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Aging Wine

Why Should I Age My Wine?

While wine is perishable and capable of deteriorating, letting wine age may improve its quality to some palettes. Acids, complex chemical reactions involving sugars, and compounds such as tannins can alter a wine’s bouquet, color, texture, and taste making it more pleasing. A wine’s ability to age is influenced by many factors including grape variety, vintage, vineyard culture, wine region, and wine making style. How wine is stored after bottling can also influence how well it ages.

How long can you keep a bottle of wine?

Unopened bottles of wine can typically be stored between 2-15 years depending on the wine. The following list provides some main types of wine and the approximate length of time wine should be aged for its optimal flavor. In general, more expensive wines are designed to be aged longer. Less expensive wines (usually under $10) should be consumed within six months to a year from purchase. Red wines generally age better than white wines because white wines don’t have the tannins to keep for more than 18 months or so.

If your wine develops an off odor, flavor or appearance, it should be discarded for quality purposes.

Cabernet Sauvignon $12-15 5-6 years
$25+ 7-15 years
Merlot $12-15 5-6 years
$25+ 7-15 years
Pinot Noir $12-15 2-5 years
Syrah/Shiraz $12-15 3-5 years
Chardonnay $12-15 Consume within 5 years
California Riesling $12-15 Consume within 3-4 years
Zinfandal $12-15 2-5 years
Port None Vintage 0-5 years
Port Vintage 5-20 years
Sparkling Wines None Vintage 0-2 years
Sparkling Wines Vintage 5-8 years