Does Marsala Wine Go Bad? (Traditional & Cooking Wine)

Does Marsala Wine Go Bad

Whether you enjoy adding Marsala wine to various dishes or drink it straight, it can be a delicious addition to any meal. Of course, there are many wines of varying flavors and fragrances, but plenty of people have Marsala as their go-to!

After opening, Marsala wine typically lasts for about six months. Granted, it does not spoil after this time; it loses its flavor and becomes discolored. To minimize adverse effects, store your wine correctly and use a wine refrigerator if you have access to one. Unopened, Marsala wine can last up to 6 years if stored away from light and heat.

Let’s take a look at when exactly Marsala goes bad, what the signs are, how to store Marsala properly, and what a few alternatives are.

Does Marsala Wine Go Bad Over Time?

Wines and cooking wines do not go rancid quickly. This also applies to Marsala cooking wine, which is also sometimes referred to as a fortified wine. Marsala will keep fresh for many months, whether you will enliven food with this wine or drink it straight. It can easily last beyond six months from the date of opening. After this period, instead of spoiling, the major concern is the loss of quality in the product. This usually translates to the flavor being diluted over time, and if added to dishes or even drunk straight, it would do little to enhance food or satisfy your taste buds.

Does Homemade Marsala Wine Go Bad?

Homemade Marsala cooking wine has a long shelf life and does not normally go bad. Of course, it doesn’t last as long as the brands on sale at your local store, but you can still get months of life from the homemade version. The worst that can happen is that the wine’s flavor, fragrance, and general quality will eventually diminish over time. This process can be slowed down by good storage practices similar to how one would store regular drinking wines.

How Can You Tell If Marsala Wine Has Gone Bad?

While it is hard for Marsala wine to deteriorate to the point that it can be described as bad, it can lose its quality after many months of storage. The discoloration is one identifier that it may be time to stop using the product, or it can be a warning sign to quickly use it before the quality worsens further. If the aroma of the wine is dull or the distinctive flavor has been lost, then your wine, while not bad, will not benefit you or any of the dishes you choose to add it to. It is best not to use Marsala in this state because it could spoil your cooking instead of adding richness and flavor to your culinary efforts.

How to Properly Store Marsala Wine

Storing your Marsala wine properly will help prevent you from losing any of its quality and value. Whether the bottle is opened or unopened, there are a few essential steps you can take to maintain its freshness and sweet taste. The better you take care of your wine, the longer it will last!

How to Store Marsala Wine

  1. Identify an area in your home that is between 53 and 57 degrees Fahrenheit with a humidity level of 60 to 70 percent. A wine refrigerator or wine cellar is ideal if you have access to one. If you do, your Marsala has the potential to last up to six years if unopened.
  2. If you do not have access to either of these ideal environments, find a cool, dark, and dry place. Keep it in its original bottle and store it flat to preserve taste and color for as long as possible.
  3. If you have opened your Marsala, it needs to go in the fridge, where it can last for up to a month. Make sure the bottle is fitted with a stopper to keep the air out and have it upright instead of flat.
  4. Whether opened or unopened, Marsala needs to be kept away from light and heat to prevent loss of flavor.

How to Store Marsala Cooking Wine

  1. If the Marsala is unopened, it can be kept in a dark, cool environment for a long period of time.
  2. Once you have opened your Marsala cooking wine, ensure that it is tightly sealed and try to keep it in its original container.
  3. Store your cooking wine in a refrigerator to keep it fresh for the next time you need to use it!

Does Marsala Wine Go Bad After Opening?

Marsala wine can lose its flavor if it is not used in a reasonable time period after the bottle has been opened. This deterioration in quality can also be accelerated if the wine is not stored properly. Leaving the wine in a standard kitchen refrigerator affects the natural aging process and will spoil the wine over a long period of time. The flavor can fade, the smooth texture can be lost, and the color can change. All of this can happen to bottles of wine if opened, no matter where they are kept. However, proper storage can perfect the aging process. Marsala cooking wine can age badly instead of going bad, but either way, consumers may not want to use the product when this happens.

Can You Get Sick From Consuming Old Marsala Wine?

