talk

Snooth User: Ga vino

How long does it take for a wine to lose it's taste?

Posted by Ga vino, Jul 25, 2008.

Good afternoon everybody

I am originally from Dublin (Ireland) and am currently working in a vineyard in The South of Italy. I was having a dinner with some friends of mine the other night, I had bought a bottle of wine for the occasion (a nice bottle of Amarone not too expensive). My friend saw an opened bottle of Saint Emilion (which fell into my bag at Vinitaly in Verona) in my kitchen, he then asked me why don't we drink that instead of the Amarone. I said why not as I couldn't remember when I had opened the bottle and thought that the taste couldn't have changed that much. I remembered opening the bottle about a week before, drank a glass and then put it back on the shelf. The wine was excellent a week before, very fruit driven and round on the palate. When my friends tasted the wine, they said it wasn't a good wine and that I was "ripped off" paying €35 on the wine. These patriotic Italians also concluded that in general French wine is overpriced (btw I love Italians).

I thought about this some days later and felt that their opinion of this wine was unjust given to the fact that it was opened one week before. I then spoke to a professor of enology from the University of Udine who told me that 3 to 4 days after opening most wines begin to lose their flavour.

I wonder should there be a system to see if the wine is too long out of the bottle, or if something exists to avoid these problems. I have tried the taps that you put on the bottles before but it seems that they lose the taste all the same (they might last one or two days longer max).

Have a great weekend to all

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Reply by oceank8, Jul 25, 2008.

What you say is pretty much the way it seems to be. After a few days of being open, it turns into wine that I would only use to cook with. The vacuum pumps do help to prolong it for a few more days. Putting it in the frig helps slow this process down as well (even red, just let it sit out a bit before you start drinking it again). The only wine I have found that lasts for a very long time after being opened is a port because it is fortified.

Reply by Christopher76, Jul 26, 2008.

I experienced the same problem a few weeks ago with a shiraz. The wine was fantastic when I first opened the bottle, but after a few days, it lost a lot of its flavor.

I have found that the best method for prolonging a wines flavor, is to drink it within a reasonable amount of time. No more than a day or two.

Reply by Philip James, Jul 26, 2008.

Yeah, i was going to say the same as Ocean said - the top of the line answer is to use nitrogen instead of oxygen - you can buy $100 systems for this, and thats what restaurants might use. This would give you 45-60 days of flavor.

Cheaper methods (and what i use) are: decant into a smaller bottle (i have a few half bottles lying around), use a vacuum pump / cork and then stick it in the fridge.

Basically you are trying to cool it down so that it reacts slower, and to remove the amount of oxygen for it to react with. At a pinch these methods make the wine last 4-5 days.

Ocean - with port, i think its only the cask aged ports that last like this (things like LBV, Tawny, etc), the expensive Vintage ports that are aged in the bottle are very fragile as they've not been toughened up by prolonged exposure to oxygen.

Maderia (although i dont like the taste) lasts for 100 years, so maybe give that a try...

Reply by Mark Angelillo, Jul 28, 2008.

Good suggestions. I bought a Vacuvin vacuum pump recently on a suggestion elsewhere in Snooth Talk. I love it.

Reply by WineGent, Jul 30, 2008.

Philip hit the nail on the head. I keep some 375ml (half-bottles) on hand to hold leftover wine. I vacu-vin the bottles, and can generally get 2-3 days without noticable loss of quality. Actually, with younger wines, it can sometime taste BETTER the next day.

The best way to ensure no loss of quality is to imbibe the entire bottle. Isn't 750ml a single serving?

Reply by Philip James, Jul 30, 2008.

WineGent - yeah, its scary how i'm tempted to finish the bottle every time just to make sure whats left "doesnt spoil"!

Reply by Vine Master Fanucchi, Jul 31, 2008.


First off, Wine is always changing & aging. As long as a wine is exposed to air it will age at an accelerated rate. Depending on the wine, it's age, & the storage conditions; this can be a few hrs or even a week. I have had well crafted young high end Century Old Vine Zinfandel (with ~5% Petite Sirah) be better a day or two later & still be good a week later. I opened a bottle of 18 year old cab that was closed upon opening, an hour later was very good &1/2 hr later totally gone.
Wines are as alive & different as people.

