How Long Can Unopened Red Wine Last Before Spoiling?

Unopened red wine bottle next to empty glass
Unopened red wine bottle next to empty glass - Kristina Kuptsevich/Shutterstock

If you're gifted a nice bottle of red wine, you might want to hold on to it to save it for a special occasion. However, you may be worried about accidentally letting it sit for too long. So, how long can unopened red wine last before it spoils?

As long as it's unopened, red wine can last between two and three years past its expiration date, otherwise known as the recommended drinking window. Occasionally, a wine bottle won't have an expiration date — in this case, look for the vintage date, which refers to when the grapes were harvested, and use that as the starting point for the two to three-year window.

Wines last so long thanks to the alcohol content, as well as the low sugar content, both of which make it harder for bacteria to grow. Additionally, red wine contains more tannins (bitter compounds found naturally in wine) than white wine, which also helps the preservation. In comparison, white wine lasts about one to two years past the expiration date.

Read more: 13 Liquors Your Home Bar Should Have

How To Store Red Wine For The Best Preservation

Hand holds wine bottle next to storage
Hand holds wine bottle next to storage - Vershinin89/Shutterstock

If you're looking to hold onto your bottle of red wine for a while before enjoying it, there are a few things you can do to ensure it stays good for as long as possible. First of all, temperature is important. If anything, you need to keep the red wine away from sunlight because UV rays can seriously damage both the taste and smell of wine. Essentially, the UV rays speed up the aging process. Additionally, the ideal place to store red wine would be in a wine fridge because the best temperature for it (55 degrees Fahrenheit) is cooler than room temperature but not as cold as a regular refrigerator. If you don't have a wine fridge, the next best option is to keep it at room temperature.

Further, store the red wine bottle horizontally, if possible, especially if it's corked. Corked wines are stored best on their side because it keeps the cork moist. If the cork doesn't stay moist, it will dry out and shrink, which will let air into the bottle and the spoiling process will begin. These tips will help you keep your unopened bottle of wine last as long as possible. The best way to store an opened bottle of wine is a different story.

Read the original article on Tasting Table.