Sherry is Not Just for Sipping
Freezing Objects in Ice

How Long Does Sherry Last?

Sherry is a wine, albeit a fortified one, that does spoil after a certain time being open. It also typically doesn't improve once it is put into the bottle so here's how long to keep it around. 

Consejo talk sherry storage times_tn
According to the Consejo Regulador of Sherry, the wine should be stored for the following times: 

 Fino or Manzanilla: in a sealed bottle it will last for 12 to 18 months. If the bottle is opened and stored in the refrigerator, it will last one week. 

Amontillado and Medium Sweet Sherries in a sealed bottle will last for 18 to 36 months. If the bottle is open they will last 2 -3 weeks.

Oloroso and Cream Sherries in a sealed bottle will last for 24 to 36 months. If the bottle is open they will last 4 -6 weeks.

Pedro Ximenez in a sealed bottle will last for 24 to 48 months. If the bottle is open it will last 1 -2 months.


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I guess I should throw away this bottle of oloroso that's been open in my fridge for two years.

Camper English

It's worth trying first...


You specifically note that the lighter sherries have to be stored in the fridge. Does that mean that the other types do not have to be refrigerated?

Camper English

That is definitely what the slide implies. However would keeping the darker sherries in the refrigerator extend their life even further? I'm guessing yes but I don't know the official answer to that one.


Something to consider, that's for sure. Thanks for the quality info, sir.


I hate these overaggressive time frames that 1) discourage people from buying the stuff and 2) don't match up to taste.

Things like hearing the vermouth is bad after 1/2/7 days is great for a restaurant, but the home user can't afford that especially for slight decays in flavor (old vermouth becomes noticeably sharp but that is many weeks out).


I should add that the above comment is in regard to home users and for cocktail use.

Tony Harion

The life span of the sealed bottles is a bit scary.

I don’t think a lot of sherry is moved around that much from the shelves in my area. This would mean they are probably all too old…

edward olive

Gracias por el consejo saludos


What if the California (Fairbanks) Sherry has been opened for weeks,not refrigerated,smells great still and is to be used in cooking?

Camper English

I'm not sure how California sherry is made (I'm guessing not at all in the same way as in Jerez) or if it is supposed to last longer, but if it still smells/tastes fine then I don't suppose there is any reason not to use it!



Trying to figure out how old a bottle of Fairbanks cream Sherry is. It was open when given to me, but had been kept in the fridge, not sure for how long though. I have no experience with sherry, so don't know what it's suppose to smell like. Ay thoughts?

Camper English

If it smells like vinegar, that's bad. More likely if it's old it will just taste flat and possibly unpleasant. Generally, sherry smells like oxidized wine; like sweet vermouth to some extent.


Thank you, smells a bit nutty to me, haven't decided if it's pleasant. Just found a copyright date of 2001 on the label in fine print, but not sure it that's when it was bottled, or if it's just a copyright date for the label.

Camper English

Sherry very often smells nutty, so that's normal.


I just opened my Pastora Amontillado from Trader Joe's. It tastes good but looks a little cloudy. I bought it awhile ago and thought it would stay fine in my pantry (dark). Opinion please?

Camper English

Cloudiness can happen when liquids get cold or just be natural sedimentation, though I'm surprised that you'd find it in sherry. Anyway, if you've just opened it and it tastes fine then it's probably just fine. It's when things taste vinegary that it's time to to toss.

Alf Moss

I just opened a botle of Celebration Cream sherry by Pedro Domecq. Its been in the back of my store room (Dark, even temperatures)for at least 20years with some other bottles inherited from my parents so its probably 30 years old. I dont drink a lot and when I do its port so this got left. The cork disintegrated on pulling and I thought, oh, dear (Or something like that). Sniffed it smelt ok, still absolutely clear so I took a sip and its gorgous. The second glass was even better, looks like I got a surprise Xmas pressie.

