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How long/how can I keep an opened carton of red wine?

It's made by some brand called "Bandit" wines and I only bought it because I needed red wine for braising but don't have a bottle opener. But now I still have at least a bottle's worth left. I don't drink, so I'll only be using it for cooking. How should I store it (fridge or not?) and roughly how long would it be okay to use it in braises, deglazing, etc.?

Also, it's merlot, although I can't see how that would matter.


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  1. You have to at least taste it. If it doesn't taste good, you don't want it in your food.

    1. since you're not going to be drinking it, it will be fine in the fridge for a couple of weeks.

      I'd still taste it to make sure it hasn't gone to vinegar before cooking with it, but the bag-in-box were designed to keep wine away from light and oxygen for longer periods of time.

      And in cooking, it's perfectly fine.

      1. I was long a skeptic about using only wines you would drink/serve for cooking.

        Then I made a beef stew that called for a cup of wine (as opposed to the 2-3 TBSP you might use for de-glazing). I used something that was not good enough to serve with the dish, even for wine-unpicky me.

        BIG mistake-it truly was nasty. I would liken it to using "apple" drink from a powdered mix when a recipe called for apple cider--cheap, fake and nasty.

        So though you may get away with the deglaze, I would NOT braise with your boxed merlot.

        1 Reply
        1. re: LJS

          there have been many, many experiments done by many, many magazines and higher chefs, and many, many discussions here on Chow about this -- once braised, inexpensive (but drinkable) wine gives as good (and sometimes better) results as expensive stuff.

          If you wouldn't drink it, don't cook with it...but if it's drinkable, it's fair game.

          And there are some very respectable BIB wines out there.

        2. If you're going to use it in the next few days, store it in the fridge. Otherwise put it in the freezer.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Gussie Finknottle

            Yep, freeze it in an ice cube tray, then transfer the cubes into a ziploc bag. Works fine.

          2. Carton wines ( and MANY bottled ones ) have been renedered stable by more procedures ( chemical additives, pasteurization, &etc ) than you want to know. It will certainly last longer than all users of this board, irrespective of storage conditions.

            3 Replies
            1. re: RicRios

              citations, please.

              Certainly not the case with European wines.

              1. re: sunshine842

                Here's an easy test:
                Get two open containers, pour enough plonk in one (A), a similar quantity of decent stuff in the other (B), leave both at room temperature. Sip regularly for a month and graph your observations, x-axis = time, y-axis = degradation. You'll get a horizontal line for A, a nice upwards curve for B.

                1. re: RicRios

                  wait, what?

                  Pour them both so they oxidise? Sorry, cheap (NOT inexpensive) wine oxidises -- and while it doesn't turn toxic, it tastes like it!

                  There's a difference between cheap and inexpensive.

            2. This question gets ask all the time on the Home Cooking board by posters like you who want to keep the wine for cooking, rather than drinking, purposes. Here is one of the more recent discussions: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/585481

              Bottom line, you can keep it for several weeks at least in the fridge, and much longer in the freezer. Personally, I've kept partial bottles of reds for cooking purposes for months on end in the fridge and it's been fine.

              Whether to keep in your fridge in the original container (or poured off into a different container if the box is occupying a lot of space), or freeze it in cubes depends in part in when you expect to use it and how, and also your fridge vs. freezer storing capacity. If only gradually to deglaze sauces, then I'd freeze in cubes, as some posters have suggested, since you'll be using small quantities. If to use in braise, then I'd just keep it in the fridge, since you are likely to use all (or at least most) of it in a single dish.

              1. Thanks for the responses everyone, I've decided to just keep it in the fridge and taste a bit before any time I use it to make sure it hasn't gone too far.

                1 Reply
                1. re: lamb_da_calculus

                  Bandit's not bag-in-box, it's Tetra Pak, like a milk carton, so it's probably oxidized already.

                  If you keep it in the fridge it should not get significantly worse for weeks.