What temperature did you store that bottle & was it consistent?

Reply by RexSeven, Aug 31, 2010.

I agree that a few days is good rule of thumb.  However, I have been drinking a Crianza lately that keeps really well.  After ten or twelve days it still tastes great.  Would there be a reason this wine keeps so well?

Reply by dmcker, Aug 31, 2010.

I wonder if it really is that good compared to when you opened it, or the next day? There's no wine I know that is good after the third day from opening, unless it's been resealed and placed in low-temp storage. Most start suffering badly by the second day.

Reply by Degrandcru, Sep 1, 2010.

I don´t quite understand this discussions. Is there any reason not to finish a bottle the day I open it?

Well, kidding aside, I never open a bottle that I care about if am not planning on finishing it that day. Other bottles I just put the cork back in, put them in the fridge and finish them the second day. And there is really no reason whatsoever to not finish a bottle in 2 days.

Reply by Richard Foxall, Sep 1, 2010.

Some wines that like long decanting or are a bit rough when young can be a little better the next day, although I recommend using the vacuvin anyway.  Vacuvin alone usually buys you a couple days with a red, maybe 3-4 if you also stick it in the fridge.  I also vacuvin (shudder--I used it as a verb!) whites and stick 'em in the fridge and they can last 3-4 days... sometimes I go back to one as much as a week later and it's still okay.

Reply by napagirl68, Sep 2, 2010.

Philip is correct.. believe it or not, the fridge is a good bet.  I am in the chemical/sci field, and what you are doing by putting a red in the fridge is slowing down the oxidation (or breakdown) of the wine by reducing temp.  It is like putting meat into the freezer to make it last longer. 

The important part is to remove the wine, either the bottle if you intend to drink it, or pour a glass, and LET IT COME TO ROOM TEMP!  If you are impatient and drink it cold, it will taste nasty.. Reds need to be drunk at 60F or higher IMHO.  Most commercial refrigerators are at 40-50F. 

You may actually find that the wine, even under lower temp, has opened up (duh.. since it's been opened)!  I find that a lot.  But again... LET IT WARM UP FIRST!  I have had reds last 4-5 days in this state.. whites as well.  Be patient.. I know some who stick their glass in the microwave for several seconds.  This, personally, scares me, and I don't do it..  just plan/wait.



Reply by Richard Foxall, Sep 2, 2010.

Microwaving a wine glass--what a terrible idea! Here's a simple answer if you are in a hurry:  Use two glasses, with very small pours.  Hold the first in your hands, cupped, for a few minutes.  Lots of surface area plus your hands will bring it to acceptable temperature in a short time, say, 10 or so minutes.  Let the other glass stand.  Drink a little of the first at a time.  When it's done, pour a bit more wine in the glass and put it aside.  Drink the other glass, which has now warmed up a bit. 

Better answer: slow down.  It's wine.  It's meant to enjoy and to help you put an end to the day's rushing around. 

Only quibble with Napagirl's advice: Today it's going to be about 100 F where she is (maybe higher).  Unless you are blasting your a/c, your room temperature is going to be over 70 which is a little too warm.  If you have no a/c as I do, because I am nearer to the water, it's still going to be too warm to drink at "room temperature."  But she's completely right about the science; less heat and less oxygen means lower spoilage.  That goes for anything.

Reply by napagirl68, Sep 3, 2010.

Foxall:  you are correct!  I mis-spoke when I said, in highlight, ROOM TEMP.  I am thinking that way because I RARELY drink red wines in our warm summers.. I am a white wine person all the way, and tend to keep them in a garage fridge that I have set to a higher temp/ or my tiny wine fridge.  I still let them set out a bit, but to be honest, I will take them a bit cooler than most when the weather is warm.

I am a winter/spring (raining) red person.. and it can take forever to allow a red from the normal fridge to come back up to a drinkable temp.  But I tend to grab it out when I get home, do my mommy/wife duties, pour a little and taste.  Then wait some more.  Patience is key.