I have a bottle of Christian brothers dry sherry that has been in my pantry -- opened let me add for a few years. Should I toss it? It does not smell vinegary

Camper English

Well I doubt that it would poison you but it's probably not at peak deliciousness either. One good thing about sherry is that it's pretty inexpensive so buying a new bottle is always an option.

colin cheater

[email protected]

I have a bottle of sherry that is 30 years old and still not opened, would this be drinkable after all this time.

Camper English

Sherry is pretty good at lasting a long time in the bottle, since it goes so long in the solera under air. The condition of it will depend on factors including storage temperature and exposure to light. But you might just want to give it a try.

Tamara Jones

What about a bottle of Taylor Sherry? I'm using it for cooking.


I purchased a 1.5L bottle of Fairbanks Cream Sherry a week ago. I poured a small glass and returned the screw on lid. A few days later I noticed liquid droplets had formed on the inside of the bottle in the air space above the wine. I have never had this happen before and wonder what is causing this contamination ??? The droplets are clear colored. I have the remainder of the bottle. Please let me know what is the cause and what the contaminate may be !!

Camper English

My guess is that it's plain old water and is caused by temperature changes. Here is some chatter:

hel opolis

I worked selling wine, and actually cared about the products I sold. For what I understood from our learning materials, if you are ever in doubt about whether your product is still good or not follow two very simple steps: first, sniff, if it's all good on that front... second, take a sip!

It's really that easy.


I have a bottle of Harveys Bristol Cream(original Superior sherry product of Spain ) that has been in my friends closet for 17 years. It smells fine and tastes ok. However, I don't, know much about sherries just started drinking them Do you think it is still OK?

Camper English

I would guess that it's not at it's best (but Harvey's Bristol Cream isn't exactly a top-of-the-line sherry to start with), but if it wasn't opened yet and you think it tastes fine then it's probably fine. Now that it's opened, keep it in the refrigerator and watch for signs (smells) of turning vinegary.


I have a bottle of Sherry labeled "Extra Cream Sherry Solera established in 1.903 A. Soler Specially produced and bottled in Bodegas del Principe Ctra. N-IV, Km. 640 Jerez de la Frontera, Spain Produce of Spain" Anyone know anything about this?

Camper English

A quick search revealed this page:

that says "I can't find out much about this bodega, except that the address given is Crta. N-IV, Km 640, Jerez, which is the same as Grupo Estevez., so one must presume that Bodegas del Principe is a sous-marque of Estevez for bulk blends. It is bottled in Jerez, but is not doing the image of Sherry much good."

My guess is that it was a separate label consolidated into another bodega at some point. But I don't know.


Have a case of unopened Amontillado Sherry 1999 is it still drinkable or able to use I'm cooking?

Camper English

The best way to tell would be to open a bottle and see if it smells like vinegar. If so, it's bad. If not, give it a try for drinking and if you don't love it, use it in cooking. That's my opinion anyway.

For the last 40 yrs I have often had open bottled Harvey's last 2 yrs after opening. I have NEVER refrigerated mine. And I think it tastes better the older it gets. Much more mellow and though I may be imagining it, creamier. If anyone wants to send me their old bottle of HBC, I'll gladly take it! B)

OMG! Hidden treasure. The older the better has been my experience. I keep an extra bottle hidden in the closet for at least 2 yrs before opening. And an open bottle often last me up to two years to begin with. I treat it like royalty! LOL Again, IMHO, the older HBC gets, the more my mouth imagines its creaminess. And I NEVER refrigerate mine.

BTW, my friend has a vat of dandelion wine with cheese cloth over it, that has been in his family for over 100yrs. It is by far the most creamy, most tasteful ecstasy I've ever encountered. It's almost honey viscosity thick.


I've had mine for seven years.It just tastes a bit stronger.Perhaps I should pour it down the sink. If I enjoyed it I would have drunk it all by now but I've no-one to share it with.


I have two unopened bottles if you are interested in them?


