Does Ice Wine Go Bad? How Long Can You Keep It?

Do Ice Wines Go Bad?

Ice Wine is a dessert wine that is produced from grapes that have been frozen while they’re still on the vine. Now you know how that name came by, just in case you weren’t sure.

Now let’s deal with the title of the article which was written to help you understand ice wines better and if they really do go bad.

There are different types and varieties of wine ranging from White wine to Rose wine, Red wine, Sparkling wine, and Fortified wine. All of these have their unique shelf lives which depend on their characteristics (constituents), quality, and how they are kept.

Ice Wine is a popular Canadian wine, but does it go bad? How long can it be kept? If these are the questions at the core of your heart, then you’re reading the right article.

To start with, you need to know that Ice Wine is a fortified wine, but what exactly does this mean? Does it have any important meaning you should pay attention to? Let’s start from there.


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Do Ice Wines Go Bad?

From the name, fortified wines are more protected from the danger of going bad because of distilled spirit present in them. This is because of their high sugar content, the high alcohol content of about 20%, and some level of acidity, all of which help to sustain their flavor for many years. This is what Ice Wine is.

Generally, every wine can go bad. They all tend to go bad, depending on their type and how they are stored.

The difference is that some wines go bad faster than others. While some wines should be consumed at most, 2 days after they are opened (an example is a Sparkling Wine), other wines can last a few more days (Rose wine, Red Wine) and some a month (Fortified Wine).

Do Ice Wines Go Bad?
image: Envato Elements

Hitting the nail on the head, Ice wines go bad, only that they last longer compared to other wines. Fortified wines are the longest-lasting wines.

Why Do Ice Wines Go Bad?

Generally, wines go bad because of their exposure to oxygen. When wines become exposed to oxygen, bacteria begin to act on them and produce an acetic acid that turns the wine into alcohol, reducing the quality of the wine. In the same way, when Ice Wines get exposed, they also go bad.

However, this is a major condition that can reduce the shelf life of ice wines. Other than this, they can last 20-30 years when they are not opened and about a week if they’re opened.

It is advised that they are kept in the pantry if unopened, but tightly sealed in the refrigerator if it’s been opened already. This is why you shouldn’t joke with good storage measures. You should always keep your wines in cool and dark places.

How Long Can You Keep Your Ice Wine?

According to Magdalena Kaiser-Smit, the Public Relations director for the wine council of Ontario, “Under perfect conditions, ice wine can last for years. Some Ice Wines can last up for 20 to 30 years.”

Notwithstanding, the shelf life of ice wines (just like other wines) has a lot to do about the quality of the wine. The type of grape used is important. If you can be sure about the quality of the Ice Wine, then you can be sure it will last for a very long time, as long as you don’t break preservation rules.

Following, another factor that determines the longevity of ice wines is how you keep them.

In any case, unopened ice wine lasts longer than opened ones. Well, just like other wines.

How Long Can You Keep Opened Ice Wine?

As Kaiser asserted, Ice Wines are best enjoyed in small quantities and I bet you don’t want to turn that nice wine in the sink just because you didn’t finish it after two or three cups.

The good news is: According to Kaiser, you can keep your opened ice wine a week or more after you’ve opened it once they’re tightly sealed in the refrigerator.

Do Ice Wines Go Bad?
Image: Envato Elements

How Long Can You Keep Unopened Ice Wine?

Unopened ice wines should not bother you so much, if at all. You can keep it for as long as 20-30 years. Note that Ice Wines are not generally aging wines and the taste does not get any better with time. You can only be sure the taste wouldn’t dwindle once you’re storing it well.

The best place to keep your unopened ice wines is the pantry. Once it’s there and the cork is not shifted or developed any hole that can cause it to be exposed to oxygen, bacteria, heat, or light, then you can be sure you and our wine have years to spend together.

How Should You Store Your Ice Wine?

It is important to know that unopened Ice Wines should be kept at room temperature when and not put in the freezer. They should be kept at temperatures of about 12-15°C.

Keep them where vibrations can be avoided as much as possible.

They should be kept in a horizontal position to keep the cork wet and avoid them developing holes that could expose the wine.

How To Know Your Ice Wine Is Bad

It is not enough to know your wine can go bad, you need to know how to tell when it’s bad.

Generally, you know a wine has gone bad when you:

1. Observe the color

If the color of the ice wine has changed to brown, then there’s a high possibility the wine had gone bad and should be discarded.

2. Check for changes in the smell

Can you perceive anything odd? Does it smell like nail polish remover or Vinegar? It’s bad if your answer is yes.

3. Taste it

According to Magdalena, the best way to know your ice wine has gone bad is to open it and taste it. Once it tastes like Vinegar or Sherry, dispose of it.

Final Thoughts

Ice Wines go bad, only that they have much longer shelf lives compared to other common wines.  They can last as long as 25 years, as long as they are unopened and properly stored.

Ice Wines are best stored at 55°F in humility levels around 70%.

Although ice wines can long, they are highly delicate and should be kept at a consistent temperature and humidity levels.

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