Can I drink opened wine after a month?

Answered by Jeremy Urbaniak

You can definitely drink opened wine after a month. Unlike certain perishable foods, such as meat or dairy products, wine does not pose a significant health risk if consumed past its prime. This is because the alcohol content in wine acts as a natural preservative, inhibiting the growth of harmful bacteria. However, it’s important to note that the taste and quality of the wine may have deteriorated over time.

When wine is exposed to air, it undergoes a process called oxidation. This can alter its flavor, aroma, and color. As a result, a bottle of wine that has been opened for a month may taste dull, flat, or even vinegary. The oxidation process can also reduce the wine’s fruity or floral notes and make it taste more like sherry or vinegar.

Another factor that can affect the quality of opened wine is the presence of cork taint. Cork taint is caused by a compound called TCA (2,4,6-trichloroanisole) that can contaminate the wine if the cork is faulty. This can lead to off-putting aromas and flavors, such as a musty or wet cardboard-like smell. If your opened wine has a strong and unpleasant odor, it may be corked and not suitable for consumption.

That being said, the extent of these undesirable changes can vary depending on factors such as the type of wine, its age, storage conditions, and the amount of air exposure it has had. Some wines, particularly robust red wines with higher tannin levels, may be more resilient to oxidation and still be enjoyable even after a month of being opened.

If you’re unsure about whether your opened wine is still drinkable, it’s always a good idea to give it a taste. Trust your senses and use your judgment. If it smells and tastes fine to you, then it should be safe to drink. However, if it has a noticeably unpleasant odor or taste, it’s best to discard it.

To prolong the life of opened wine, you can take certain measures to minimize oxidation. One common method is to reseal the bottle with a wine stopper or cork and store it in the refrigerator. The cooler temperature can slow down the oxidation process and help preserve the wine’s freshness for a longer period. Additionally, there are various wine preservation systems available on the market, such as vacuum pumps or inert gas sprays, which can further extend the lifespan of opened wine.

Drinking opened wine after a month is generally safe, but the taste and quality may have declined. It’s always best to trust your senses and use your judgment when deciding whether to consume an opened bottle of wine. If it smells and tastes off, it’s better to err on the side of caution and discard it.