Does Chardonnay Go Bad?

Last Updated on August 1st, 2023

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All wine, including Chardonnay, has the potential to go bad under some circumstances. An opened bottle, a dry cork, or aging too long can make Chardonnay taste much less fresh than it’s supposed to. Fortunately, when wine goes bad, it won’t hurt anything except perhaps your taste buds and evening plans. Its alcohol content and lack of sugar prevent any harmful bacteria from forming.

Does Chardonnay Go Bad After Opening?

Chardonnay can last up to 5 days after it is opened. If it is a sparkling Chardonnay, your best bet is to consume it that day or at least by the next day. The reason why is because sparkling wine has the shortest window of drinkability among wines. When Chardonnay goes bad, it might taste dull, sour, or like vinegar. Its color will gradually darken with age. None of these changes are cause for alarm; it’s just oxygen doing its work to break down the wine. You can still drink the Chardonnay if it tastes okay to you or if you’ve been double-dog dared.

A glass of chardonnay in a woman's hand - does it go bad?

Does Chardonnay Go Bad In The Fridge?

The refrigerator is the best place for an opened bottle of Chardonnay. The cool temperature slows down the wine’s deterioration, giving you up to 5 days to finish the bottle. Some people have found that their Chardonnay lasts a little longer in a different container, like a mason jar, rather than trying to reseal the bottle.

Unfortunately, all good things must come to an end. Chardonnay will eventually darken and turn sour in the fridge no matter how well it is sealed. If this is a recurring problem in your house, opt for smaller bottles to reduce waste and enjoy fresher Chardonnay.

What If I Left My Chardonnay In The Car On A Hot Day (After I Opened It)?

Even unopened Chardonnay can go bad in a car on a hot day. Opened Chardonnay is even more vulnerable, so there’s not a lot of good news here. Temperatures above 70 degrees can lead to slight flavor changes, whereas temps above 80 degrees cook the wine and change the taste significantly. These are the temperatures of the car, not the outdoor temperature. A car left in the sun when it’s 85 degrees out can exceed 100 degrees in 10 minutes or 115 degrees in 30 minutes.

On top of this, Chardonnay is best consumed chilled, so if you don’t have ice or a fridge, plus 10 to 20 minutes to bring the temperature down, your wine will taste even worse.

What If I Left My Chardonnay In The Car On A Cold Day And It Froze (After I Opened It)?

Fortunately, some frozen Chardonnay isn’t a big deal as long as the bottle remains intact. Wine is mostly water, so it expands while freezing, which can compromise the integrity of the wine bottle if there’s not enough room for the wine to go. This expansion can also push out the cork or cause the wine to leak around it. If none of these issues have occurred, remove the bottle and place it in the fridge or on the counter to thaw. The chilly temps have likely preserved the flavors of your Chardonnay, so it’s more than okay to drink. 


Chardonnay can go bad after opening it, but it takes a few days or a few hours of high temperatures. But when wine goes bad, it’s still safe to drink; it simply doesn’t taste as good anymore. Be careful not to leave Chardonnay in your car during the summer because high temps can “cook” a wine despite it not being open. As always, if you think a bottle of wine has gone bad, give it a sniff and then a sip to confirm.