Drink a wine at a temp that tastes good to you, but DO experiment. You can learn something about a wine by doing that...

Reply by Stephen Harvey, Sep 3, 2010.

Sounds like you guys have summers like we have in Adelaide.

Drinking Red Wine when its over 32C/90F is not overly enjoyable.

Although it does depend on night temps which can vary from awful 35C at 9pm and no lower 25C all night to tolerable/pleasant cooling to 20-25 at 9pm.

We often head to the south coast ~100km from Adelaide where the weather is generally 10C cooler than Adelaide especially at night.

I have a wine fridge with about 24 Bottles of red at the beach so on a pleasant 20C night it goes down well


Reply by Richard Foxall, Sep 3, 2010.

StephenHarvey said, "Sounds like you guys have summers like we have in Adelaide."  Good jumping off point: Napagirl lives in the same county I do (I am pretty sure!), and we are affected by the same macro climate.  However, I am near the San Francisco Bay--like, within a mile or so as the crow flies in one direction, about 2 1/2 miles in another.  We get a LOT of marine influence.  So when it gets hot near her, the rising air pulls in fog and we cool off a fair bit.  We also get a fair bit of wind from the same air that pulls the fog whooshing through the narrow Golden Gate. She gets much less of that.  So it is often as much as 15 to 20 F hotter where she is.  But, because it's very arid where she is, the heat will dissipate at night and the temp can drop as much as 40 of 50 F at night.  So our night time temps will be the same or sometimes the fog will trap some ground heat and our night will be a couple degrees warmer.  Just to complicate things, if you go upslope from my house, you get more fog as it comes in the Gate and spreads over the hills before it starts to move down the ridgeline and back down the slope.  Unless, of course, you live above the fogline (some vineyards in Napa's "mountain" appellations are above the fogline) and then you get less fog. I've lived here almost my whole life, and I am still amazed by it.

This is why appellations (or AVAs) in Northern California in particular can be frustrating.  Even smaller appellations can have such varied microclimates that something as broad as "Napa Valley" or "Santa Cruz Mountains" can be fairly meaningless. Then there are the wildly varying soil types--we have bedrock from tectonic plates, volcanic soils, alluvial soils, and clay soils, sometimes all within a single appellation.  (Amador and Napa have all of these, pretty much.) What wine should come from where? There's no real answer, except to know the area as well as you can, and find out why the grower decided to plant that variety.  Clay Muaritson has syrah, petite sirah and zinfandel on different blocks of Rockpile because the soil, orientation to the sun, and water sources vary.  Even the mean temperatures vary based on lake effect, heat retention and reflection of the soil, and orientation. 

Someone in the Bay Area has summers like Adelaide, but Napagirl and I have pretty different summer weather, so I couldn't say which of us.  Because the links between what happens here and what happens at her house are predictable, I can tell you pretty well what it's like there even when I am here.  But they aren't the same.  That's something people who talk about California wine or weather without spending time here will have a hard time understanding.


Reply by zufrieden, Sep 3, 2010.

My apologies if I missed some of the thread content and add a superfluity.  But the best assurance of a wine caught in the full blush of its power is to drink it within several hours of removing the stopper - whatever form that stoppage may take.  If you have good reason to expect the wine to sit for over 24 hours, and money is no issue, then by all means open any bottle and follow your heart's content.  On the other hand should you wish to maximize your return on investment, only open the best for immediate and complete consumption. This decision will reduce the probability of disappointment down the (time) line.

Reply by OWL, Oct 15, 2010.

What is the chemical reaction that causes this?  Most reds (with notable exceptions) all have the same bitter after taste.  It's almost like a 'faulty cork' taste.

I also refridge my reds which seem to prolong the fruit characteristics.............or feel obliged to consume the bottle in one sitting (much to the displeasure of my partner).

Why do I not experience this with my whites too?

Reply by outthere, Oct 15, 2010.


Reply by OWL, Oct 16, 2010.

Why is it so much more prevalent in reds?  I've been drinking quite a bit of Sav Blanc over the summer and it seems unaffected after corking.  Can you tell me what part of the red wine is more susceptible to oxidation?

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