It's Friday night. You're not in the mood to finish a bottle of wine that you're sharing with a friend (or shamelessly drinking alone). But how long can that red wine on the counter or that white wine in the fridge really last? Does wine go bad? 

How Long to Save Unopened Wine

Unopened wine lasts for years. That's why your mom's friend from high-school can get away with the complement, "you're aging like a fine wine."  Fancy wines require life on the shelf to develop complex flavors and tannins. Time actually betters them. Unopened red wines last longer because they have more tannins than white wine.

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Alex Frank

Unopened cheap wine, however, should be consumed within a year or two. But, lets be honest, if you're buying cheap wine, you probably aren't saving it for a special occasion two years from now. 

A Week After Opening

Put your wine in a cool, dark place (think pantry, not underground) until you’re ready to drink it. After being opened, carbonated wines like champagne go flat in a day or two. Otherwise, most vinos last up to a week: three to five days for white and three to six days for red. The lighter the wine, the faster it goes bad. White wine? Forget enjoying it past a chicken dinner or two. 

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Caroline Ingalls

If it takes you a few meals to finish a bottle, tightly seal and refrigerate it. This goes for both red and white wine. When oxygen gets into the bottle upon uncorking, a chemical reaction occurs. If wine is left exposed on the countertop, oxygen can accelerate the growth of bacteria that makes wine taste vinegary. After around two days, oxidation will turn the wine to vinegar. To know if your alcohol has aged past enjoyment, examine it closely. If it smells or tastes vinegary, throw out the bottle.

Boxed wine, for all you 21-year-olds, lasts six to eight weeks after you open it because it’s more porous, and the vacuum-sealed bag prevents oxidation. So you go ahead and take your time slapping the bag.

Alternate Uses

If you’re struggling to drink the bottle within its deadline, try using your leftovers in these recipes or to wash your windows. You read that right. Wine has uses far beyond a Friday night in.