What are you supposed to do with leftover wine? Should you store it or throw it away? Learn more about what to do with leftover wine.
Some nights, you just want a single glass (or two) of wine after a long day. At home, you might be alone, or the other people you live with aren’t down to drink on a Monday night with you, leaving you to drink by yourself. Whatever the situation is, you still get a bottle of wine on your way home, pop it open, and pour yourself a glass.
A week goes by and you realize that there is still a half-full bottle of wine in the fridge. By this point, it’s definitely gone bad, and you realize you wasted a perfectly good bottle of wine and your hard-earned money.
It doesn’t have to be this way! Leftover wine doesn’t have to die a lonely death in the fridge. Did you know you can freeze wine?
Keep reading to learn how long wine lasts after opening, how to freeze leftover wine, and a few uses for your leftover wine.
How Long Does Wine Last
Before we even talk about leftover wine, we need to first establish how long wine lasts. Even if you pop a wine stopper in your half-full wine bottle and stick it in the fridge, your wine will still eventually go bad. More so, different types of wines have different shelf lives once opened.
You might be thinking: What makes wine bad? Simply put, when wine expires, it tastes bad. It’s no longer enjoyable to sip on while watching reality TV.
You can blame oxygen and bacteria for the short shelf life of opened wine. Bacteria can make the alcohol taste vinegary, and excess oxygen in an opened bottle sucks the flavor and color out of wine.
Here’s your cheat sheet to a few common varieties of wine and their expected shelf lives:
Sparkling wine is made for moments of celebration! However, limit your parties to 1-3 days, as opened bottles of sparkling wine only last a few days until they lose their bubbles. Sparkling wines include Prosecco, Moscato, and Champagne.
Light Red Wine
Medium Red Wine
With a higher alcohol percentage, wines like Cabernet Franc, Merlot, and Zinfandel are good for 3-5 days after opening.
Full-Bodied White Wine
Full-bodied white wines also last 3-5 days in the fridge after your first pop them open. This category of wines includes Chardonnay and Viognier.
Full-Bodied Red Wine
Due to their high tannin levels, full-bodied red wines last 4-6 days after opening. This includes wines like Malbec and Cabernet Sauvignon.
Light White Wines
If you are a self-aware casual white wine drinker who can’t finish a whole bottle in one night, then a light white wine might be your best bet. Light whites last up to 5-7 days in the fridge before they lose their flavor. These fruity wines include Pinot Grigio, Rosé, and Sauvignon Blanc.
Fortified wines contain a little bit of extra sugar and have a higher alcohol percentage than typical wines. Because of this, fortified wines can last a whopping 28 days in the fridge after opening. This means if you only have one glass a week, you only really need one bottle for the month! Common fortified wines include Port and Sherry.
The bottom line is: if you know you can’t finish the bottle in the allotted time frame, you should look into using the wine while cooking or even freezing the wine.
How to Store Leftover Wine
When you properly store wine, you extend its shelf life. It’s always a bummer when you go to pour a glass of wine after a long day, just to realize that the wine tastes vinegary, or maybe doesn’t have much of a taste at all.
As we established earlier, the reason that wine “goes bad” is because of oxygen exposure and bacteria. Bacteria growth is a little hard to control, but you can control the oxidation of your wine by the way that you store it.
The easiest way to store leftover wine is to plug up the bottle with a wine stopper (or the screw-on cap it came with) and chill it in the fridge. Alternatively, you can pour the leftover wine into a smaller container, like a mason jar. This allows less air to be in the container with the wine.
Now, these methods can only preserve your wine for a few days. If you are not going to drink or use the leftover wine in that short window, you might be better off freezing it.
Can You Freeze Wine?
The question on everyone’s mind: Can you freeze wine? The short answer is yes.
Although you technically could just thaw out your frozen wine and drink it from the glass, that’s not the best use for frozen wine. You can use frozen wine in frozen wine cocktails, as wine ice cubes for chilled wine, and for cooking.
Don’t be lazy: you can’t just stick a whole bottle of wine in the freezer and call it good. Instead, pour the leftover wine into an ice cube tray. These frozen wine cubes will be easier to store and use.
After the wine is frozen, you can transfer the wine cubes into a freezer-safe bag or container. The cubes will last about 3-6 months before they start to taste freezer burnt.
Uses for Leftover White Wine
If you got some leftover, frozen, fruity white wine, try making a refreshing cocktail!
You can go a few routes with frozen white wine cubes. For starters, you can throw the cubes into a blender with some fresh fruit (like strawberries or peaches), a bit of fruit juice, and an optional splash of vodka or non-frozen wine.
You can even use the cubes as ice cubes in your wine or mixed drink. This way, your drink won’t be watered down as the cubes melt.
Uses for Leftover Red Wine
Frozen, leftover red wine is great for sangria and cooking.
For a summer sangria pitcher, you will need fresh fruit, red wine, orange juice, sugar, brandy, and seltzer. Instead of serving with regular ice, plop in some red wine ice cubes.
Red wine also comes in handy for deglazing a pan for a sauce or in soups. Try adding in a cube or two of red wine to your next stew for extra flavor!
Don't Waste Your Wine!
No wine should go wasted! Now that you know how long wine lasts after opening, how to freeze leftover wine, and a few leftover wine uses, no wine will have to make a sad journey down your kitchen drain.
Want to learn more about wine and how to drink like a pro? Browse through the rest of the wine section of FoodPorn.