How to store Port after opening the bottle


Port wine involves quite a complex system of production and storage.

However, what people enjoy most is drinking it, and therefore there are certain rules for this stage of the Port’s life, both before and after the bottle is opened. It is true that many sources differ in their information, but the basic rules do exist:

Distinguish age of Port wine

To fully enjoy port, it is important to distinguish its age. Older wines, vintage and vintage port should be consumed as soon as possible after opening, as the fullness and characteristics gained from long maturation are quickly lost in the air. These types of wine are usually consumed on a major occasion, where it is hoped that the entire contents of the bottle will reach the mouths of the guests without much delay.

Bottle caps

The way a bottle is closed can also be a guide when deciding how to store port. Those with a regular cork (mostly older vintage wines) should be consumed within 24 hours. Wines with a special cork closure, called a T-stopper, can be kept in the fridge for several weeks without any loss of quality. The use of a T-stopper makes it easy to open and close the bottle. These closures are mainly used for non-vintage wines such as Ruby or Tawny, and also for some Colheitas, LBVs and special Reservas.

The T-stopper allows for easier opening and closing of bottles

Bottle position

Store port with cork stoppers lying down with the label on top, as you don’t have to turn the bottle around and unnecessarily stir up sediment when it is stored this way. Store bottles with T-stoppers conveniently standing upright.


Carry the bottles from your storage area to the place of consumption carefully, without turning them or stirring the contents. If the bottle has been stored with the label on top, try to maintain this position when serving. Wines with sediment must be poured very carefully or decanted before pouring.

Store open in a cool place

Keep your port in a cool, dark place. There is no greater harm than the sun shining on the bottle once it has been opened, and this turns the wine’s formerly great texture and flavour into an exhaled, empty liquid.


Decant Port wine using a special decanter. Pour the wine into it in one motion, looking over the neck of the bottle to make sure that there really is minimal or preferably no sediment entering the decanter.

How long to store types of port after opening the bottle:

Ruby and Tawny Port

Usually 3 to 5 weeks without significant deterioration in quality.

Dated Tawny

4 weeks in the refrigerator. 2 weeks at room temperature.


Younger wines, usually less than 15 years old, will keep for 4 weeks with no loss of flavor or aroma. Older vintages are recommended to be consumed either immediately after opening or within 48 hours.

Late Bottled Vintage (LBV)

Unfiltered LBV, when stored in the refrigerator, will keep for a week or two without loss of quality. Filtered LBV is good for consumption within 10 days if kept in a cool place.

Vintage Port

Young Vintage Port (less than 5 years old) can often be enjoyed nicely within 4 to 5 days of opening the bottle. However, older Vintages (more than 15 years) are recommended to be consumed within 2 – 3 days.

After this time, although they do not spoil, they lose their freshness and become poorer in distinctive characters, mainly aroma and taste.

A bottle of really old Vintage Port (over 25 years old) can be drunk with gusto the same day or within 48 hours. It would be a sin to leave it in storage for longer.

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