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    How Long Does Port Last? (Opened, Unopened & Expiry)

    How Long Does Port Last? (Opened, Unopened & Expiry)

    You’ve been given a beautiful bottle of Port and you’ve been saving it for a special occasion, but can the Port wait as long as you can?

    How long can your bottle of Port last before you should open it and, once opened, do you need to drink the Port straight away?

    Fear not, we’re here to help by taking a look at the different types of Port and how long they can last for.

    Let’s start with opened bottles of Port.

    Listen to this post here:

    How Long Does Port Last?

    As a general rule, Port with a standard cork should be consumed in 2 to 3 days for the best drinking experience.

    But be careful as it varies depending on the type...

    While Port with a plastic, t-stopper cork, which can be easily resealed lasts 3 to 4 weeks without going bad.

     

    Port Type Opened Shelf Life Recommended Storage
    Vintage Port Youthful: 4-5 days
    Older: 2-3 days
    Very Old: 24-48 hrs
    Treat like aged red wine
    LBV Port Unfiltered: 2-3 weeks
    Filtered: 10-12 days
    Store cool (8°C - 10°C)
    Colheita Port Youthful: 2-3 weeks
    Older: 3-4 days
    Aged Tawny Port Oak Aged: 2 months Store cool-dark
    Ruby & Tawny Ports Ruby: 4-6 weeks
    Tawny: 4-6 weeks
    White Port Up to 3 weeks (ideally 1-2 weeks) Store in fridge, finish within 1-2 weeks

     

     

    How Long Does Port Last Once Opened?

    Port Wine Varieties

    Port comes in lots of different styles, it’s what makes it such a fascinating digestif.

    So let’s look at what bottles of port you may have and how long they can last once opened.

    • Ruby Port - This easy drinking and deliciously smooth Port will need to be drunk within about 4-6 weeks of opening. 
    • Tawny Port - Tawny Port has been aged for at least 2 years which gives it a beautiful Snickers-esque caramel nuttiness, Drink within a month of opening if you want to keep those delicious tasting notes. 
    • Vintage Port - This blend of multiple vintages has at least a decade of barrel ageing to its name and is the style of Port that has to be drunk the quickest once opened - about 2-3 days. 
    • Late Bottled Vintage (LBV) Port - A really interesting style of Port that has been aged for 4-6 years giving it a wonderful quality whilst being designed to be drunk young. So just like Ruby Port, aim to finish the bottle within 4 weeks. 
    • White Port - Perfect with tonic and lots of ice as an aperitif, White Port has a citrusy freshness that is at its best within  2 weeks of opening. 
    • Colheita Port - A really unique style of Tawny Port that is from one singular harvest and usually released a decade after it has been made, giving it lots of sought after complexity. Drink within 2-3 weeks of opening to do this Port justice.

    But what about your unopened bottles?

    How long can your Port stay unopened...

    How Long Does Port Last Unopened?

    Storing Unopened Port

    Thankfully, unopened Port can last a lot longer than opened Port, vintage Ports can last 20 years or even 30 years plus, generally a bottle of unopened Port will last at least 10 years.

    So no need to panic about the bottle you’ve completely forgotten about. 

    As a rule, once you’ve bought (or been gifted!) a bottle of Port you’ve got a couple of years to play with before you should really open the bottle.

    • Drink younger, fresher styles of Port such as Ruby and White within 1-2 years.
    • More complex, aged styles of Port such as Tawny and Late Bottled Vintage can last for about 5 years unopened. 
    • Port that has been given lots of time in the cellar, such as Vintage and Colheita, can last a lot longer as a result, so you can keep these bottles unopened for many years to come. 

    So how should you store your Port to keep it at its best?

    How To Store Opened Port 

    Port Wine Opened

    Here at Expert Wine Storage we recommend storing any opened Port in a fridge.

    Here's our 3 tips for storing opened Port:

    • A domestic fridge will work fine, but a specialised wine fridge will help to keep your Port fresher for longer.
    • Reseal your opened Port using a cork or a stopper and place it in the fridge as this will help to slow down the effect of oxidation and maintain it’s wonderful flavours. 
    • A bottle of Port is not unlike slices of apples here, once exposed to fresh air it can start to diminish quickly so a fridge will help maintain its quality for longer!

    Find out everything you need to know about if you need to chill port in our full guide:

    Should Port Be Chilled?

    Should you keep unopened Port in the fridge too?

    How To Store Unopened Port

    Try to keep your unopened Port in a cool and dark place away from direct sunlight and any frequent changes in temperature.

    A wine cellar or storage unit is perfect here, but if not try a cupboard under the stairs, in your garage or even under your bed!

    Your aim is to keep the unopened Port at a stable temperature, with minimal vibration and minimal exposure to sun light.

    Related Guide: How To Store Port Wine?

    But can Port go bad if not stored correctly?

    Does Port Go Bad / Off? 

    Port Wine Testing - Smell, Taste, Appearance

    The easiest way to tell if Port has gone bad is by smell.

    Take a big sniff.

    Are you getting lots of wonderful boozy smells or are you getting something very unpleasant?

    If your Port smells like Port chances are it’s good to drink, if it smells a little weird to you then I’m afraid it’s probably gone bad.

    Also, look out for any signs of mould developing in the cork - if the colour of the liquid looks quite dull or if the Port doesn’t taste as good or quite right compared to when you last drank it.

    So can you help your Port out by keeping it in the fridge?

    Do You Keep Opened Port In The Fridge?

    Yes, like any wine, it's ok to keep your Port in the fridge.

    Just be aware that most kitchen fridges aren’t designed with storing alcohol in mind and a traditional fridge may keep your Port at too cold a temperature, and also exposing it to harmful vibrations and light.

    Alternatively, a specialist wine fridge is a great option for storing your opened Port, but can it work for unopened bottles of Port too?

    Do You Keep Unopened Port In The Fridge?

    Wine Fridge

    Unopened Port needs to be stored very carefully, in cool, low vibration and dark conditions, away from direct sun light. 

    A specialised wine fridge is a great option for storing your unopened Port. 

    If you don’t have a wine fridge try to avoid keeping your unopened Port in your kitchen fridge. The conditions will dry the cork out over time and could encourage oxidation in the bottle.

    Try a cool and dark cupboard or room in your house instead. 

    So can Port last forever? 

    Related: How Long Does Wine Last In The Fridge?

    Does Port Expire?

    A fun thing about Port is that it doesn't have a set expiry date.

    However, just because Port can’t technically expire doesn’t mean that its quality won’t deteriorate over time - so don’t save your Port for too long! 

    It’s worth noting that individual bottles of Port best before date will vary and these are very much rough guidelines.

    As with all wine, it’s better to drink something a little bit early than much too late. 

    There’s nothing worse than saving a bottle for years only for it to deteriorated when you finally open it.

    Before You Go... 

    Port Winery

    We hope this provides you all the information you may need on how long does Port 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 info@expertwinestorage.co.uk

    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