Where is the Expiration Date on Wine? Can Old Wine Make You Sick?

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Most wines on the market were made to be uncorked within 1 to 5 years of purchase.

After that period, the wine will no longer taste delicious and will lose many desirable qualities. A wine that is meant to be aged will generally cost more ($50+) and will be designated for cellaring by the winemaker or your trusted wine source. Other clues that a wine should be cellared long term include high acidity, strong tannins, and excellent fruit. Since most wine is not made to be aged, you may be wondering if the bottle of wine that has been sitting in your pantry for many years is safe to drink.

Whether you are storing your wine for long or short-term storage, it is important to keep wine under the best conditions to ensure it tastes its best once uncorked. Ideally, your wine should be stored at a cool 55◦F in a dark room where it will not be exposed to prolonged sunlight or harsh overhead lighting. The relative humidity inside the space should be between 70-90%. You will want to keep your wine stacked carefully on its side or in a sturdy wine rack that will hold the bottle horizontally to ensure the cork stays moist. If you meet these conditions, you will prolong the life of the wine and ensure it does not spoil before its expiration date.

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Epicureanist Wall-Mounted Horizontal Display Rack

Here are some tips to help you figure if you should uncork that old bottle of wine or throw it in the bin.

  • Check for the vintage (the year) printed on the label. Red wines, add 2-3 years, white wines, add 1-2 years.
  • Look for an expiration date. Red wines, open within 2-3 years, white wines, open within 1-2 years.
  • Fine wines that are designed to be aged can last 10-20 years under ideal cellar conditions.

For opened bottles of wine, store them corked inside your kitchen refrigerator and drink according to the following dates:

  • White wines: 1-3 days
  • Red wines: 1-2 weeks

Here are some clues that can tell you if your wine has spoiled:

  • The cork has pushed out slightly from the neck of the bottle. A cork that is no longer flush with the tip of the neck is a sign the wine at some point became overheated.
  • Red wine that has changed color from red to brown and white wine that has turned a yellow-brown.
  • An unpleasant odor that smells moldy, musty, vinegar, sour, or like an old wet newspaper should not be consumed.
  • The wine tastes moldy.
Most wine on the market is made to be consumed within 1-5 years. Whether you are storing a cheap or expensive wine, all wine benefits from proper storage. Keeping wine under the best conditions will ensure that it tastes delicious once opened. To check for an expiration date, look on the label to find the vintage or expiration date. Once a bottle of wine has been opened, it should be stored inside the refrigerator and consumed right away. Questions about wine storage? Contact us with our Contact Form.