Does canned wine have a shelf life?
I would guess that most people would say canned wine lasts forever. Don’t most canned products really last forever? That’s why we store them in our doomsday bunkers, right?
Can you buy some cans of wine and store them next to the canned beans and corn in your pantry? What if you forget a few cans of wine in the back of the fridge and then pull them out and enjoy them months later?
Chances are, the wine will still be fine but don’t plan on storing them for a long period of time—canned wines will last around 18 months.
Why Canned Wine?
Producers advertise the advantages of canned wine as portability, quick to chill, rugged if dropped and no extra tools to open (no corkscrew!).
Nothing is said about shelf life.
Alternatively packaged wines are usually ready to drink. They won’t be in the can long after purchase.
These wines aren’t built to last. I doubt you will ever come across a lot of fine cans at a wine auction.
Where should wine be stored for maximum shelf life?
Wine shelf life is determined by a couple of factors: packaging and temperature.
Storage temperature for wine typically is 45 degrees for whites and 55 for reds. These temps have been found to keep wine the longest.Variations in temperature can cause wine to have a shorter shelf life.
Never store wine in your kitchen, unless it’s in the fridge.
Never store your wine in a closet that has a wall to the outside.
These locations have big swings in temps from day to night. In the kitchen, you also have cooking temperature adding to the problem as well.
Since most of us don’t have a wine cellar, where does it go? Any interior closet is a good spot. Put it on the floor of the closet. If you have the space and budget, a wine fridge is a good option.
Since most of us live in the real world…use your regular fridge.
Basically, the cooler the place, the better the chances of the wine lasting longer. Regardless of packaging.
All wine has an expiration date…what lasts longest?
With all of the various wine packaging available today, what’s the skinny on which will last the longest?
- Box wine (or Bag In Box wines) will last unopened for about six to eight months.
- Kegged wine will last, unopened and stored correctly, for about a year.
- Canned wine (white or red) will last unopened for about 18 months.
- Bottled, unopened ready to drink white wines should last two to three years. The better whites can last five to seven years.
- Bottled, unopened ready to drink red wines will last three to five years but could really last for decades with proper storage.
As you can see, the difference is in the packaging. Box wine’s packaging is more porous so it won’t last as long. Glass is the least porous so it will keep your wine safe the longest.
Box wine packaging and aluminum cans are cheaper to make than glass bottles. Box wine and canned wine are usually less expensive options compared to bottled wines.
You get what you pay for. Your cheaper option won’t last as long as the more expensive one.
How it’s closed makes a difference
Packaging is important but so is how you close the bottle or can.
For bottled wine, the closure is important and affects shelf life. A bottle can be closed with a screw top or a cork.
A screw top is vacuumed sealed, so no oxygen is left in the bottle. It will last a fairly long time unopened.
A synthetic corked bottle is sealed the same way. It was assumed that a synthetic cork would seal like a screw top and not allow any oxygen in. New research has shown that the synthetic corks do let air in…after about 15 years. Since most synthetic corks are used for ready to drink wines, this result is negligible.
Natural cork is used for most age worthy wines. They like to get a little air through the cork to help them mature and round out the flavor profile.
The can is also sealed like a screw top bottle of wine. No oxygen in the can means it will last longer.
What happens after you open it?
Wine likes oxygen when it is being aged in a barrel. The little bit of oxygen it gets through a barrel every day, helps the wine ultimately become drinkable. Wine can sit in a barrel for anywhere from 6 months up to 4 years depending on the wine.
Wine also likes oxygen after you open it.
Ever notice wine drinkers like to swirl their wine…a lot?The oxygen that is getting into the wine when swirling, helps it open up. When wine moves from a tank or barrel into a bottle or can it really tightens up. Wine likes room to move around. So the swirl helps wine get back to its original state.
However, there’s a downside to all this air.
After a wine container has been opened, the oxygen starts to deteriorate the wine. This is known as oxidation. Too much oxygen as the wine sits will ultimately turn the wine flat. All of the characteristics will be lost.
Don’t despair—you have options…if you are drinking a bottle of wine, that is.
When it comes to preserving a bottle of wine after you open it, there are a few items you can use. There is inert gas, like nitrogen, that you can spray into the bottle to get the oxygen out. They are sold in convenient consumer sized cans. Another option is to “vacuum” the oxygen out. There are a few vacuum pumps out there that will allow you to properly seal your wine.
Unfortunately, nothing like this exists for a can of wine. Yet.
So I guess the best advice when drinking a can of wine is to just finish it.
It doesn’t need to last a long time.
Wine producers know all about the expiration problem. That’s why most popular wines are “ready to drink”.
Everyone’s into instant gratification today. It’s a world of consumption Buy the wine, drink the wine. It doesn’t have to be difficult.
It doesn’t need to last.