How long can wine or fruit wine keep?
We explain here how long wine, fruit wine, fruit wine or honey wine can be kept. What about the shelf life of alcoholic beverages such as liqueurs or spirits in general and what to look out for. Does shelf life really have something in common with the sensory properties of a drink? How long can you still enjoy matured wines and why doesn’t every alcoholic drink have an expiration date?
According to WKO:
For foods such as fresh fruit and vegetables, vinegar, table salt, sugar, beverages with an alcohol content of 10 or more percent by volume, it is not necessary to state the best-before date.
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- What about the shelf life of wine and fruit wine?
- Shelf life of liqueurs and spirits
- What is the difference between enjoyment period and shelf life of wine?
- The best before date for alcoholic beverages
- How long is the optimal period to enjoy Hindberry fruit wine?
- How long should a bottle of Hindberry fruit wine stay open?
What about the shelf life of wine and fruit wine?
As for the shelf life of alcoholic beverages such as wine and fruit wine. It depends on….
Classic, commercially available wines with their 12.5% vol. are conditionally durable. Usually the greatest danger to wines comes from bacteria. However, these can be inactivated relatively well by adding sulfites. The alcohol content is still in a range where acetic acid bacteria could become active if the wine is exposed to atmospheric oxygen. These oxygen-loving bacteria can still produce wines with up to 13% vol. infested.
A low acid content as well as a moderate residual sugar content are also risk factors.
A residual risk that still remains relates more to product defects such as leaky closures or introduced microorganisms during filling. Residual sweet wines in particular can become a problem here if the alcohol content is still moderate and the residual sugar could stimulate delayed yeast activity on the bottle. A light mousse up to the breaking of the glass and bursting of bottles would be the consequences. To prevent this, sterile filtration, the addition of potassium sorbate / potassium benzoate or pasteurization / hot filling would be options for producing semi-dry wines.
Wilhelm Flitsch describes the limit area to shelf life and microbial stability in his book „Wine – understand and enjoy“ as a dent unit. This formula contains alcohol content and residual sugar, which influence each other or even lead to long-life foods on their own.
Examples of long-life foods would be honey and spirits. If the water content in honey is too high, it can start to ferment unintentionally and can be reused by microorganisms. This is the case with honey wine , for example .
Shelf life of liqueurs and spirits
The shelf life of wine is only given with the transition to spirits , i.e. liqueurs. This relationship between alcohol content and residual sugar, as described by the Delle Unit, is reflected in the legal definition of liqueurs. These have at least 15% vol. and over at least 100g / l residual sugar. Such products are microbiologically stable. Products that only come close to these values are very likely to be stable.
Remember that eggnog even has a required alcohol content of only 14% vol. must have. Personally, however, I see it as relatively risky, especially with eggs as an animal, protein and fat-containing food, to keep the alcohol content in the liqueur so low.
There are also other hurdles with wines. These mainly concern a high acid content and a lack of yeast-available nutrients at the end of fermentation. Sulphites, filtrations and the optional addition of preservatives or the addition of spirits can extend the shelf life (sherry, port wine).
In general, one can say that drinks with approx. 15% vol. can be kept indefinitely, at least in terms of microbial hazards. A product spoilage by acetic acid bacteria can be excluded. However, osmophilic and film-forming yeast races (sherry) could theoretically form on the surface as a residual risk. However, product spoilage can largely be ruled out.
What is the difference between „enjoyment period“ and shelf life of wine?
There are some rules of thumb for how long wines can be stored. With „storable“ one rather describes the enjoyment value. Even if a drink tastes awful because the aroma is totally different and the color is suddenly light in dark wines and dark in light ones, if no microbial defects such as a vinegar sting have crept in, one can still speak of a shelf life.
However, one speaks then rather of matured to overlaid or dead. There are lovers of wines that have passed their peak, taste oily and strongly oxidative. Like many things, it is a question of taste and a philosophy.
In general, it can be said that supermarket wines are immediately drinkable and no longer need to be stored. White wines and rose wines can be enjoyed with good taste quality for approx. 1-2 years from the filling (or production year). Of course, it depends on the origin, vintage, grape variety and vinification. Fruity bouquet varieties should be consumed as soon as possible, sooner rather than later. The aroma is very susceptible to oxidation.
