How long does screw top wine last unopened? There is a huge confusion and debate surrounding the closure technique of the wine bottle. While a certain group believes that the absence of cork in the bottle can prevent the wine from breathing, hence can spoil, on the other hand, these are the best when storing the leftover wines. So, what is it going to be? To understand better, let us take a look at the details about the screw top wines and how they work:
How long does wine last unopened? To better understand that, let us take a look at some of the main factors that can affect the longevity of the wine:
- Wine Type: Different wine types have different chemical compositions that can alter their susceptibility to oxidation and spoilage. Lighter wines usually deteriorate quickly as compared to heavier ones.
- Storage Conditions: How the opened wine is stored matters a great deal. Seal it tightly with a cork or a wine stopper to minimize air exposure. Also, store it in the fridge for longer preservation, especially in the case of white wines.
- Temperature: Heat initiates and aggravates the chemical reactions, so keeping your opened wine cool is important. A wine that has been left out in warm temperatures will degrade more rapidly.
- Oxidation: Exposure to oxygen is the main culprit behind the change in flavor. You can minimize the surface area of wine exposed to air by utilizing smaller bottles or gadgets that remove air from the bottle.
- Closure Type: The type of closure your wine bottle has can greatly affect its longevity. Wines with screw caps or synthetic corks usually last longer than those with natural corks.
Understanding Shelf Life Expectations
How long does unopened screw cap wine last? For this, it is also important to understand the self-life of some of the leading Wine varieties:
1. White Wines
White wine life expectancy: 3 to 7 days
Full-bodied white wines like Chardonnays usually have less acidity. This means that they will spoil quicker as compared to lighter white wines. To store white wine, you need to replace the cork and store it in the fridge. One can expect a full-bodied white to last up to 5 days when stored properly.
In the case of a lighter white, the life expectancy of a bottle that has been re-corked and stored in the fridge is up to 7 days. The flavors will change after the first day or even improve.
2. Red Wines
Red wine contains tannins, which help to stave off the oxygenation process. The more tannins the red wine has, the longer it lasts. The same principle applies for acidity.
One of the best ways to store an open bottle of red wine is to replace the cork and put it in a cool, dark place. If you do not have a red wine chiller that has been set to a specific temperature, you can either:
- Let it out. This could get bad if the weather is hot and humidity is high. This is because the heat will speed up the spoiling process.
- Store it in the fridge. Chilling red wine is not the best solution, but it is better than leaving it out in the heat, where it can spoil.
3. Rose Wines
Rosé wine life expectancy: up to 7 days
Have you ever wondered about how long rosé wine lasts once opened? Much Like lighter whites, the rosé wine lasts up to 7 days when kept in the fridge.
Storage Conditions for Unopened Screw Top Wines
Screw-top wine can last for up to five years when unopened. This depends on the type of wine and how it has been stored. In this case, the Red wines that have been aged properly should stay good for several years after they have opened. Likewise, the white wines need to be best consumed within a year or two once opened. In case you plan to keep your bottle of screw-top wine unopened, it is advised to store it in a cool, dark place where temperatures are consistent. This will ensure that the wine maintains its flavor and quality for longer. It is also necessary to keep any opened bottles of screw-top wine sealed tightly with the lid because oxidation can occur once the air gets into the bottle and affects its taste.
Make sure to Store your wine bottles properly, as it is the best method for slowing the deterioration and keeping it drinkable for longer time:
Horizontal: Corked wines are advised to be stored on their sides to keep the cork moist. This ensures the prevention of drying out and shrinking. In case the cork shrinks, it begins to allow the air in, and the oxidization process occurs that spoils the wine. Also, the Screw-top wines can be stored upright as air is not dangerous to get into the bottle.
- Light levels: Sunlight usually accelerates the expiry process of wine. Hence, find a dark place to store your bottles. A wine cellar is perfect, but the cupboard should be away from heat and light.
- Humidity: Cork bottles need a humid environment to prevent the porous cork from completely drying out, allowing in air and bacteria harmful to wine.
- Temperature: The perfect storage temperature for wine is cooler than room temperature – but not as cold as your regular refrigerator. Warm temperatures can lead the tannins to oxidize your wine, speeding up the expiry process.
