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Tested: How Long Can You Keep Wine In A Carafe

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I remember when I first attended a young wine show, and every winery had its young wines in carafes and decanters to open up their aromas. The thought crossed my mind about what would happen to those wines at the end of each day of the show. Did the wineries store their wines overnight in their carafes or decant fresh wine each morning?  

Wine can last 2 – 3 days in a carafe after opening compared to 3 – 5 days in the bottle if the wine has not been decanted. However, wine decanted into a carafe loses its aromas after 30 minutes and 3 hours.

Let’s take a closer look at the factors determining how long you can keep a wine in a carafe and how you can extend the amount of time your wine can stay in a carafe without losing quality. 

How Long Can You Keep Wine In A Carafe
How Long Can You Keep Wine In A Carafe

TIP: If you want to check out the best refrigerator for wine storage, I recommend trying out the Avation (18 bottles) compressor refrigerator with Wi-fi smart app control cooling system. You can find this refrigerator by clicking here (Amazon link).

How Long Can You Keep Wine In A Carafe

There are two things to consider when it comes to keeping wine in the carafe:

  1. The first is how long you can keep the wine in a carafe before it over-oxidizes and turns to what is effectively vinegar.
  2. The second is how long you can keep the wine in the carafe before it has exceeded its decanting time and starts losing its aromas.

When it comes to the amount of time it will take before the wine becomes completely oxidized and undrinkable, the consensus is that it takes approximately 2 to 3 days to store your wine in a carafe before it oxidizes too much.

Then, if your carafe does not have a stopper to prevent additional oxygen from getting into the carafe, that oxidative time frame could be less than 48 hours.

However, when it comes to storing wine in a carafe, there is another factor that needs to be taken into consideration.

A carafe effectively acts as a decanter; even the most full-bodied red wines become fully decanted after between 2 and 3 hours. Once the wine has become fully decanted, it will slowly lose its aromas over time.

TIP: If you are interested in buying a wine decanter, I recommend purchasing these two top-quality decanters:

This means that if you keep your wine in a carafe for the two to three days needed for it to become completely oxidized, it will have lost all of its aromas long before then, making it unpleasant even if it hasn’t completely oxidized. 

A better option would be to double-decant the wine; in other words, decant your wine back into the bottle and then use an airtight rubber seal such as the Vacuvin wine sealer (available on Amazon). This will give your wine a completely airtight seal and extract as much oxygen from the bottle as possible.

That way, you’ll be able to store your wine while maintaining its aromas and extend the amount of time it will take for the wine to become over-oxidized by an additional 3 to 4 days.

Can I Leave Wine In A Carafe Overnight?

Recommendation box: Everything you need to enjoy your wine as much as possible. All recommended products are personally tested and regularly used by experts from this website (Amazon links):

> Ivation Wine Cooler Energy-efficient wine cooler for 18 bottles with Wi-fi smart app control cooling system.
> Wine RackBeautiful, elegant wood rack for up to 7 bottles and the choice of vertical or horizontal storage.
> Durand Wine OpenerClassic vintage wine opener (we like all these classic staff).
> YouYah Iceberg Wine DecanterThe most beautiful and handy wine decanter we personally use.
> Bormioli Rocco Wine GlassesA set of eight elegant and traditional wine glasses made in Italy.
> Vintorio Wine AeratorSimple but really useful wine aerator for a reasonable price.
> The Original Vacu Vin Wine SaverThe best wine saver on the market in a package with two vacuum stoppers and two wine servers.

And if you want to become a true connoisseur of wine, we recommend reading the book Wine Folly: The Essential Guide to Wine (Amazon link), where you will find all the information you need about winemaking, wine varieties, flavors, and much more.

You can potentially leave wine in a carafe overnight. However, your carafe needs an adequate stopper to prevent additional oxygen from getting into your carafe and overoxidizing your wine.

Because your wine carafe effectively acts as a decanter, you have a limited amount of time to keep the wine in your carafe and allow it to continue oxidizing before your wine begins losing its aromas. Wine will lose its aromas long before it turns bad from over-oxidization.

If my carafe doesn’t have a stopper, I would definitely not leave wine in that carafe overnight as I’d be sure that by the next day, the likelihood of my wine being able to maintain any of its aromas would be slim even though the wine would still be technically drinkable.

If I have a carafe with a sufficiently airtight stopper, I would be prepared to keep that wine overnight in the carafe as the chances of it losing its aromas or spoiling overnight would be limited.

The ideal situation for me would be to decant the wine back into the bottle with an airtight rubber seal so that I can probably preserve my wine with limited effects from exposure to oxygen.

TIP: When it comes to the carafe that is used for serving wine, these vessels are available in a variety of different sizes to hold a variety of different volumes of wine. In this article, you can find more about how many glasses are in different-sized carafes. Wine decanters are often made of soft glass, so be careful how you clean them. This article explains how to wash a decanter in the dishwasher.

Can I Store Wine In A Lead Crystal Carafe

In his 2019 research paper, Joe Schwarcz, Ph.D. of McGill University, looked closely at the effects of storing various types of alcohol in lead crystal carafes. He found a distinct possibility of the lead oxide from the lead crystal leaching into the alcohol.

However, when it comes to wine, your wine will have gone bad long before the leaching of lead oxide into the wine from the lead crystal becomes a problem. His research noted that the maximum allowable level of lead in drinking water is 50 micrograms per liter and that port wine.

