Is there a more devastating moment than realising the half bottle of wine you have been saving in the fridge has gone bad?

On the rare occasion that you can’t finish a bottle, it’s important to know your wine storage basics to ensure that not a single drop is wasted. So how long can you keep a wine one opened, and what is the optimum way to keep it?

The trick to keeping a bottle ‘fresh’ for as long as possible is to avoid the wine being exposed to oxygen, as this will cause the wine to oxidise and go bad. It might seem a little pedantic but a good place to start is putting the cork back in the bottle between every pour. It is also advised to store an opened bottle upright instead of on its side, or even consider pouring it into a smaller bottle where the wine will have less surface area exposed to the air. If you want to get techy, you can buy a Vac Wine Saver, which will vacuum the air out of the bottle.

Heat and light will speed up oxidation so keep your wine somewhere dark and cooler than room temperature. That said, most household fridges maintain a temperature of 4°C, which is actually much colder than the ideal serving temperature for most wines. Therefore, if you are storing your wine in the fridge it’s best to pull it out before serving and allow it to slowly warm to the ideal temperature in room temperature. If you want to get very serious about your wine, you might want to invest in a wine fridge to regulate temperature.

Temperature is very important to the enjoyment of wine as it can greatly affect the flavours and aromas. Generally speaking, wines become less aromatic and flavorsome the colder they get. For this reason, lighter, zestier wines can handle cooler temperatures, while richer, fruity wines are best enjoyed a little warmer. Test it for yourself and see if you can pick up on the subtle flavour differences at different temperatures.

Sparkling Wine

Serving Temperature: 7-10°C

Drink within: 1-3 days. Sadly the classic spoon in the sparkling bottle doesn’t work, so you might want to get yourself a sparkling wine stopper that clasps onto the neck and forcefully plugs the hole.

White Wine

Serving Temperature: 8-14°C

Drink within: A light crisp white keeps for 5-7 days, while full-bodied whites such as chardonnay have less acidity and keep for 3-5 days


Serving Temperature: 10-12°C

Drink within: Rosé will last 5-7 days

Light Red

Serving Temperature: 12-17°C. To bring down the temperature of a red, simply put the bottle in the fridge 30 min before serving.

Drink within: Light reds such as Pinto Noir will last 3-5 days.

Full-bodied Red

Serving Temperature: 16-20°C

Drink within: Red wines such as a Merlot or Cabernet Sauvignon keep for 3-5 days. The more tannin and acidity the wine has, the longer they will keep.

Fortified wines

Serving Temperature: 10-18°C

Drink within: Keep up to 28 days. Generally speaking, the sweeter a wine, the longer it will last. While it’s tempting to have your beautiful fortified wines on display, it’s better to store away from light and heat