How Long Can You Store Wine at Room Temperature?

If you've got an extensive wine collection, you may have wondered how long can you store wine at room temperature.

It turns out that many of us have been doing it wrong for years, and there is a lot more that goes into wine storage than one may think. 

How Long Can You Store Wine at Room Temperature

How long will wine last?

There isn’t a one straight answer to this question.

Bottled white wine will last for one to two years unopened and one to three days in the fridge after opening.

Bottled red wine will last for two to three years at room temperature and one to three weeks in the refrigerator after opening.

Boxed wine will last up to a year unopened and up to thirty days after opening. 

How to tell if wine is bad

If you're worried that your wine may already be sour, a few indicators will give you a solid idea. 

If the cork is raised, that suggests the wine inside has been overheated.

If a red wine looks brown and cloudy or a white looks dark yellow, it indicates overoxidation and a safe bet that the wine has gone bad. 

If a bottle of regular wine creates bubbles as you pour, it may mean that it is stale. 

If you aren’t sure yet, breathe it in. While a good wine entices with different notes, a sour wine will smell musty. 

If all other senses fail you, it is time to take a sip. If the wine tastes sour and musty, it is best to pour the bottle out and try the next one. 

How to extend the life of wine

If you are worried about making your wine last longer, there are several actions you can take. 

  1. 1
    Store wine at the proper temperature, and don’t let it fluctuate. Wine should be stored around 55 degrees Fahrenheit, and the temperature should not fluctuate more than a few degrees.  
  2. 2
    Keep the proper humidity. If the area you store your wine isn’t humid enough, it can dry out the cork allowing oxygen to get in and ruin your wine. 
  3. 3
    Store your wine horizontally, so the wine touches the cork and keeps it moist. 
  4. 4
    Keep your wine away from sunlight.
  5. 5
    Don’t move it too much. Some wine enthusiasts believe that vibration creates chemical reactions that cause the wine to age faster. 

The key to keeping open wine fresher longer is to reseal the bottle as quickly and tightly as possible. There are plenty of rubber wine stoppers on the market, but the best ones come with a vacuum to ensure that the bottle is airtight. 

Can I serve wine at room temperature?

The proper serving temperature varies depending on the wine. 

Sweet white wine like Moscato should be refrigerated to 45 – 50 degrees Fahrenheit while a drier light white should be served around 50 to 55 so they can come right out of the cellar.

Medium-bodied reds like merlot can also be served directly from the cellar, while more full-bodied reds like cabernet should be brought to room temperature before serving. Red wines should be opened an hour before enjoying to aerate.

Some wine enthusiasts also suggest pouring the wine into a decanter from a distance to boost the aeration process. 

Where can I store my wine?

Wine can be stored at room temperature if you plan on drinking it relatively soon, but if you want to keep your wine long-term, you have a few options. 

Home wine cellar

It sounds like a dream, and for most people, this is impractical, but many houses already have a wine cellar built-in; they just don’t know it. Many unfinished basements are perfect wine cellars as they stay cooler than the rest of the house, are often the ideal humidity, and have little to no sunlight. 

Wine fridge

A more practical option for most households is a dedicated wine fridge. These refrigerators are made to keep the perfect temperature and humidity for wine and range in price from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars.

Professional wine cellar

Professional wine cellars are popping up all over the country as they grow in popularity. These wine cellars allow you to store your wine at their facility for a nominal monthly fee per bottle.

Store or pour?

If you are planning on drinking your wine soon, there is no reason that you can’t store it at room temperature. You will want to adjust the temperature before serving, depending on the wine you are enjoying. If you are looking to keep your wine long term, check into other storage options; they may be more convenient than you think. 

Tim Packard

As an assistant D.A. in a small city, Tim always drank whiskey whenever he was out to dinner with clients, until an Italian mobster introduced him to a classic Valpolicella. One mouthful of the latest vintage, round with the flavor of cherries and earth, and he never again allowed friends to order the second-best wine.