Well, there’s no hidden fact that nothing lasts forever. This fact holds for food products and other organic materials including wine. This means that your precious bottle of unopened screw-top wine could also get spoiled but how long does it last before that happens?
The answer to this question depends on two factors: the type of wine in question and how it was stored.
Generally, an unopened bottle of wine will last longer than when you’ve already had your first drink of it. Wine is produced to last for years. Depending on the wine type or storage conditions that its subject to, an unopened screw-top wine can last between 2 – 20 years.
If you think about it, that’s a pretty long time before you get the chance to open that bottle.
Food products often come with expiration dates. Since wine does not it can be much more challenging to know when it’s at it’s peak, and when it’s starting to fall off. All unopened wine bottles regardless of their taste and quality will deteriorate after some time. But let’s tackle the details of how long this is expected to last.
As mentioned earlier, how long an unopened screw-top wine would last depends on two factors which are the type of wine in question and the storage technique employed. A bottle of unopened wine is made to last for years. That’s why it goes through a lot of complicated processes such as fermentation. During the fermentation of grapes into wine, yeast is added to break down the sugar and transform it into alcohol. The reduction in sugar content starves the bacteria and prolongs the shelf life of the wine. Also, the addition of alcohol creates a difficult condition for the bacteria to thrive. These processes are the main reasons why wine old winemakers could easily carry their products around the world and enjoy its quality taste.
Despite that wine is designed to last for a long period, it will still end up breaking down.
Let’s take a look at the list of the common types of wine and how long they are expected to last before spoilage.
White Wine: This has the least shelf life and lasts 1 – 2 years with the best made versions lasting 5 to 7.
Red Wine: This popular wine type lasts 2 – 3 years even in it’s most price friendly version.
Cooking Wine: This type of wine lasts between 3 – 5 years.
Fine Wine: This type of wine lasts between 10 – 20 years.
The truth is that common wines are usually at their best after a short time. What this means is that if you purchased a wine which costs less than $30, it would be better if you drank it within one or two years. It’s best if you drank it immediately. This doesn’t mean that the wine is of bad quality but these wines aren’t the type that gets better with age.
If you hear someone referring to a fine wine which gets better with age, its usually a more expensive bottle made with age worthy grapes such as Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot. These types are designed to get better over time. Wine bottles that promise this are usually expensive and despite this quality about them they still need to be stored properly. You can’t just leave it on the kitchen counter and expect it to get better after some time. Wine lovers typically look to keep their wine using the best practices. This will let the flavor slowly build up after some valuable years.
What are the best ways to store your unopened screw-top wine?
To preserve the taste of your wine for a long time, you must store it the right way. If you fail to do this, the taste may get worse after some time and you’ll find it hard to even drink it. The following tips can help you monitor your wine storage conditions.
Keep the wine bottles in a dark place.
Wine bottles are usually dark in color and this is designed to keep our sun rays. However, there’s only so much that this can block out. Prolonged exposure of a wine bottle to sunlight will allow for the penetration of UV rays. These rays will break down the chemical compounds responsible for the rich taste and aroma of even the best wines. If you’ve got a bottle of wine that you want to preserve, keep it out of sunlight – preferably in a dark room.
Keep your wine cool.
Avoid storing the wine in hot temperatures. They would cause unwanted reactions to occur in the wine bottle and ruin the whole taste for you.
Watch the humidity.
If you’ll be storing it in a room, keep track of the humidity. Everything should just be right at normal room conditions.
What should you do when you’ve found an unopened screw-top wine bottle in your closet?
Imagine a scenario when you’re cleaning your closet and you come across a bottle of unopened wine that you’d forgotten about. Perhaps it was a gift or you even picked it up yourself and never got around to drinking it. What should you do?
Can you go ahead to drink it?
Before you open the wine bottle and pour a glass, make sure to follow these steps:
- Check the vintage date. This will inform you about the year that the grapes were harvested for that bottle. Then, you can make use of the chart above to determine the quality of the wine.
- Consider the wine type. The type of wine will determine if it’s still okay for you to drink.
- Test it out. Pour some of the wine in a glass and let it sit for some time. Then, take a whiff of it. If it smells moldy, acrid or like vinegar, you should throw it out. If it passes the first test, take a little sip of it. If it has an off-flavor, you should throw away the rest of the bottle.