How Long Does Unopened Wine Last?

We all know open wine expires relatively fast, but what about unopened wine that is sealed tightly?

There is no definite answer as to how long wine lasts unopened because there are a LOT of variables. Some of these include the type of wine, the storage conditions, and the length of time before opening; although most wines, such as red or white wine, can be expected to last 1-3 years past the expiration date if left unopened.

Unopened wine expiration date by type of wine

Truth be told, a lot of your average wine isn't meant for long-term storage, and is best consumed shortly after it is made or purchased. Your run of the mill $10 bottle from the grocery store will not actually "refine" as it ages, so don't worry, be happy, and enjoy sooner rather than later. 

 
However, if you're here reading this article then there's a good chance that you want to know about finer wines, those that are crafted and curated and collected by connoisseurs.

Average Red wine: 2-3 years past expiration date

Average White wine: 1-3 years past expiration date

Fine wine: Decades in a wine cellar or wine cooler

So now that you know wine typically lasts a few years, let's talk about how to store it properly because we want to make your wine last as long as possible.

Why does fine wine have a longer shelf life?

Fine wine has a longer shelf life because it has much finer production qualities and different properties than your average wine. An unopened bottle of fine wine stored in a dark place can last dozens, even hundreds of years.

How to store unopened wine bottles

Unopened wine should be kept in a cool, dark place that's not subjected to humidity or temperature fluctuations. Store the bottles on their side, rather than upright.

 

Temperature fluctuations can cause problems with bottles containing natural corks as well as screw tops, so doing whatever possible to avoid these variations will benefit all of your bottles.  

Keep the bottle away from light and heat sources which could damage the quality of the contents inside.

Proper storage is truly one of the most crucial parts in prolonging your wine's shelf life. 

Best wine storage units - wine coolers

Your wine may taste duller if you don't store bottles in dedicated wine storage units. If you're storing your wine in a standard pantry you may be exposing your wine to dangerous fluctuations in heat and humidity, which will eventually lead to your bottle being ruined. You can learn more about how to tell if your wine has gone bad in our blog.

Want to keep your wine cool while making sure it lasts? Consider investing in a wine cooler to store wine whether it's opened or unopened. Wine coolers will keep your fortified wines out of direct sunlight while preventing any heat damage & any chemical reactions that occur with improper storage conditions.