It’s one of the greatest tragedies in the wine-drinking world.
You open a bottle of Italian wine during an evening, convinced that you and your friends will end up drinking it all. But for some reason, that doesn’t happen and you end up with an opened bottle of wine just sitting around.
You know that you don’t have much time to finish the rest of the bottle.
But you inevitably forget about it for a couple of days.
And by the time you come back to the bottle, the wine has lost all of its taste and is more like vinegar than anything else.
The wine is wasted and you have to go and open another bottle.
Hopefully, the same thing won’t happen again!
Unfortunately, wine is a perishable drink that simply can’t last too long once the bottle has been opened. Once oxygen and other gases have made their way into the bottle, it’s only a matter of time before the chemical reactions that occur end up ruining the wine.
The question is how much time do you have?
How long can you leave an opened bottle of wine before it becomes undrinkable?
Let’s find out.
How Long Can Italian Wine Last Once Opened?
The answer, as you may already know, is that an opened bottle of Italian wine doesn’t last very long. However, the specific time you have varies depending on the type of wine.
Sparkling wines have the shortest shelf life.
Once opened, they need to be consumed very quickly else the bubbles will end up leaving the wine. It’s a lot like leaving an opened can of soda. The carbonation can only last for a few hours before the drink goes flat and loses all of the qualities that make it so appealing.
With sparkling wine, you may be able to keep the fizz for a day or two. However, doing so requires the use of a proper Champagne bottle stopper that’s capable of preventing more air from entering the bottle. If you just leave the bottle out in the open, it will lose its fizz within a couple of hours.
White wines and rosé wines can last a little bit longer.
Here, the fridge is your greatest friend.
In both cases, you can seal this wine and place it in the fridge. Both are best served at chilled temperatures, so you don’t have to worry about the fridge causing any issues to taste. However, you again need to make sure that the wine is properly sealed. And even when it is, you have about three days to drink it before it starts to lose its taste.
Finally, we come to Italian red wines.
And it’s here where we end up with a slightly more complex situation. Placing an opened red wine in the fridge isn’t an option because cold temperatures ruin the complex tastes of this type of wine.
However, that doesn’t mean you can’t keep them for a couple of days once opened.
Again, the trick here is to make sure the bottle is properly sealed. Once you’ve done that, find a cool and dark place to store the wine. Make sure there is no direct sunlight shining on the bottle, as this will just speed up the loss of the wine’s quality. Assuming you’re storing the wine properly, you may be able to keep it for up to five days, depending on the type of wine.
So, we see that storage plays a big part in giving an opened bottle of wine a longer shelf life. We also see that every type of wine has different requirements in place to make it last as long as possible. However, there is one thing that is common between all types of Italian wine:
If you leave the bottle opened on the counter, it’s going to lose all of its qualities in about a day.
Oxidization will occur to such a degree that the wine is changed forever.
Some Quick Tips for Storing an Opened Bottle of Wine
Losing our Italian wine because we opened it and couldn’t finish it is a heartbreaker. The good news is that there are a few things you may be able to do to keep your wine alive and kicking for just a little bit longer.
We’ve already shared the key tip above.
Storage makes all of the difference in extending the lifespan of a bottle of Italian wine. Make sure the wine is properly sealed and kept in the correct conditions to get a few more days out of it.
Beyond that, here are a few more quick tips that may help you to get more out time out of your opened wine:
- Consider pouring some of the wine into a smaller bottle immediately after opening it. This limits the effects that oxygen has on the wine, meaning you can drink what’s left in the original bottle and keep what’s in the other bottle for later. Again, the rules for sealing and storage apply here.
- Use a vacuum pump to pull as much of the air out of the opened bottle before you seal it. These pumps have been around for a while and tend to cost a pretty penny. However, if you’re an avid wine drinker, they can save you a lot of money in wasted wine over the long run.
- Consider using a wine shield. These are flexible circular disks that you can push into an opened bottle of wine. They float on top of the wine, creating a barrier between it and the air inside the bottle. The disc will perform for a couple of days. However, in doing so, it reduces oxidation, meaning the wine tastes better when it’s reopened.
The Final Word
If there were only a way to properly preserve Italian wine when it’s been opened, so many wine lovers would be happier.
Unfortunately, there isn’t.
But with the advice we’ve shared here, you at least have a better idea of how long your wine can last and what you can do to extends its life just a little bit longer.
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