Does Alcohol Go Bad? Part I

Do you still have jgropened wine from your Christmas party sitting on your kitchen counter and may not want to get rid of it just yet. Although it is old, it may not be as bad as you might think. While some alcohol can get worse as it ages, others can get better or at least stay the same.



  • SPARKLING WINE – sparkling wine and champagne are the first to lose their appeal after opening because of the loss of carbonation. Once your champagne and sparkling wine are popped open it is recommended to be consumed within 3-5 hours.
  • WHITE WINES – will spoil more quickly because they are less acidic. Heavier wines (like oaky Chardonnay) tend to last longer than Riesling or Sauvignon Blanc. Therefore, it is a good idea to keep them up to 1-3 days in the fridge with a cork or invest in a vacuum pump.
  • RED WINES – a red wine will last depends on the acidity and tannin levels of the wine. A light red with low tannin levels is one of the most sensitive red wines when exposed to oxygen and will last for 1-3 days.  A full-bodied red may even improve after being open for a day or two, exposing its flavors and aromas.  However, after 2-5 days the fruit and aromas will fade.
  • ROSÉ WINES – can last in the refrigerator for about 1-3 days. Lighter rosés are like white wines and will fade quickly.  Some fuller-bodied wines will still taste fine after a few days.
  • DESSERT WINES – can last 7-14 days because of the high alcohol and sugar content. These elements act as preservatives that can fight the oxygen process more than the other wines.
  • BOXED WINES –  can survive nicely for several weeks after opening. The system does not allow the wine to be exposed to oxygen so you can pour a glass at a time without worrying about re-corking . It’s meant to be consumed within nine months to a year and many boxes come stamped with best-before dates.
  • SAKE – is meant to be consumed fresh, possibly within a year. After opening the bottle it should be consumed within a few hours.
  • VERMOUTH – dry vermouth is relatively unstable, so it should be used quickly or refrigerated once opened. Sweet vermouth fare better but shouldn’t be kept around too long. Keep it 6-12 months unopened and 3 weeks after the bottle has been opened.
  • SHERRY – sherry should be bought and opened as soon as possible after bottling; once opened, the bottle should be emptied immediately.
  • PORT WINES –  most vintage ports are best cellared for at least two decades and often they become better after about 30 or 40 years. Bottles that are less than 5 years old can last for up to 5 days after opening. Vintage bottles that are up to 15 years old last about 3 days, while a 25 year old or more bottle of Port keeps best for only 48 hours. 
  • MANZANILLA AND FINO – Manzanilla and Fino have spent their whole life under a layer of flor (film of yeast on the surface of the wine), protected from oxygen. In a sealed bottle it will last for 12 to 18 months. If the bottle is opened and stored in the refrigerator, it will last one week.
  • AMONTILLADO   in a sealed bottle it will last for 18 to 36 months. If the bottle is open it will last 2 -3 weeks.
  • OLOROSO – in a sealed bottle it will last for 24 to 36 months. If the bottle is open it is recommended to be consumed within  4 -6 weeks.
  • PEDRO XIMÉNEZ – in a sealed bottle it will last for 24 to 48 months. If the bottle is open it lasts 1 -2 months.




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