The Science Behind Screw Top Wine Closures
A couple of years ago, inventors at La Boucherie Mechanique created what would eventually become one of the world’s favorite creative methods for closing wine: A fancy-looking metal thing called “The Screw Cap.” They discovered that when they tested their invention on wine bottles from all over Europe, there was no difference in taste between wines sealed using corks. In the 1990s, Australian and New Zealand wine producers decided to ride the screw cap momentum. This started in France decades ago and tried to innovate in the hopes of guaranteeing convenience and freshness for the consumer for an increased need for cork across the globe. The perfect solution was screw caps. Producers utilized them to seal their wines. This was used from the cheapest to the most expensive. This resulted in the roaring success of this movement; regions in far-off countries began to follow suit, realizing as they did that screw caps can better preserve wines compared to corks.
Screw caps are metal capsules that seal the wine in the bottle using a specific lining. The lining typically comprises a thin layer overlayed by a polymer. This prevents the wine from leaking and oxygen from entering the bottle. The lining is what offers the seal and oxygen protection, while the metal capsule ensures the necessary mechanical support. The Screw caps are increasingly popular among producers in many countries as they make sure the wine reaches the consumer exactly as the winemaker intended it to. Austria, Australia, New Zealand, Chile, Argentina, and the US are all opting to bottle more wines using screw caps year after year.
Screw caps are the toughest competitor against cork in the wine industry. The leading advantage over corks and cork alternatives is their ease of use, as no corkscrew is necessary. You simply need to twist and enjoy! Moreover, as they are industrially made, every bottle receives the same closure quality. This comprises no cork taint and no uncontrolled oxygen intake whatsoever! Also, storing a half-empty bottle of wine in your fridge for a few days when it’s sealed with a screw cap is quite easy. But remember that the Sparkling wine, however, packs a punch that screw caps are not capable of safely sealing. Hence, corks are still used exclusively for sparkling wines.
Estimating the Lifespan of Unopened Screw Top Wines
Once stored properly and kept unopened, the white wines can often outlive the recommended drinking window by almost 1-2 years, red wines by 2-3 years, and cooking wines by 3-5 years. As you may have guessed, fine wine can be consumed for nearly decades. Wine storage best practices control how you keep your wine in a cool, dark space. The bottles should be placed on their sides to make sure to prevent over-drying the cork.
However, it is a different situation once the wine has been opened. Once you open a bottle of wine, the contents are exposed to heat, light, bacteria, and oxygen. These factors lead to a variety of chemical reactions that can quickly work to affect your wine. Although storing wine at a cooler temperature can help mitigate such reactions, opened wines will inevitably turn bad. Generally, the white wines tend to spoil quicker as compared to the reds. As a rule of thumb, once opened:
- Ports usually last between 1-3 weeks
- Dessert wines remain good for 3-7 days
- Red and rich white wines can last roughly 3-6 days
- Lighter white wines can last 4 or 5 days
- Sparkling wines spoil quickly, with only 1-2 days to consume.
Hence, to make the most of your opened wine, it is recommended to seal it tightly and store it in the refrigerator. Still better, it is advised to keep a smaller glass vessel like an empty 375ml half bottle on hand to pour the remainder into where there will be less oxygen that will come in contact with the liquid. However, ensure it is completely clean or sanitized so there is no cross-contamination.
Signs of Aging or Spoilage in Screw Top Wines
How long does wine with a screw top last unopened? Many wine enthusiasts can detect immediately if a wine is no longer good to consume. The experts are attuned to the qualities of the wine that give way to its overripe state to the drinker. Three ways to know if your wine has gone bad include:
If a wine has passed its prime state, several visual signs will give it away. Some of these are:
This sign applies to wines that are originally clear. Once a wine grows cloudy or creates a film within the bottle, it is time to let go of it. The cloudiness signifies that the bacterial activity has started within the bottle.
Change in Color
Much like the fruit, wines usually turn brown with time once exposed to oxygen. Color changes happen gradually once an unopened wine age. This does not always signify that your wine has gone bad. But it is generally worth noting that chemical changes have begun in your wine. So, if the bottle was not meant to age as you note a color change, it’s probably no longer any good.
