Liquor Laboratory

Where Is The Expiration Date On Wine? Complete Guide (2024)

Where Is the Expiration Date on Wine

Last Updated on March 1, 2024 by Lydia Martin

Wines do improve with age, but surely it doesn’t last a lifetime—maybe you’re starting to wonder if the old bottles in your cellar are still drinkable.

So, where is the expiration date on wine? Let’s find out.

Where Can You Find The Expiration Date On Wines?

hand holding a bottle of wine

You may not always find an expiration date on wines, but if you do, it can be printed on their bottles, typically at the front or back bottom.

If you can’t find it in its bottle, you can also look for its packaging. The wine’s expiration dates are sometimes printed on the box.

How To Read Its Date Codes

Wine bottles usually have open date code ’dd/mmm/yy’ or the all-numerical code ’MMDDYY’ format.

In some instances, manufacturers use letters instead of the actual month’s name.

These letters are assigned to months, from A to L, equivalent to January to December.


01 JAN 23 (January 1, 2023)

010123 (January 1, 2023)

A0123 (January 1, 2023)

Is There Always An Expiration Date On Wine? 

pouring red wine on a glass

No, not all wines have expiration dates. Some brands don’t include expiration dates but instead, put a “best by” or “best before” date, which means the best time to consume it. [1]

But even though wine’s shelf life has an expiration or best-before-date range, it can still gradually change depending on how you store it.

Why Some Wines Have No Expiration Dates 

Some manufacturers don’t include expiration dates simply because they don’t know when the bottles might expire, and usually, you will see sealed and vintage dates on these wine bottles.

Does Wine Expire?

Yes, wine does expire. But it may vary depending on its type, if the bottle is open and how you store it.

Wine cheers the sad, revives the old, inspires the young, and makes weariness forget his toil.”

Lord Byron, Poet

Any bottle of wine that has contact with heat and light, especially an open bottle, expires faster and would last from a day up to three weeks if not sealed properly.

How Do You Know If It’s Expired?

Melbury Wine Bottles

Aside from looking at its expiration date, you can notice a change in color and unwanted tiny bubbles in an expired wine.

Also, wine has gone bad if it has a sharp, tart scent, garlic aroma, and sour and burnt taste.

Anything unusual from its original sweet, fruity notes and flavors can signify that it has expired.

How Long Can You Keep It?

Wine shelf life depends on the wine type and how you properly store it.

White wine could last up to 1-2 years, while red wines could last from 2-3 years.

Generally, all wines should be stored in a dark, cool place and away from sunlight.

But fine wines might take 10-20 years to spoil if stored properly in the wine cellar. 

Will An Expired Wine Make You Ill?

wine cellar

Yes, an expired wine can make you ill, especially if you have a sensitive stomach and consume a large amount of it. 

In a worst-case scenario, drinking spoiled and expired wine may cause diarrhea and stomach cramps and might lead to possible food poisoning.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Does red wine last longer than white wine?

Yes, red wine lasts longer than white wine. Red wines contain tannins, which come from grapes and are primarily a factor in the prolonged shelf life of red wines.

Where is the expiration date on barefoot wine?

The expiration date on barefoot wine is usually printed on the neck’s bottle or bottle’s back label.

But if it has packaging, the expiration date might also be printed on the box of the wine bottle.

How do I check my wine expiry date?

Checking the expiry date of wine involves understanding the labeling system employed by the producer.

Most wines do not have a traditional expiration date like perishable goods. Instead, they feature a “vintage” year, indicating the year the grapes were harvested. To determine the age of your wine, find this vintage year on the bottle.

Generally, wines age well for a specific period, depending on the type. Red wines, for instance, often improve with age, while most whites are best consumed within a few years.

It’s crucial to note that not all wines age gracefully, and some are meant for immediate consumption.

Is there an expiration date on wine?

Unlike perishable items with clear expiration dates, wine typically lacks a straightforward expiration label. Instead, the focus is on the wine’s quality and how it evolves over time.

The key factor to consider is the wine’s aging potential, which varies between reds and whites. Red wines, owing to their tannins and structure, often age well for several years and may even improve in flavor.

In contrast, many white wines are best enjoyed within a shorter timeframe.

Champagne and sparkling wines usually have a shorter shelf life once opened, as their effervescence diminishes. It’s important to appreciate that some wines are crafted for immediate consumption and do not benefit from aging.

Why does my wine have no expiration date?

Wines omit traditional expiration dates due to their complex and nuanced aging process. Unlike perishable goods, wines transform and mature over time, making a fixed expiration date irrelevant.

The industry relies on the concept of vintage to convey information about the wine’s origin and the year the grapes were harvested.

Winemakers provide general guidelines on when to consume their products for optimal taste, but these are recommendations rather than strict expiration dates.

