How Long Does Dessert Wine Last? (Complete Guide)

    How Long Does Dessert Wine Last

    There’s something really special about finishing a meal with a glass of dessert wine.

    But what happens when the meal is well and truly finished but the dessert wine isn’t?

    How long does dessert wine last?

    Well, let’s find out, shall we?

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    How Long Does Dessert Wine Last?

    Generally, an unopened bottle of dessert wine can be stored for 2 to 3 years. While an opened bottle of dessert wine lasts 1-2 weeks. The shelf life of dessert wine varies depending on its style and whether the bottle is opened or unopened. 

    How Long Does Dessert Wine Last Opened?Opened Dessert Wine Shelf Life

    Dessert wines can last 1-2 weeks after opening due to their high sugar content.

    Dessert wine is delicious but it is also quite decadent and more often than not an opened bottle is left unfinished. 

    Depending on the wine in question, as sugar and alcohol levels can have a huge impact on shelf life, a dessert wine can last between 1-2 weeks once opened. 

    Just keep checking in with your wine and as long as it still tastes and smells good, your opened dessert wine will be fine to drink.

    But what about unopened bottles of dessert wine?

    How Long Does Dessert Wine Last Unopened?

    Unopened Dessert Wine Shelf Life

    You’ve got a couple of special bottles of dessert wine residing in your cellar, but how much longer can you keep them for?

    How long can unopened dessert wine last?

    The boozy and sweet nature of dessert wine means that as long as you store them correctly, your unopened bottles of dessert wine can keep for some time.

    Most unopened bottles of dessert wine will keep well for several years, but some special bottles can last you for decades if you treat them with care.

    So how should you store your dessert wine to make sure it lasts?

    How To Store Opened Dessert Wine 

    It’s always a joy to have an open bottle of dessert wine around, to help you finish off your meals with style.

    Try and seal your opened bottles of dessert wine and store them in the fridge where you can.

    The aim here is to keep oxygen at bay for as long as feasibly possible. 

    The ideal temperature to store your dessert wines is between 11°C and 15℃ (51–59°F).

    Chilling dessert wine will help keep it at its best for longer.

    But what about unopened bottles of dessert wine?

    How To Store Unopened Dessert Wine

    Wine Storage

    Treat your unopened dessert wine with lots of care.

    Aim to keep your bottles of dessert wine in cool and dark conditions that are quiet and free from unnecessary vibrations and light sources.

    This way they should last you for years if not decades to come.

    Storage conditions aside, is Dessert Wine capable of going bad?

    Does Dessert Wine Go Bad? 

    Dessert wines tend to be some of the hardiest styles of wines when it comes to shelf life, but even dessert wine is capable of going bad.

    So always try to drink your bottles sooner rather than later, there’s nothing worse than opening a bottle and realising you’ve left it too long!

    So how can you tell if dessert wine is no longer good to drink?

    How Can You Tell If Dessert Wine Has Gone Bad? 

    Tests To Tell If Dessert Wine Has Gone Bad

    Here is what you need to look out for to see if your dessert wine has gone bad:

    • Has the dessert wine changed from bright gold to a tarnished brown in colour?
    • Does the dessert wine smell a little bit off or stale?
    • Take a sip. Does it still taste succulent and sweet or have the flavours started to deteriorate?

    If any of the above happen with your dessert wine then chances are it’s no longer good to drink.

    But can a fridge help to avoid this? Should you keep opened dessert wine in the fridge?

    Do You Keep Opened Dessert Wine In The Fridge?

    Wine Fridge

    Yes, please!

    Once opened it’s a great idea to keep your opened dessert wine in the fridge. 

    Keeping it sealed and well chilled will help to keep the dessert wine fresh and in good condition so you can enjoy it over a period of 1-2 weeks. 

    The best temperature to serve dessert wine is between 41–47°F or 5-8°C.

    So should unopened dessert wine go in the fridge, too?

    Do You Keep Unopened Dessert Wine In The Fridge?

    Dessert wine has enough sugar and alcohol in it to mean that it doesn’t need to be kept in the fridge for long term storage.

    So as long as you keep your bottles of dessert wine in a cool, calm and dark place they can happily stay there until you’re ready to drink them.

    But does dessert wine have an expiration date?

    Does Dessert Wine Expire? 

    The nature of dessert wine with all of its boozy beauty and succulent sugar, means that dessert wines can last for long periods of time.

    However, as with all good things, dessert wines will eventually expire and become unsuitable to drink. 

    So try and drink any unopened bottles as soon as you can.

    Remember it’s always better to drink a wine a little too early than far too late!

    Before You Go... 

    Wine Barrels

    We hope this provides you all the information you may need on how long does Dessert Wine last?

    Interested to know more about how long wine lasts? Check out our full guide here:

    How Long Does Wine Last

    If you have any questions, leave them in the comments, or email us at

    You can browse more posts on Wine Types here

    Expert Wine Storage can help you find a luxury wine fridge to store your precious wine collection.

    philip thompson Author: Philip Thompson
    Philip is the General Manager at Expert Wine Storage, and is very knowledgable about all things relating to wine and wine storage, including wine fridges. He is regularly featured in media outlets sharing his knowledge on wine. Connect on Linkedin

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