Last Updated on November 27, 2023 by Lydia Martin
As someone who loves mulled wine’s rich, comforting taste during the holiday season, I’ve often wondered, “How long does mulled wine last?”
Through my experiences and thorough research, I’ve gathered some valuable insights to share with you. Keep reading.
Mulled Wine’s Shelf Life
The shelf life of mulled wine (or vin chaud) depends on a few factors, including how you store mulled wine and whether it’s an opened bottle or sealed.
For unopened bottles, storing mulled wine in a cool, dark place allows it to last for a couple of weeks to months. But it will be different for opened bottles of mulled wine, which can only last up to three days.
“Winter’s delight is found in a mug of slowly simmered, spiced mulled wine.” – Liquor Laboratory
While the whole spices and sugar (sometimes maple syrup) act as preservatives, an opened wine will oxidize, slowly diminishing the freshness and flavor. But what does mulled wine taste like?
Storage Tips On How To Make It Last Longer
Seal In an Airtight Storage Container
A homemade mulled wine or a bottled mulled wine product that’s been opened must be transferred to an airtight container or another bottle with a cork enclosure to prevent oxidation.
This keeps the flavors of leftover mulled wine intact and extends its shelf life.
Read: Mulled Wine vs Gluhwein
Refrigerate After Opening
Always refrigerate opened mulled wine after opening. Cold temperatures slow down deterioration, making mulled wine fresh for longer.
But the spiced wine should cool completely before refrigeration, especially for a homemade mulled wine recipe since it lacks preservatives, unlike store-bought spiced wine in a Christmas market.
Store In A Cool, Dark Place
Store an unopened wine bottle in a cool, dark place, like a cellar or pantry. Direct sunlight and warmer temperatures (or any warm setting) can spoil the festive drink faster.
You can freeze mulled wine if you plan to store it longer. I suggest freezing your spiced wine in ice cube trays for easy thawing and use in future cooking or as a quick warm-up drink at a holiday gathering.
Read: Mulled Wine vs Sangria
Does Mulled Wine Go Bad?
Mulled wine does go bad, especially if not stored properly. Oxidation and microbial growth can spoil the wine, making it unsafe after a certain point.
It must be consumed immediately, typically with a red wine base (ideally, not oak-aged), to avoid masking the spices.
The best wine to use is full-bodied, like a Cabernet Sauvignon, Grenache, Zinfandel, or Syrah. Avoid using Pinot Noir  since it’s milder.
Tip: Add spices (like orange zest, lemon zest, star anise, cinnamon stick, or cardamom pods), a splash of citrus juice (like lemon juice, orange juice, apple juice, or apple cider), or add slices of fruits (like orange slices) to impart other flavors if needed after reheating. You can also add brandy and ensure it is served warm for the best experience.
How To Tell Mulled Wine Has Gone Bad
- If the base wine smells sour or has a strange odor, it indicates that it has gone bad.
- Once you notice some off flavors, such as a vinegary taste, it’s unsafe for consumption.
- If the wine starts to look cloudy or you notice a sediment formation at the bottom, discard it immediately.
- Any signs of mold growth are a clear indicator of spoilage.
How To Reheat Mulled Wine
When reheating, use low heat and avoid boiling the wine to preserve the flavors and aromas. Refrain from overheating to avoid cooking off all the alcohol.
“Mulled wine is a wine that is heated and spiced and so should be your lover sometimes.” – Alain Brémond-Torrent, Author
Also, opt for medium-high heat, then adjust to low heat when simmering. (That’s why I opt to use a slow cooker.) If you want to warm mulled wine on a stove or crock pot, stir frequently to prevent boiling.
When using a microwave or Dutch oven, choose a low-power setting and stop before boiling occurs. You can also use a slow cooker if you have one.
What is the shelf life of mulled wine syrup?
The life of a mulled syrup, if unopened, can last up to a year. Once opened, it should be used within a few months for the best quality.
Can you drink mulled wines straight from the bottle?
Yes, you can consume mulled wines straight from the bottle. However, it’s better to enjoy mulled hot wine to savor the flavors and aromas fully.
Also, you can add apple cider and garnish it with cinnamon sticks.
Is it safe to consume old mulled wine?
It’s safe to consume old mulled wines as long as they’re not showing signs of spoilage, like any regular red wine or white wine.
Can you consume last year’s mulled wine?
You can consume last year’s mulled wines if they are stored correctly and show no spoilage. But while it’s still safe, know that the quality might not be as good.
On A Final Note
Mulled wine can last for weeks to months if unopened, considering it’s stored properly, and up to three days opened. Keep it in airtight containers, refrigerate after opening, and store it in a cool, dark place.
Freezing is also an option for long-term storage. Always check for signs of spoilage like foul smell, taste, appearance, or mold.
When reheating, do so gently to preserve its flavors. Remember, enjoying mulled wines  is all about the experience, so store it right to savor it at its best.