Does Port Wine Go Bad? How To Tell For Sure!

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Did you know that the most expensive Port wine is a 155-year old wine by Taylor’s sold at a whopping price of €2500? (*)

That’s absurd, right?

However, the high price makes sense since it was produced way back and can be considered a big part of the wine history in Porto!

This makes you wonder: Will that bottle of Port wine in your pantry can also last as long as this one? Or does Port wine go bad?

Bad news: Your bottle of Port wine will go bad.

Here’s fantastic news, though. You can still enjoy it for a little bit longer.

But for how long? Read this article to find out!

In this article, we’ll also explore the answer to these questions:

If you’re ready to discover the answers, let’s get down to it!

What is Port Wine?

Port wine is a type of fortified wine from Portugal, specifically in the Duoro Valley in Northern Portugal.

Same with table wine, it also consists of different types of aromatic grape varieties that have undergone the fermentation process. The common varieties include Tinta Roriz (Tempranillo), Tinta Barroca, Touriga Nacional, and Touriga Franca.

Here’s an interesting fact: what makes Port wine different from other table wines is it’s fortified by adding a distilled grape spirit like brandy or cognac.

Due to the addition of the distilled spirit, it has a higher alcohol content (20% Alcohol by Volume) than the standard alcoholic content in the US for table wine, which is 12% Alcohol by Volume. This is the reason why Port wine is only served in smaller portions. (*)

But even with its high ABV, it’s considered a dessert wine due to its sweet taste.

Does Port Wine Go Bad?

Unfortunately, Port wine does go bad same with all the other wines in the market. As time goes by, it will lose its flavor and taste. And when stored improperly, it may come to a point when the wine will get spoiled.

Big News: Thanks to its high ABV and the fortification process, Port wine is quite shelf-stable and can last a long time when it’s stored properly.

How Long Does Port Wine Last?

Now that we’ve got that all figured out, it’s time we talk about Port wine’s shelf life. How long can you enjoy your Port? The answer will depend on three things: type of Port, storage conditions, and whether it has been opened or not.

An unopened bottle of Port wine can last indefinitely as long as it’s properly stored in its original bottle.

On the other hand, the shelf life of an opened bottle of Port will vary depending on the type of Port you have. As a rule of thumb, the older the wine, the faster its quality will deteriorate upon opening.

With that said, here are the various types of Port and their corresponding shelf lives:

1. Vintage Port

  • Young Vintage Port (less than 5 years old): 4 to 5 days
  • Old Vintage Port (more than 15 years old): 2 to 3 days
  • Old Vintage Port (25 to 30 years old): 24 to 48 hours

2. Late Bottled Vintage Ports (LVP Port)

  • Unfiltered LBV Port: 2 to 3 weeks
  • Filtered LBV Port: 10 to 12 days

3. Colheita Port

  • Younger Colheita Port (<15 years old): 2 to 3 weeks
  • Older Colheita Port (30 to 40 years old): 3 to 4 days

4. Ruby Port: 1 month

5. Simple Tawny Port: 2 months

6. White Port: 2 to 3 weeks (refrigerated)

7. Aged Tawny Ports: 2 months (cool place), 3 to 4 weeks (room temperature)

  • Fact: Port wines won’t spoil when left open longer than the mentioned shelf lives, so these are still safe for drinking. However, they will go bad in the sense that they will start to lose their rich flavors past the recommended shelf life.

How to Store Port Wine?

But as mentioned, the wines can spoil too if they are not stored properly. With that said, here are some of the best storage Port wine storage tips that you need to know:

1. Keep unopened Port wine stored in a cool and dark place.

Way back, unopened bottles of Port wines were stored at room temperature. But since the room temperature during the 1800s is a lot cooler than the standard room temperature that we have today, we’re just going to share with you the recommended storage temperature for an unopened bottle of Port wines, which is around 60 degrees Fahrenheit.

2. Keep storage temperatures consistent at all times.

If you can’t control the temperature in your room or maintain it at 60 degrees, the best option you have is to store your wines in a dedicated wine fridge so you can set them to the right temperature.

3. Position the wine bottles properly.

The right storage position will vary depending on the type of Port. For example, if you have crusted or vintage ports, you should store the bottle on the sides to keep the cork moist.

On the other hand, it’s a must that you store Bottled-aged Ports on the same side. This ensures that the sediment won’t be agitated, leading to lower taste quality.

  • Pro Tip: To ensure that the sediment will collect at the same side of the bottle, we recommend labeling or marking the side facing up so you’ll know how it should be placed in the rack.

4. The store open-bottle of Port in the fridge upright.

Storing opened Port in a much cooler place can help extend its shelf life as colder temperatures can slow down the oxidation process. However, make sure to allow your Port to warm up before serving as it’s best served at room temperature so that you can enjoy its rich flavor at its best quality.

In Summary

While it’s true that Port wine is made for durability, it can still go bad. The great thing is you can make it last for longer by storing it properly.

Unfortunately, it’s not an easy feat since the proper storage conditions and shelf life vary depending on the type of wine you have.

We’ve already provided everything you need to know for storing your Port wine properly. It’s all up to you to follow those tips so you can make the most out of your valuable Port wine.

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Up Next: Can Sweet Vermouth Go Bad? How Long Does It Last? How To Tell

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