How to Know if An Unopened Wine is Bad

Whether you’re buying a bottle of wine for yourself or a friend, knowing how to tell if an unopened wine bottle is terrible can save you from soggy mouthfuls and soggy newspapers. A few key signs can give you a warning if a bottle is spoiled, and these can occur before you open it, so keep reading to learn how to spot these warning signs. To know how to know if an unopened wine is bad, read further.

How to Tell If an Unopened Wine is Bad

When buying a bottle of wine, you should always check the expiration date. This is called the “drink by” or “best by” date. The expiration date is just a suggestion of when the wine should be served. It is best to discard the bottle or if the cork has begun to rot, making the wine taste stale. The chart below will help you determine if the wine is past its prime.

Wine Nutrition Facts

wine Nutrition facts

How to Check the Unopened Wine?

Examine the Date Of Expiry

Check the expiration date, commonly known as the “best by” or “drink by” date, on the bottle. Note that this is merely a recommendation for when the bottle will be at its best. Use the table above to see if your bottle is within range of that date. If that’s the case, go ahead and drink!

Look into the Vintage Year

The vintage date is the next best thing if there isn’t an expiration date. This is the year printed on the wine label, and it indicates when the grapes for that bottle were harvested. You may easily estimate the expiration date if you have this data ready. To see if your wine is within range to consume, add a year to white wine and two years to red wine, then follow the chart above.

Analyze The Wine’s Kind

Remember that expensive wines are generally supposed to be aged, so throwing out a perfectly decent (and potentially significant) bottle of wine simply because you didn’t think it would last is a waste. Red wines, on average, age better than white and sparkling wines.

How Long Does a Bottle of Wine Last After It’s Been Opened?

Most wines are only good for 3–5 days after being opened. Naturally, this is very dependent on the sort of wine! Find out more about this in the sections below.

But don’t worry, because spoiled wine is simply vinegar, it won’t harm you.

Here’s How Long Different Wines Last When Opened

Sparkling Wine

Sparkling Wine

1–3 Days In The Fridge With A Sparkling Wine Stopper Sparkling Wines Lose Their Carbonation Quickly After Opening. A Traditional Method Sparkling Wine, Such As Cava Or Champagne, Will Last A Little Longer Than A Tank Method Sparkling Wine Like Prosecco. The Traditional Method Wines Have More Atmospheres Of Pressure (More Bubbles) In Them When They’re Bottled, Which Is Why They Tend To Last Longer.

Light White, Sweet White, and Rose wine

5–7 days in the fridge with a cork Most light white and rosé wines will be drinkable for up to a week when stored in your refrigerator. You’ll notice the taste will change subtly after the first day as the wine oxidizes. The overall fruit character of the wine will often diminish, becoming less vibrant.

Rose wine

You can sniff an unopened bottle of wine that has gone bad to see if it’s still good. Unopened bottles of wine have a longer shelf life than opened bottles. You can inspect the cork by taking a whiff in addition to smelling it. It’s probably not a problem if the cork has sunken, and the wine isn’t aged if the cork is sunken.

Full-Bodied White Wine

Full-Bodied White Wine

3–5 days in the fridge with a cork Full-bodied white wines, like oaked Chardonnay and Viognier, tend to oxidize more quickly because they saw more oxygen during their pre-bottling aging process. Be sure always to keep them corked and in the fridge. If you drink a lot of this type of wine, it’s a brilliant idea to invest in vacuum caps.

Red Wine

3–5 days with a cork in a cold, dark environment The longer a red wine lasts after opening, the more tannin and acidity it contains. As a result, a light red with minimal tannins, such as Pinot Noir, will not last as long as a rich red, such as Petite Sirah. Even after the first day of opening, some wines will improve. After opening red wines, store them in a fridge or a dark, excellent spot. If you don’t have a chiller, keeping the wine in the fridge is preferable to leaving it out in a 70°F (21°C) room.

Le Petit Chavin Merlot Non-Alcoholic Red Wine


If you buy a previously opened bottle of wine, it’s likely to be contaminated with bacteria or fungi. Suppose a wine has been exposed to airly. For an extended period, a fungus or bacteria might influence its scent. If you want to make sure this wine is still delicious, stay away from it. It’s crucial to remember that meals and drinks don’t endure indefinitely.

 Red Fortified Wine

Red fortified wine

Twenty-eight days with a cork in a cold, dark area Because brandy is added to fortified wines like Port, Sherry, and Marsala, they have a significantly extended shelf life. While these wines appear fantastic when exhibited on a high shelf, exposure to light and heat will cause them to lose their brilliant tastes more rapidly. Madeira and Marsala are the two wines that will keep indefinitely once opened since they’ve already been oxidized and cooked! To give you an idea, the sweeter the dessert wine is, the longer it will stay open. The same temperature-based guidelines apply here: they should be kept in the refrigerator.


If you’ve just opened an unopened wine bottle, you’ll be surprised by how bad it is. This is because air can turn the alcohol in the wine into acetic acid. In addition to this, the wine can also have a foul odor. It can also be cloudy or discolored, and its cork can be poorly positioned. All of these signs will tell you that the wine is terrible.