For example, it can steadily increase its lead concentration by being stored in a lead crystal container up to and beyond the maximum allowable level of 50 mg per liter. Still, it would take four months to do so.

This means that if you had to do that with regular table wine, it would not be such a severe problem as regular table wine would have gone bad and become undrinkable within 2 to 3 days which is a long way from the four months needed to reach the maximum safe level for lead from a lead crystal carafe or decanter. 

However, I don’t keep any of my wine in lead crystal carafes despite the reassurance given by Dr. Schwarcz. That is just my personal choice and not based on any scientific data.

TIP: Wine Decanting is among wine lovers’ most discussed topics. Discover which wines need to be decanted in this article. Read this article to find out what to do when you do not have a decanter.

Does A Wine Carafe Need A Wine Stopper For Storing?

Does A Wine Carafe Need A Wine Stopper For Storing?
Does A Wine Carafe Need A Wine Stopper For Storing?

When storing wine in a carafe, I won’t keep any of my wines if I do not have a wine stopper that fits my carafe.

The simple reason is that having a wine stopper that fits your carafe will mean that you can limit the amount of oxygen exposure and thereby reduce the amount of aroma loss from oxidation and increase the amount of time before the wine becomes undrinkable due to over-oxidization.

If the carafe I’m using doesn’t have a wine stopper, I would only consider storing my wine in that carafe full pair of a couple of hours, but certainly not overnight.

TIP: Are you interested in buying a wine stopper? We’ve personally tried and recommend buying one of these wine stoppers (Amazon links):

  • The Original Vacu Vin Wine Saver: Our top choice. Very easy-to-use wine stopper/saver. You can enjoy a glass of fresh wine whenever you want without worrying about wasting any.
  • EZBASICS Wine Saver: Great alternative to Original Vacu Vin Saver. This wine stopper keeps the flavor of wine for up to one week.
  • Champagne Stopper by MiTBA: Wine stoppers for sparkling wines are different. This wine stopper seals your bottle and increases the pressure so your beverage’s bubbles won’t go to waste.

If you happen to have a carafe that allows you to use some rubber stopper where you can pump excess air out of the carafe so there is even less air exposure to the wine, then that would be the better option. 

Even for wine stored in a bottle, I always use a rubber stopper with a vacuum pump that eliminates air inside the bottle. I do this so that my wine will not only last a lot longer in storage than an open bottle of wine will, but it will retain its aromas even after decanting.

TIP: Wine stoppers work well at slowing down the oxidation process from unfinished wine. Find out the explanation of how they work in this article. But do wine decanters (carafes) always come with a stopper? The answer is in this article.

Does A Carafe Shorten The Lifespan Of Opened Wine?

A carafe most definitely does shorten opened wine’s lifespan simply because a carafe and a standard decanter have a larger surface area than a wine bottle. This means that there will be more of the wine that is exposed to oxygen at all times, allowing the wine to decant.

Once the wine reaches its peak during the decanting process, which can be anything between 30 minutes in the case of light-bodied wines or 3 hours in the case of full-bodied wines, the wine will then begin to lose its aromas as it is past the peak of decanting time. 

So a wine kept inside the bottle has a longer storage life because there has been less exposure to oxygen.

The moment you pour your wine into a carafe or decanter, the clock is literally ticking to when the wine will pass its peak of optimal aromas and flavors and start to decline in quality to the point where It ultimately becomes undrinkable.

TIP: Most wines go bad once you pop the cork within a day or so. But a Coravin Wine Preservation system (available for a great price on Amazon) can extend the life of your opened wine for weeks or even months. It is awesome. You should check it out to see if it fits your lifestyle.

Does Old Wine Last Longer In A Carafe?

Old wine does not last as long in a carafe compared to a bottle. The older a wine, the more fragile the balance of its aromas and flavors. Only minimal exposure to oxygen is needed before that wine peaks and starts declining rapidly.

Often a really old wine only needs between 10 and 15 minutes in a carafe or decanter for it to be able to oxygenate sufficiently to be able to be enjoyed.

The only reason I would pour really old wine into a carafe or decanter would be to separate the wine from any sediment in the bottle and any pieces of cork that fell into the bottle during the opening process.

Suppose you have decanted your old wine into a carafe to separate the sediment. In that case, that wine should be served more or less immediately before the aromas and flavors of that wine inevitably begin to decline. 

Younger ones tend to last longer in a carafe than older wines simply because with younger ones, the aromas of the wine are still closed and need exposure to oxygen to open them up.

By contrast, the aromas of an older wine will open up during bottle maturation and therefore require less oxygen exposure once the bottle is open.

TIP: I have often experienced restaurants serving wine in a carafe while wine experts talk about the benefits of using a decanter for wine. Find out the difference in this article. Learn about 8 different ways to keep wine without a cork here.


Even though the consensus is that it is possible to keep a wine in a carafe for between 2 and 3 days before it becomes over-oxidized and undrinkable, even younger full-bodied wines will start to decline in quality once they have become fully decanted.

Depending on how robust the wine is, it becomes fully decanted after 30 minutes and 3 hours, after which the aromas deteriorate.

TIP: Check out this page for a complete list of wine products and accessories I love. You’ll find my recommendations for wine refrigerators, decanters, and aerators and the best place to buy wine online. Click here to see the complete listing.