Development of Bubbles
The occurrence of bubbles in your wine is a sign of the beginning of a second fermentation. Unlike champagne, these bubbles imply that your wine has probably been soured and needs to be discarded.
Odor is often one of the most noticeable signs that it’s time to let go of the wine. These fragrances are often unpleasant and medicinal, much like chemicals or vinegar. However, according to how your wine reacts to external elements, they can also be sweet. Common changes in smell include:
Acetic Acid Scents
Once the bacteria in your wine starts to form acetic acid, you will notice smells that are:
- Similar to sauerkraut
- Reminiscent of vinegar
- Sharp or tangy
Once the oxidation occurs, wine becomes stale and yields scents that are:
- Unusually nutty
- Similar to apples or sweet applesauce
- Smoky and sweet, like burnt marshmallows or caramel
When the wine faults, some wines go bad before opening. When this happens, you might notice odors like:
- Burnt rubber or garbage
If you have missed the cues of changed appearance and scents, you might notice strong or unusual flavors in wine that have gone bad. These flavors often include:
- Sharp or sour vinegar flavors
- Horseradish-like taste
- Sherried or caramelized flavors
Extending the Life of Screw Top Wines
How long does wine last? As you can not completely stop the effects of oxidation, you can certainly slow them down. Here are some tips on how to help you extend the lifespan of your opened bottle of wine:
- Seal it Well: You need to Invest in a high-quality wine stopper that can create an airtight seal. This prevents excessive air from getting in contact with the wine.
- Use of Inert Gas: Wine preservation systems make use of inert gases like argon. These can create a protective barrier between the wine and oxygen.
- Refrigerate: Store the bottle in the refrigerator if you cannot complete it in a single go. Cold temperatures slow down oxidation.
- Finish It Off One of the best ways to preserve an opened bottle of wine is to enjoy it with friends or family and finish it off.
- Experiment: If you wonder how a wine evolves, leave a small amount in the bottle and taste it for a few days. It is an interesting journey of discovery.
Real-Life Examples and Stories
What the Experts Are Saying About Screw Cap Wine
“Anyone who knew about California wine in the mid-1970s knew that the state made exceptional wines. What it lacked was respect. The same is true for twisties today….Vintners need to stand together to support twisties as the best available option for ensuring the quality and consistency of their wines.”
–James Laube, Wine Spectator, June 30, 2015
“To hold a bottle five to 10 years, it looks like the screw cap is the way to go.”
–Dale Goode, Murphy-Goode Winery, Sonoma County
“A 10-year study by the Australian Wine Research Institute indicated that wine retaining the most freshness over time had screw cap closures.”
–Wine Spectator, May 31, 2010
The Stelvin is the most widely known screw cap. It was invented in France in the late 1960s to preserve spirits. In 1971, an Australian wine company, Yalumba, started using these caps to prevent cork taint. “screw caps are used all over the wine industry today,” says Beavers. “You can bet there are fine producers using screw caps even in Burgundy, Bordeaux, and Chianti.”
But while the screw cap has generated popularity worldwide because of its practicality, it has had a grip over 70 percent of Australian wine and 90 percent of New Zealand wine distributed with screw caps. “Consumers love Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc, and they don’t mind the top,” says Beavers. “So why would they mind it on any other type of wine?”
Beavers suspects some wine drinkers’ apprehension of screw-cap bottles results from years of misleading stereotypes. “In the United States, historically, screw cap wine was stigmatized unfortunately as ‘hobo wine,’” he says. “Cheap wine with a screw cap was associated with the streets — products such as Mad Dog 20/20 and Thunderbird Wine and hence considered lowbrow.”
But Beavers explains that selecting a bottle closure is a winemaker’s major decision, not a random choice. This is because the Screw caps are more affordable for winemakers, as they help keep prices lower for consumers and are much easier to open. Not surprisingly, they can even age as well as wines with corks. “Any time winemakers make a staunch decision, it is a huge deal,” Beavers says. So when a winemaker chooses to use screw caps, trust them and drink up — no corkscrew required.
