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How long does red wine last?

  • j

I have half abottle of red wine that is 3 weeks old. It has been sitting at room temp with a tight cork - is it still good? I wanted to use it in a beef stew.

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  1. By all means... don't! Red wine only last 2-3 days MAXIUMUM. After one day it already lost a great deal of it's taste and smell. Oxidation kills the wine.

    1. While I would not drink it, I would use it in a braise or stew. The taste of the wine is altered so much by the other flavors that it would not be that bad in that application. Other things to do with old wine is make vinegar

      1. I actually find that open wine lasts a lot longer than 2-3 days. But the safest thing to do, jmax, is to give it a sniff and a taste. If it's no longer good enough to drink, I wouldn't cook with it.

        1 Reply
        1. re: sea97horse

          how about if you cork it with one of those rubber corks that vacuums the air out? i have a bottle that's been sitting now for 3 days with one of those corks.

        2. Wine is almost always not some delicate flower.

          Pull the cork and smell it. taste it if you want. Use it if you want.

          I personally do not like red wine the next day for drinking, but there is nothing wrong with it. Red wine lasts much longer than 50-70 hours after opening.

          Certainly oxidation kills wine, but oxygenation beautifies wine. Oxygen is not an enemy. tthat's why you smell it. If it is not badly oxidized, why not use it?

          As to the cliche "If you wouldn't drink it don't cook with it" you have to take that with a grain of salt. That would be the grain (grams actually) of salt that they put in cooking wine.

          You are cooking the wine. It doesn't taste the same as when you are drinking it. You are not using it for the same reason as you would drink it. This is akin to the advice to cook with what you will be drinking. Yes, I will be pouring two bottles of Grand Cru Burgundy into my pot of coq au vin - right after I deglaze my steak pan with Johnnie Walker Blue.

          Again, after three weeks you want to smell your wine, but you won't know until you do.

          1 Reply
          1. re: FrankJBN

            FrankJBN I agree with you that the saying "if you wouldn't drink with it don't cook with it" is faulted. It was first used when trying to get people to stop using the over salted cooking wines in the grocery store and for that I would agree but.....there are many cheap wines that I don't enjoy drinking but work fine for cooking. Same goes for wine that has been enjoyed but has passed it's prime for my drinking pleasure. In taste test most could not identify high quality wine from cheap wine in a finished cooked dish. The heat and all the other influences change the wine considerably.

          2. I've used old wine and flat beer in stocks, sauces, marinades and gravies. It's crap to drink but great for those purposes. The flat beer also makes a great additional leavener to my pizza dough ;)

            1. I agree with Frank - taste it. If it's wretched, don't use it... and get yourself a vacuum sealer!

              3 Replies
              1. re: laurendlewis

                I second the vacuum sealer, and keep it in the fridge. That's what Patricia Wells taught us in class. She said it would keep about a week if sealed and refrigerated (obviously, you bring it to room temp to drink it.) I've kept bottles longer, but not much. I would not keep red wine outside the fridge for fear of bacteria and oxidation.

                1. re: brendastarlet

                  What type of vacuum sealer can you use for a bottle of wine?

              2. Next time save yourself all this indecision and finish off the bottle during the meal for which it was opened
                See?... Easy :-}.

                1. Wine that's been opened and sitting out for a day can make me sick if I drink it, so I always refrigerate opened wine. Haven't come across an explanation for this

                  1. If you are keeping leftover wine for cooking, put it in the fridge, ideally pouring it into a smaller bottle. It is the air that oxidises the wine.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: lagatta

                      Good point - somewhere I heard (maybe this was my father-in-law??) puts leftover wine into a water bottle and that way the bottle can be tightly sealed while having as little air as possible in the container.

                    2. As others had said, smell and taste it first and act accordingly. There's next to no chance it will make you sick.

                      Refrigeration will slow but not prevent oxidation. And if VacuVin-type pump systems are effective at all, it's only for a day or two. For storage of up to several weeks, inert-gas systems like Private Preserve are far better, which is why they're the preferred system for wine bars and restaurants that are serious about wine.

                      Actually, the simplest and cheapest effective method is simply to freeze the wine. Next to no oxidation and it keeps for months. The only downsides are thawing time and the fact that dense red wines will often throw a deposit on thawing. Just be sure to leave enough head space in the bottle for the frozen wine to expand into. Or freeze the wine in ice cube trays.

                      For further discussion, see www.chowhound.com/topics/448038

                      3 Replies
                      1. re: carswell

                        Freezing works well to preserve leftover wine for use in cooking. I have some small bottles that I use for this purpose. The alcohol keeps the wine from freezing completely solid but when I take them out as I'm getting ready to cook something, I put the small bottle into a bowl of tepid tap water and it defrosts in no time.
                        Of course, it's unsuitable for drinking, but as a recipe ingredient, it's fine. Waste not, want not.

                        1. re: MakingSense

                          In my freezer, most wines freeze solid. That said, I haven't tried freezing one of those 17% monster Zins...

                          "Of course, it's unsuitable for drinking"
                          Not in my experience. Premature sediment aside, most wines actually suffer very little. And if you don't believe me, Melanie Wong did some extensive experimentation a while back. See www.chowhound.com/topics/303282#1706639

                          1. re: carswell

                            For some reason - probably the "American food revolution's" revulsion for anything frozen, this doesn't get much attention. At the very least the wine stays in better shape than it would randomly stick in the fridge for a few weeks. Except for fortified or maybe some massively sweet desert wines, nothing holds up well for weeks in the fridge without precautions...