is 10 year old wine safe to drink

Is 10 year old wine safe to drink? This is a good question to ask if you are wondering whether to pop that bottle of wine that has been sitting around for up to 10 years. 

I know that you have heard the saying that ‘nothing ages better than fine wine’.

But I can tell you that not all bottles of wine that have crossed the 10year mark are suitable for drinking.

A 10 year old wine is only safe to drink when you have confirmed that it is Fine wine. Every other type of wine like white wine, red wine, and cooking wine does not last for more than 5 years after expiry dates.

Can You Drink Old Wine?

drink old wine

There are so many factors that determine if you can drink old wine or not.

The type and the quality of wine would determine how long it can spend on the shelf before it goes bad.

The techniques used by the wine producer in producing the wine also influence how long it will last.

Some wines might not show visible signs of spoilage but it does not mean it is safe to drink.

Drinking bad wine might cause health problems for you so it is very important that you check for expiration dates when you want to drink old wine.

Tip: Some wines expire in 2-3years while some can last up to 20 years when stored perfectly in the cellar.

Different Wines & Their Expiration Timeframe

wine expiration

Let us examine different types of wine and check the time frame for its expiration.

White Wine

This wine can also be called young wine. The producers have it bottled immediately after fermentation.

Generally, White wine does not last more than two years post-expiry date because it goes bad when it is too old.

I think this is what makes the wine relatively cheaper than other types of wine, and that is why you should consume it as soon as possible.

pouring white wine

Red Wine

Red wine does not last as long as fine wine but it does last longer than white wine. It can stay for 3 years post-expiry date.

But just like white wine, it will be perfect if you drink it closer to the day of purchase.

If you have reasons to store your wine, make sure you leave it unopened and store it in a cellar.

Do not leave it for too long in the cellar or else it becomes totally unfit for drinking.

Tip: Do not store your red wines in the cellar for more than 3-4years.

Fine Wine

pouring fine wine

Fine wine is also known as aged wine. You can consume this drink for up to 20 years post-production.

The producers leave it to rest for up to a year in a wooden barrel after fermentation. It has a low level of tannins and this makes it get better with age.

You need to make sure that the wines are kept in the perfect conditions in the cellar to allow them to age over the years.

The cellar has to be cool and dark with a constant temperature over the years. 

So, Is 10 Year Old Wine Safe To Drink?

10 year old wine safe

If it is a fine wine, it is perfectly safe to drink as fine wine can keep for 10 years to 20 years.

But if it is other types of wine like red wine, white wine, and others, you might have to discard it totally as they can’t last more than 5 years on the shelf.

From the look, taste, and smell, everything changes in old wine.

It might even make you sick if the damage has been long-standing, especially in white and red wines.

It is often advised to enjoy your fresh and sparkling wine as soon as possible unless you have an expensive bottle of fine wine that gets better with age.

Quick Tip: Even if the wine is less than 5 years, you should confirm if it's safe to drink by checking out for spoilage signs.

How To Check If A Wine Is Safe To Drink

checking if wine is safe

Whether your wine is open or unopened, old or new,  it is necessary for you to check if it is safe to drink before taking it.

You don’t know what might have tampered with its quality wherever you kept it.

Most wine also lasts for some years after the original expiry dates that were given to it by the producers and it is now left to your own discretion to check whether it is still safe or unsafe to drink.

All these signs are there to show you that your wine might not be so fresh anymore. Watch out for the following signs before taking your wine: 

Check the Look of the Wine

look of wine

One of the first changes that happen in a bad wine is the look.

When you notice that a clear wine has gone cloudy, it is a sign that microorganisms have been very active in that wine.

It is no longer safe to drink when you see this.

Check The Color of The Wine

The color then changes to brown from white or red due to oxidation.

Browning does not automatically mean you should throw your wine away, but it is a strong sign that your wine won’t last much longer.

Check The Wine Taste

check wine taste

A wine that has gone bad would show bubbles right inside the bottle.

This is a sign that another round of fermentation has occurred and this might leave your wine with a very sour taste.

This is common with white wine and red fruit wines.

You don’t have to drink a full cup to check if the taste has gone sour, just a few drops on your tongue will do the magic. 

Check The Smell of The Wine

Another sign that your wine is no longer safe to drink is when you smell it. A good wine will have a scenty and fruity smell.

While an unopened wine that has gone bad right inside the bottle will have a burnt rubber or garlic smell.

An opened wine that has gone bad will have a strong smell like vinegar.

smell the wine

Check the Cork of the Bottle

You can confirm that your wine is not safe to drink by checking the bottle cork if it has deteriorated or not.

A bad wine will have the cork pushing past the rim of the bottle. You will notice the wine leaking around the cork in bubbles.

This happens when the wine has been damaged by heat and oxygen gas introduced to the wine. 

Is 10 year old White Wine Safe To Drink?

No. 10 year old white wine is not safe to drink. White wine expires in 1-2 years past the expiration date.

This wine is known as a young wine and should be consumed closer to the date of purchase.

Due to its high content of tannins, this wine does not get better with age like the other wines and it is advisable to drink it as soon as you buy it. 

don't store the wine in fridge

It is not even advisable to store it in the fridge as the cork can get oxidized into the wine and ruin its taste.

The best white wine you can taste is the one you drink as soon as possible.


Is 10 year old wine safe to drink? The answer is yes if it is fine wine, but no if it is white wine or red wine.

Fine wine ages well with time and the flavor deepen the older it gets. But other wines do not share this advantage.

Red wine and white wine tend to lose their flavor between 1 to 5 years after their expiration date.

If you want to enjoy your white and red wine optimally, it is advised to consume it as soon as possible before it expires unless it’s a fine wine that gets better with age.