My experiences have shown it to be a good thing when sherry clouds for a short time. The old timers at the bodegas in Jerez explain that if the 'flower' of the sherry is alive it clouds once a year and causes proper aging. If it does not, it is dead sherry and may go bad soon.


lets all share a glass with Pam!

brandon reinbold

I came across 2 unopened bottles of harveys amontillado my dad brought home during his service in europe between 68 and 72. Curious if it is worth anything


I use dry sherry for cooking. However the bottles tend to be on the large size and one bottle last me several months. Should I not be using wine or sherry that old? Please advise as soon as possible thank you

Camper English

If it smells at all like vinegar - it's gone off. Most of the stuff designed for cooking will probably last a while. use give it a smell - the nose knows!


My neighbour has just given me a bottle of Harvey's Bristol, two thirds full, opened which she has had for over 7 years as she doesn't drink at all.

Having read the advice, I will have to tip it down the sink or the drain outside and recycle the nice blue bottle.


My neighbour has just given me a bottle of Harvey's Bristol, two thirds full, opened which she has had for over 7 years as she doesn't drink at all.

Having read the advice, I will have to tip it down the sink or the drain outside and recycle the nice blue bottle.

Helen Amys

I have found a bottle of Waitrose Fino sherry that has to be at least 4 years old, unopened. Will it be any good?

Camper English

Only way to know is to test it - if it's vinegary at all, you know it's bad.

Robert Bapty

I've just finished the last of a bottle of Harvey's Bristol Cream from last Christmas which still tasted absolutely fine!


We received a bottle of 1925 London Sherry and it was fabulous. Port like flavors.


i have a harveys bristol cream sherry i got like 3 or 4 years ago. still not open. is it ok to open it or should i just throw it away??


ports and sherry are fortified wines these families of wines have much higher alcohol content then regular wines.

these where designed long ago for long shipping journeys around the world.
in theory sherry and port cannot become vinegar very easy as the aceitobactor mother of vinegar bacteria cannot survive in high alcohol content drinks.

never throw out an old bottle even if the cork breaks apart.
it can be filterd with muslin cloth or even a coffee filter.
i have drunk sherry and port that is more than 40 years old
others i know have had port from the 1890s.

when using very old wines like these they may contain more sediment than usual this can even be used in cooking.

as many have said here just try it you will be amazed i had some taylors 10 year old tawny port tonight the small bottle was opened 6 years ago with about 30% used then the cork put back in.

simply delicious a million times more interesting than many average ports you would find in a bar.

sherry and port are great used in cooking and for putting in deserts.

i actually have made sherry and port vinegar the only way you can do this is by adding water to get the alc below 10% so the mother of vinegar bacteria can survive.

if folks spend hundreds and thousands of dollars for vintage bottles the intention is for drinking.

so drink

harveys bristol cream is a pretty basic stuff again try it if you do not like use it in the kitchen.
not a fan of harveys if i had a bottle i would smash up some black berries any berries in a glass jar for a month then filter
many ways to change the profile of booze you do not like.

random bottles ports and sherry
pour a small glass swill the booz get some air in the glass and liquid
smell it savour the aroma
smell time
and get it down your necks : )



I have a bottle of Pedro Ximénex San Emilio sherry that has been opened and refrigerated for about a year. What are your thoughts?

Camper English

I'd guess it will be fine.

chloe potter

What was the brand of sherry that came in gold colored bottles?


I’m I. A similar situation with many bottles of harvey’s Bristol cream in gift boxes. What do you think?

Dennis Urick

I made a batch of sherry from a kit in 1998 and just found two 1.5 liters hidden on a shelf. Tastes wonderful.


I am an"OLD " man in my 96th year and I have had HBC opener over a year at times and it is still GREAT. Usually I don't let it last that long. It goes down re-e-e-eal smooth !

w R

yeah, me too!

Judy Mydan

I just found a gallon (no quantity on bottle mentioned) in my cold storage and it’s never been opened and I’m sure it’s been there for at least 30 years is Jordan Branvin Canadian Sherry...would it be drinkable or should I pour it out

Camper English

@Judy - Only one way to find out....

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