If your Marsala cooking wine is very old, then it will do little to enhance any dish that it is added to. As mentioned before, this mostly comes down to age ruining the original flavor, which is one of the main attributes of Marsala. If the flavor only fades, it would go unnoticed when added to a dish. However, it would not make you sick. 

If you drink old Marsala wine, you may not have a pleasant experience. Depending on how far gone the wine is, it could give you a mild stomach ache. Those with a very sensitive digestive system are most likely to get sick from drinking old and poorly stored wine.

Does Marsala Wine Have Gluten?

No, Marsala wine does not contain gluten and is safe for celiacs to consume. Marsala cooking wine is a fortified wine produced near Marsala, which is located on the island of Sicily in Italy. Marsala comes in different flavors, and the main ingredients are different varieties of white grapes, such as Inzolia and Catarratto. Red grapes are also occasionally used in the manufacturing process. Also, a distilled spirit, usually brandy, is commonly mixed into the Marsala cooking wine. 

Alternatives to Marsala Wine

If you can no longer find your go-to Marsala cooking wine or simply fancy a change, there are alternatives that can be experimented with. The best substitutes can mimic the flavor Marsala wine brings to a dish or simply enhance your cooking the same way Marsala can.

Homemade Marsala Wine

Some of these alternatives can be made quickly at home with only a few very basic ingredients. If you have white grape juice in your kitchen then you can make a quick-cooking wine substitute. All you need is a ¼ cup of white grape juice, a tablespoon of vanilla extract, and two tablespoons of sherry vinegar. You can also use the same amount of white grape juice, but only add one teaspoon of brandy to it instead. The key here is to mix the concoctions thoroughly so all the different flavors and textures blend well together.

Broadbent Rainwater Madeira

Madeira is another fortified wine like Marsala, and it has a very similar taste that is atomic and subtle. It comes in a dark red color and has the scent of figs and dates when you take a whiff. Try Madeira if you want a dessert wine that isn’t too sweet.

Ferreira Tawny Port

With the aroma of spices and dried fruit, you do not want to miss out on giving Port a try! This wine is sweet and goes well with cheese and desserts. It has a rich red color and tastes amazing!

Underwood Cellers Pinot Noir

This lightly colored wine has an elegance about it that makes it the perfect addition to your meal. Pinto Noir smells of cherries, raspberries, and cranberries, and is made in the cold French regions.

Final Thoughts

Marsala is both a delicious cooking wine and drinking wine, and many people have it on hand in their households. While it does start to lose its flavor and color after six months, there is minimal risk of you getting sick from drinking it past that point. Following the proper storage guidelines will maximize the use you get from your Marsala cooking wine!

Related Questions

Is Marsala Cooking Wine Dry or Sweet?

Marsala cooking wine is versatile, but it is dry to semi-dry wine in its most popular form. However, the taste is highly dependent on the manufacturing process and the variety of grapes used. Because of this, some Marsala wine is sweet instead of dry, making it an excellent appetizer beverage. The sweet version can also be a great accompaniment for many tasty dishes, similar to any dry versions on the market.

Does Marsala Cooking Wine Contain Alcohol?

Marsala cooking wine is manufactured using a blend of wines that are made from certain locally grown varieties of white grapes, including Cataratto, Inzolia, and Grillo. This wine blend is then fortified with grape brandy and sweetened with boiled-down grape juice that has had the fermentation stage halted with the use of spirit. Therefore, it does contain alcohol. In fact, it contains more alcohol than your average drinking wine.

What Are Common Meals to Use Marsala Cooking Wine For?

Considering Marsala can be dry, semi-dry, or even sweet, it can be paired with various snacks as a side drink or used as a cooking ingredient in certain dishes. Marsala wine is excellent with starters such as various cheeses, Parmesan, nuts, and green and black olives. It also pairs well with the famous creamy Chicken Marsala dish. Marsala wine can also enhance desserts such as cakes and tiramisu.

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Christine VanDoren

Christine is a certified personal trainer and nutritionist with an undergraduate degree from Missouri State University. Her passion is helping others learn how strong and healthy they can become by transforming their daily habits. Christine spends most of her time in the gym, hiking, painting, and learning how she can influence others through positivity!

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