I started a batch of wine at the end of the summer, and I happen to have a bad habit of not following through on projects. Basically, I fermented it, moved it to the secondary after about a week, then reracked about a month afterwards. Since then, it's been sitting in my basement (cool and dark) aging in the carboys. This has probably been there 5 months (wow).

I guess at this point my question is:

Do you think there's anything wrong with bottling it at this point?

Is it most likely bad or do you think it's perfectly fine to let it sit that long?

I may open one up to smell/taste it. Hope it will be ok so it wasn't a waste of time/energy. Thanks in advance for the advice.

  • Thanks for the responses. My airlocks were still good so no Oxygen should have gotten in. I opened them up today and it tastes pretty good :) I think I'll sweeten a little and then bottle!
    – atkearns
    Commented Mar 3, 2012 at 18:46

5 Answers 5


I've bulk aged wines for up to a year with no bad consequences.

As long as:

  1. You kept oxygen out
  2. The airlocks didn't dry out
  3. There was sufficient sulphur in the wine
  4. The alcohol was sufficiently high

It'll be fine. Definielty taste it, and report back.


I've bulk aged wines for multiple years, some big reds take that long or longer to really come into their own, I've even aged whites for that long.

Certainly there is such a thing as too much age on a wine, I got a lot of full bottles of wine from the 60s and they had all completely oxidized, though this was due to cork failure.

As long as it tastes okay, you're fine. In my experience 5 months of age on a wine is still a young wine. :)


I don't make wine, only beer, but I would absolutely taste that and then bottle it. Bulk aging in a carboy is no different than aging in bottles as long as you were keeping oxygen out of it (i.e. the airlocks didn't dry out, or you had it sealed) Even if you didn't manage to keep oxygen out, that would only speed the aging process. Taste it. If it's not obviously bad (i.e. vinegar), bottle it. You didn't let it age too long. Wine and beer both get better with time, wine on longer timeframes than beer.


As long as you keep them away from light, drastic temp changes, and O2 you'll be fine. I've bottled many after four years. Often I'll keep them in the barrel for one to two years (15g). Keep an eye on the SO2 levels especially if you're barrelling. The little bit of O2 you get in the wine will help it age.


You can age wines too long, but it depends on the wines.

General rule of thumb for white is 3-5 years is optimal, for Reds 6-10 years with some notable exceptions being considered long term investments.

For country wines, it's best to treat them all as white wines until you get a good idea of what's optimal. Your wines wont be the same as another person's even if you follow the same recipe, so you need to get comfortable with learning how to age YOUR wines. Do this by only drinking some of your wine each year. If it's not so good yet, then leave it alone for another year. If it starts getting good, then perhaps drink some more of it. If you practice good cellar management techniques you will drink your last bottle of wine just as it starts to decline in delicuousness.

Now bulk aging and bottle aging are considerably different, however you can combine the bulk aging and bottle aging to figure out the shortest time you want to age. Bottle aging is a bit faster than bulk aging you see, but bulk aging produces great consistency in the aging (meaning you wont have 25 bottles all taste different from one another), however it's slower.

I think bulk aging a long time carries a greater risk of infection due to how carboys are sealed, but it usually benefits a wine to bulk age 3 months to 1 year. So just care for the carboy carefully. Make sure you use a sanitation wipe to keep the top of it clean, and make sure the bung is secure and you should be ok. If the wine is over 12.3% alcohol, chances are it will successfully preserve itself anyway.

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