The absence of a fixed expiration date emphasizes the subjective nature of wine appreciation and encourages consumers to explore the diverse aging potentials of different varietals.

How do you read a wine date code?

Reading a wine date code involves deciphering the information provided by the producer. Look for a code or series of numbers on the label or bottle. The first digits typically represent the vintage year, revealing when the grapes were harvested.

Additionally, wineries may include batch or lot numbers, which help track production.

Some producers use a straightforward date format, while others may incorporate alphanumeric codes. If in doubt, check the winery’s website or contact their customer service for guidance on interpreting the specific code.

Understanding the date code enables consumers to appreciate the wine’s aging potential and make informed decisions about when to enjoy their purchase.

Does wine expire if unopened?

Wine typically doesn’t have a fixed expiration date if left unopened; however, its quality can be influenced by storage conditions. Properly stored, many wines, especially reds, can age and improve over time, developing more complex flavors and aromas.

On the other hand, white wines and lighter reds are generally best consumed within a few years of purchase for optimal freshness.

Does wine expire if not refrigerated?

While refrigeration is not always necessary for unopened wine, proper storage is crucial. Exposure to extreme temperatures, both hot and cold, can adversely affect the wine’s quality.

Excessive heat can accelerate aging, causing the flavors to evolve prematurely, while prolonged exposure to cold temperatures may lead to the formation of crystals or cloudiness.

It’s advisable to store wine in a cool, dark place with a consistent temperature to maintain its intended characteristics.

Is it OK to drink 20-year-old wine?

In many cases, drinking a 20-year-old wine can be a delightful and rewarding experience, especially for well-structured red wines. The aging process often enhances complexity and depth, resulting in a smoother and more nuanced taste.

However, not all wines are designed for prolonged aging, and the quality of storage conditions significantly influences the outcome.

Whites and lighter reds may not age as gracefully, so it’s crucial to know the specific aging potential of the wine in question.

Is it safe to drink 10-year-old wine?

In general, drinking a 10-year-old wine is safe, as alcohol acts as a preservative, preventing the growth of harmful bacteria. However, the safety aspect depends on proper storage conditions.

If the wine has been stored in a cool, dark place with a consistent temperature, it is likely to be safe for consumption.

It’s essential to inspect the wine for any signs of spoilage, such as a strong vinegar smell or off-putting flavors, which could indicate a fault in storage or an unsuitable aging process.

If stored correctly, a well-made wine can often evolve positively over a decade, providing a unique and enjoyable tasting experience.

How many days does it take for wine to expire?

Wine doesn’t have a fixed expiration period measured in days; instead, it evolves over time due to its aging process. The duration for optimal aging varies depending on the type of wine, with reds generally having a longer aging potential than whites or lighter varietals.

Proper storage conditions, such as temperature, humidity, and darkness, play a pivotal role in determining how well a wine ages.

How do you check the expiry date of alcohol?

Unlike perishable goods, alcohol, including wine, often lacks a clear-cut expiration date. Instead, it typically features a vintage year, revealing the year the grapes were harvested. To assess a wine’s age, locate this vintage on the bottle.

The concept of expiration is nuanced in the wine world; rather than a fixed date, wines are crafted with the intention of evolving and maturing, offering diverse flavor profiles based on aging conditions.

What happens to wine after the expiration date?

Wine doesn’t undergo an abrupt deterioration after its so-called expiration date; rather, its taste and characteristics continue to evolve. However, if a wine has not been stored properly or exceeds its recommended aging period, it may experience a decline in quality.

Whites and lighter reds may lose their freshness, exhibiting oxidized or flat flavors, while robust reds might develop a smoother, more complex taste.

It’s crucial to note that not all wines benefit from extended aging, and some are meant for immediate consumption.

Is expired wine better?

The notion of expired wine being “better” is subjective and depends on personal preferences. Some wine enthusiasts appreciate the unique qualities that emerge as a wine ages, finding that certain flavors become more pronounced and the overall experience becomes more nuanced.

However, this preference for aged wine is specific to certain types, such as well-structured reds. It’s important to understand that not all wines are suitable for extended aging, and consuming a wine well past its recommended period may lead to a decline in quality.

Whether expired wine is better or not ultimately depends on individual taste preferences and the specific characteristics one seeks in a bottle.

So, Where Is The Expiration Date On Wine?

Not all bottles of wine have expiration dates, but if they do, expiration dates can be found on the back or front bottom part of the bottle or, if not, in its box packaging.

You can also look for the “best by” or “best before” date labels or the sealed or vintage date as an indicator.

But if you still can’t find the expiration date and notice a color alteration, sharp, tart aroma, and change in taste to sour-like vinegar, it is a sign that your wine is expired.


  1. Food Product Dating
  2. Tannins 101: What they are and how they affect your wine
Lumint ad Side Bar
Flex Ad Side Bar