The evening is winding down. You’ve just enjoyed some Moon Tree Moscato D’Asti. The crisp yellow fruit flavors are still faintly flickering on your tongue. It’s time to call it a night, but there is still wine in the bottle.
Don’t do anything rash! Pause before dumping it down the drain or pushing your limits and pouring another glass. Your wine will be just fine for round two tomorrow — or in the next few days.
With so many kinds of wine — all requiring specific conditions — it can be hard to keep the rules straight. Much like the best practices for aging or serving different kinds of wines, there are guidelines for storing open bottles. The ways you should store Cabernet Sauvignon and Champagne are totally different.
How to store white wine and rosé after opening
White wine and rosé can last between two and five days if properly stored in the refrigerator. Rosé and white wine should be served and stored cold. The fridge will protect the wine from heat, light and air — all things that can potentially damage your wine
Never store wine uncovered. Being open to the air for a prolonged period will allow the fruity, floral aromas you love in a white wine to float away. Simply return the cork to the bottle and you’re good to refrigerate. The cork won’t go all the way back in, which is fine.
You can also buy a reusable stopper. Basic stoppers made of silicone or stainless steel work the same as a repurposed cork. There are endless gadgets that keep wine fresh, from a basic hand pump to a pricier wine preservation system. The more intricate models might extend freshness, but an opened bottle of wine will eventually turn.
How to store red wine after opening
When it’s time for storage, red wine should be closed with the original cork, a reusable stopper or a vacuum sealer. Generally, red wine will last three to five days after opening.
The varietal — especially with red wine — plays a role in how long it will last. Lighter reds like Pinot Noir are sensitive to oxygen, meaning the quality will go down by day two. Organic or sulfate-free wines are also sensitive to storage because they don’t have any preservatives. Aged red wine is best enjoyed the day it’s opened. A wine with a decade of aging may be negatively impacted by a few days of air exposure.
Darker reds with more tannins tend to hold up longer. Cabernet Sauvignon and Petite Sirah have the best chance of reaching the five day or more mark.
As with white wine, our enemies are light, heat and oxygen. Red wine is usually served around or below room temperature. You’ll want to store opened red wine below 70 degrees. A temperature-controlled wine fridge is ideal. If that’s not at your disposal, you should find a cool, dark place. This could be your kitchen refrigerator. It’s probably a little colder than the optimal temperature, but cold is better than hot. In the pantry or on the kitchen counter — away from windows — will work well, too.
How to store sparkling wine after opening
When storing sparkling wine, your goal is to protect the bubbles. The minute you open your Champagne or Prosecco, those delightful little bubbles start escaping.
If you’ve ever opened a Champagne bottle, you know that there is a lot more pressure in the bottle than in a still wine. That pressure changes the cork, giving it a mushroom top. It also expands when removed so you won’t be able to jam the original cork back in.
If you try to use a traditional cork stopper, it will be pushed out by the carbon dioxide. You should also avoid a vacuum sealer or pump. Pumping the air out of the bottle will also suck the bubbles out. This will make your wine flat instead of preserving it.
Luckily, there is a handy device that locks the bubbles in. A Champagne stopper is a stainless steel bottle cover with two metal wings that fold down onto the neck to hold the stopper in place.
Cover your sparkling wine with a Champagne stopper and store it in the refrigerator. It will last for one to three days. Champagne and Cava are the bubbliest sparkling wine styles, which means they can lose some effervescence and still be pretty bubbly. These varietals could earn you an extra day in the fridge compared to Prosecco or an American sparkling wine. The longer you wait, the less bubbles you’ll have. This won’t change the flavor, it just won’t have the pep it did on day one.
Tips for storing open wine
Now that you know how to store different kinds of wine and how long they’ll last, we have a few parting tips.
- You should always keep partially-drank wine bottles upright. Laying down a bottle will expose more of the surface area to oxygen and light.
- Get in the habit of recorking after you pour a glass. This will keep the wine fresh for the evening. If you don’t finish it that night, you don’t have to worry about forgetting.