How Long Does Opened Port Wine Last?

A bottle of Port is an expensive purchase. It’s not something you want to open and forget. Sure, opening a bottle of wine and having it last over a few weeks is ideal for any wine connoisseur. However, there are times when you need to know how long an opened bottle of wine will last. The best way to answer this is by knowing what variables affect it. For example, is it a virgin bottle, or has a little time been taken to let it mature? Is it stored in a cool, dark place, or has it been exposed to light and heat?

Lastly, has it been stored for a long time, or has it been opened and consumed within a few weeks? It’s not difficult to know how long the Port will last. All you need to do is know these simple factors. Let’s take a look at how long port wine stays.

How to preserve wine or port wine? There`s a number of products available to help to preserve your favorite wine while being able to enjoy it.

What does “Port” mean?

Port is a fortified wine made from the grapes in the Douro Valley in western Portugal. The region makes two types of Port, red and white. The wine is fortified by the addition of neutral grape spirit. This stops the fermentation of the wine leaving residual sugar.  Therefore, most port is sweeter than the comparable wines. The fortified wine is then stored in either sealed glass bottles or oak barrels.

Storage in glass bottles is known as reductive ageing. In this process the port slowly loses its color resulting in a smoother and less tannic wine.

Oak barrels are permeable to oxygen. Therefore, storage in oak barrels is called oxidative ageing. The port loses its color faster than in the reductive ageing. Part of the alcohol evaporates through the oak barrel (angel`s share) resulting in a more viscous liquid.

The name “port” comes from the town of Porto from where it was shipped to other European countries in the late 16th century. The name stuck. Most Port is stored in oak barrels for at least three years. White Port is manufactured in the same way as red port except for the white grapes which are used. Red and white port wines can range in alcohol content from 14% to 18%.

How Does Port Taste?

Port can be dry, semi-dry or sweet depending on the wine which is used for its manufacture. It has a long, smooth finish ideal for sipping on your couch, surrounded by friends and family. Porters, tawnies, and ports are variations of the Port.

There are a few ways to describe a port. It’s full-bodied and smooth. It also has a smoky, sweet aroma and has a long, lingering finish. It has a lot of depth and is great for pairing with spicy foods.

What Factors Affect The Lifespan Of Port Wine?

Numerous variables affect the lifespan of Port. The most important is the type of wine you’re drinking. A young, unaged red port will last about six to nine months once the bottle was opened. If you’re drinking a young, white port, it’ll be gone in just over a month.

Another critical factor is the vintage. Vintage port can be stored unopened a lot longer than non-vintage port. Vintage port is made exclusively from wine of the given year on the label. The complex character of vintage port is caused by slow decomposition of grape solids in the port. Vintage port needs to settle for some time before it`s served to let the solids sink to the bottom of the bottle. Once you open a vintage port you need to finish it over a period of a few days or weeks.

Cool And Dark Storage

If you have a cellar or shed to store your wine safely, that’s the best place to keep it. If you don’t have a basement or a shed, you can still store it safely in a garage or basement. Ensure the temperature is cool and dark and avoid exposing the wine to any sunlight or heat source. Different port brands such as table wines need to be stored in a dark storage to increase its shelf life.

Exposure To Heat and Light

If you’re planning to keep your Port in an airtight container, make sure the container is opaque. That way, the light won’t be able to get into the container and affect the Port’s lifespan. If you’re keeping the Port in an airtight container, make sure it’s cool and dark. That way, exposure to light and heat won’t affect the lifespan of your dock.

Another essential thing to remember is that tawny Port should be kept away from acidic foods, like tomatoes. Acidic foods can affect the taste of your port and negatively affect its lifespan.

How Long Does an Open Port Last?

If you own a good-quality, unopened Port bottle, it can last for a couple of years. The oldest known vintage ports which are still available are from 1815. They`re in drinking condition. You only need to take special precautions when opening the bottle. Non-vintage port can be stored for 5-10 years.

Tips for Storing Port

You can do a few things to ensure your Port wine lasts as long as possible.

  • Store it in a cool and dark place.
  • Don’t expose the bottle to heat or sunlight.
  • Don’t open the bottle until you are ready to drink it.
  • Be sure to label your bottle with a date and the type of Port it is.
  • Keep the bottle away from acidic foods, like tomatoes.

When to drink port?

Port is enjoyable at all ages of the drink. A vintage port, especially older vintages should be consumed over a period of a few days or weeks. You can drink young port wine within several months. The contact of the young port with oxygen will enhance its aroma. You want to keep your Port in a cool, dark place to protect the wine from light and heat.

If you’re planning on buying wine and keeping it in your cupboard, it will have exposure to light and heat. So, the lifespan of your opened Port will be shorter than what it would be if you kept it in a cool, dark place.


Port is a great drink to enjoy after a long day or after a big meal. It’s also ideal for entertaining guests and making friends. There are several ways to store your Port to ensure it lasts as long as possible. If you want to extend the lifespan of your bottle of Port, keep it cool, dark, and out of the light. If you don’t want to keep it in a cabinet or a cupboard, you can try using a wooden or plastic wine rack.

Once you open your port is easy to remember how fast you need to drink it. Older ports or vintages need to be consumed within a few days or weeks whereas young port or vintages can be kept opened for several month.

Christina Day
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