Advice for Enjoying Screw Top Wines
How long does a Screw Top White Wine Last Once Opened? Let us explore some of the manners in which to make the best of the wine:
1. Screw Caps Eliminate the Risk Of ‘Cork Taint’
Wine sealed with natural cork has the risk of a problem called ‘cork taint.’ This is because the Natural corks can get infected with a bacteria called TCA or 2,4,6-trichloroanisole. However, once the cork gets into the bottle, the bacteria instantly spreads into the wine, hence contaminating it.
TCA is not harmful when consumed; however, it will make your wine taste much like wet cardboard or somebody’s moldy basement. This is, of course, no bueno! While Nobody knows precisely what the risk factor for TCA is with natural corks, most studies estimate 3%-8%.
On the other hand, the screw cap wines run an extremely low risk of being corked. Theoretically, TCA can be present in the wine bottling area and get into the wine, but that’s almost unlikely. Hence, this is why this closure type is favored by most winemakers and NOT because it is economical, while the screw cap wines are cheap/low quality, which is a common misconception. The closure type does not signify the quality of the wine; however, the truth is that screw-cap wines preserve the integrity of the wine all the better.
2. Screw Cap Wines Are Better For The Environment
Screw caps utilize less material, hence making them much lighter to ship. This, therefore, creates a lower carbon footprint. That s eliminates the need for a separate foil over the neck of the bottle. Using a very light piece of recyclable aluminum to seal the bottle also assists in preserving the world’s cork resources. Did you know that the cork trees do not produce the material for corks till they are 25 years old? It is only then that you can harvest them once every nine years. Synthetic corks are the ones that are made from rubber or plastic and are even less green.
3. Screw Cap Wines Are Easier to Open, Store, and Transport
People usually love the ease of a screw cap. These are perfect for picnics and outings where you do not want to lug around a corkscrew. Also, you can enjoy a glass or two at home by yourself, and It is a snap to twist the cap back on and pop it back in the fridge until next time.
It is a common belief that natural corks are recommended with fine wines that need to age. This is because they are more porous and allow very little oxygen into the bottle to help develop the wine. Most winemakers producing high-end wines meant to age for a long time still prefer the screw cap technology. However, It is probably too soon to tell how wines under screw caps can age as the technology is relatively new and still being refined. There are current studies ongoing; hence, we will have to wait and watch.
Extending Unopened Screw Top Wine Longevity
- Store in a cool, dark place away from sunlight or heat.
- Store at an angle to keep the cork moist.
- Store it in its original bottle, which will help preserve flavor and aroma.
- Check the expiration date before opening to ensure the wine is not outdated.
- Avoid freezing wines for extended periods.
- Store fortified wines in the freezer, as they can last up to 25+ years.
- Avoid storing cooking wine for too long, as it is not meant to be consumed on its own.
How Long Does Screw Top wine Last Unopened?: Conclusion
Most experts prefer the Screw top wine, as these are easy and convenient to use. The best part is that these can be used to seal the wine back, just as well. Also, the screw-top wine bottles can last up from 2 to 20 years, hence making them quite a catch. Lastly, as the wine industry rapidly evolves, so are the closure techniques. Hence, it is necessary to make sure to make the right choices. What has been your best experience with wine and its best closure technique?
How Long Does Screw Top wine Last Unopened?: FAQ's
Question 1. Does unopened screw-top wine go bad?
Answer: The unopened screw-top wine can last anywhere between 2- and 20 years.
Question 2. Does screw-top wine go out of date?
Answer: It has a lot to do with how it is treated and how it can be aged.
Question 3.How long will wine keep in a screw-top bottle?
Answer: It can last up to 2-20 years.
Question 4. Does unopened wine expire?
Question 5. How do you know if a screw-top wine is bad?
Answer: Bad wine usually has a sharp and sour taste resembling that of vinegar.
Question 6. How long is screw top red wine good?
Answer: 4 Days.
Question 7. How do you keep screw-top wine fresh?
Answer: Store them in an upright position.
Question 8. Is wine better with a cork or screw top?
Answer: No, both are good enough.
Question 9. Are screw-top wines any good?
Answer: Yes, these are quite good.
Question 10. Can a screw-top wine be oxidized?