Storing wine: rough guidelines on Drink By dates

Drink By dates for wine

In the first part of my Storing Wine blog I covered how and where wine should be stored. Part 2 of the blog gave an insight into which wines are likely to improve with age and clues to the characteristics you can look for to determine if a wine will keep.

It is impossible to be precise in calculating how long a particular wine will keep as there are so many contributing factors but we have set out in the table below a general guide - note that it is VERY general as there are many exceptions and each wine is different. Bear in mind that the timescales refer to time since bottling which is not necessarily the same as the vintage year. Some wine is aged for longer than others before being released e.g. non-vintage champagne c. 3 years, Rioja Reserva 3 years, Rioja Gran Reserva 5 years etc so this adds further confusion to the calculation.

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If you would like a pdf copy of this table, please send me an email.

You can only know when a wine has reached its peak if you have an extensive supply and can keep checking its progress over the years - but this can be an expensive experiment. The solution? Reputable wine merchants like Wines With Attitude will give the best indication of a wine's longevity (we give drinking windows in all our tasting notes). If in doubt, ask.

Don't forget that age-worthy wine will keep longer if stored in good conditions - see Part 1 of my blog. Note too that wines under screwcap can also age but age differently from wines under cork - I was lucky enough to attend a tasting where the same wine was tasted after several years aged under screwcap and under cork. They were both very good but quite different.
I cover how best to keep wine once opened in another blog.


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Lindsay Cornelissen DipWSET is passionate about good quality wine and set up Wines With Attitude to share that passion with other wine lovers.

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