It is similar with red wines. Very light and simple wines can be stored for 2-3 years, heavy wines for a good 5 years. Only special grape varieties and very tannin-rich red wines, which absolutely require longer storage, are only drinkable with enjoyment after a certain bottle maturity, otherwise they would be too bitter and still buttoned up.
The longer the storage, the more likely it is that a cork fault could become noticeable again or the cork would have to be replaced with a newer one. A cork defect does not count as a reason for a complaint, although this can completely destroy the enjoyment of wine. A good wine merchant will try to replace a faulty wine.
A sparkling wine can only be enjoyed for 1-2 years. Then the pressure decreases because the CO2 slowly diffuses through the closure and at some point it doesn’t even hiss when it is opened and the enjoyment is completely gone. Especially annoying if you have good, expensive champagne in stock for a special occasion.
First and foremost, the aroma of wine suffers if it is stored too long, and then the color.
These unwritten rules are often known to classic wines. In the case of unusual drinks such as fruit and honey wines, fruit dessert wines, liqueurs and the like, there are often no clues. It should be mentioned that there are fruits with aromas that are very susceptible to oxidation, thus a short time window of optimal enjoyment and yet others that have to ripen first, such as red wine or have robust aromas.
In order to avoid this uncertainty with regard to aroma, liqueurs are known to be often mixed with aromas so that their taste remains unchanged for many years.
The best before date for alcoholic beverages
Only for beer and drinks that are less than 10% vol. this is mandatory.
Instead of the best-before date, wines and comparable beverages should contain more than 10% vol. an optimal enjoyment period can be specified.
Every manufacturer who knows his product knows in which period it offers the optimal enjoyment value. Where empirical values are lacking, this can also be estimated approximately. It is well known that most wines are stored too warm and improperly. Anyone who still stores wine for too long is to blame if the result is no longer convincing.
How long is the optimal period to enjoy Hindberry fruit wine?
I can guarantee really convincing enjoyment for up to a year after bottling. All fillings with 2016 are definitely enjoyable until the end of 2017. If you like the matured aroma more, you should wait a few more years.
Fruit wines are generally produced for immediate consumption and move in the time frame of white wine with 1-2 years. However, certain fruits are also well suited for longer storage. These are especially dark stone fruits and especially dark berries. Storage of 3-5 years is certainly acceptable here.
In the production of my fruit dessert wines , this was taken into account and fruits were added to the assemblages that have tannins that are helpful for longer storage.
I’ve already made fruit wines, privately, that could be enjoyed for up to 10 years. But of course that is subjective.
If you prefer a raspberry dessert wine that tastes slightly oxidative, the raspberry aroma is clearly recognizable, but the flavor of the storage bouquet is more pronounced and is reminiscent of a cognac, you will not enjoy your raspberry dessert wine until it was stored for 5 years.
However, if you like fresh, fruity raspberry wine with a clear, clean raspberry aroma, you will drink it up to 2 years after bottling.
I do not use corks, so cork errors and the absorption of atmospheric oxygen through the cork are excluded. Fruit dessert wines would quickly break the cork due to the residual sugar, which is why roll-on closures are used. These prevent premature aging.
I have little interest in the fruit wine being stored in someone’s cellar. Of course, you are welcome to do that. For me personally, a drink belongs on the table and not in the cellar. Because: Out of sight, out of mind.
Experience has shown that smaller bottles tend to encourage people to drink and that these special occasions, where you want to get that very special bottle of wine from the cellar, often do not arise at all. It’s better to celebrate the small parties, a piece of cake, chocolate or a cheese platter and enjoy a bottle alone or as a couple.
How long should a bottle of Hindberry fruit wine stay open?
Alone or in pairs, 0.25L is the optimal amount to treat yourself to a fruit wine every now and then.
If that’s not enough for you, you can open another bottle or grab the next variety and taste your way through the range.
Especially those half-full bottles of wine that everyone knows only taste stale after a few days and you have to overcome yourself to drink the wine or to throw it away. What is even worse, for many a 0.75L bottle is a hurdle because you cannot or do not want to drink it and therefore do not even open it.
If Hindberry fruit wine remains, you should consume it within 10 days or find out how long it actually lasts.
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