Champagne undergoes varying degrees of maturation that follow very strict regulations. However, how long should it be stored when it hits the shelves? Furthermore, Champagne houses store their bottles in very specific conditions. In this light, how should you keep yours when you bring it home?
In the following guide, you will learn how to best store Champagne and how long it should be kept.
Simply click one of the chapters above or keep scrolling to learn more.
How To Store Champagne
Remember that there isn’t a single way for storing Champagne. It all depends on the circumstances and when you plan on consuming it. If you’re saving your Champagne for a special occasion, you may want to consider long-term solutions. However, if you want to keep it close to hand for using in the near future, you’ll probably need a short-term solution.
In any case, it’s always good practice to leave a Champagne to rest for a few weeks before consumption. This ensures that the Champagne reestablishes its molecular harmony after transit.
In either case, storing your Champagne properly not only preserves its shelf life but also makes it easier for serving. By respecting the proper storage conditions, it will need little to no time to reach the right temperature for serving.
Long-Term Champagne Storage
- Maximum Storage Time: 2-3 Years [Non-Vintage], 5-10 Years [Vintage]
Firstly, always keep in mind that Champagne doesn’t age like red wine. A house will only release their Champagne once it’s reached what they consider to be perfection. Also, remember that the conditions in your home or cellar are somewhat different than Champagne caves.
For example, Champagne maturity takes place in a capped bottle rather than corked bottle. Furthermore, the capped bottles contain a residue called lees that improves the fermentation process. However, some experts believe that certain vintage Champagnes can develop more complexity over time after corking.
When storing Champagne at home, aim to replicate the Champagne’s original environment as much as possible. However, these are often deep, underground cellars so it may not be easy. In short, you need a dark, humid and cool place for your Champagne.
Should You Store Champagne Horizontally Or Vertically?
There has been a lot of debate whether Champagne should be stored vertically or horizontally. Most wines must be kept horizontally so that the cork stays humid from the wine’s contact. Otherwise, the cork can dry up and contract, which loses the seal and spoils the wine.
However, some experts argue that due to the internal pressure, Champagne is best stored upright. They claim that the carbon dioxide inside the bottle keeps the bottle sufficiently moist. In fact, they go further and suggest that horizontal storage causes Champagne to age too quickly and even provoke cork taint. This is because Champagne corks feature extreme elasticity, which can be lost in contact with liquid and cause oxygen to seep in.
The CIVC (Comité Interprofessionnel du Vin de Champagne) conducted extensive research on the matter in 1996 and supported this claim. However, their official site still recommends that Champagne should be stored horizontally.
Store At A Cool, Constant Temperature
Keeping the Champagne cool is ideal but it’s more important that the environment’s temperature is consistent. Heat spikes wreak havoc with Champagne and cause temperature fluctuations within the bottle.
A brief increase during transport is less of a problem. However, if the Champagne is kept somewhere that heats up over summer, the bottle’s contents will expand. This may cause the Champagne to creep up the side of the corks, break the seal and turn the wine into a flat vinegar. Similarly, avoid draughts, which can fluctuate both temperature and humidity.
Keep Away From Direct Light
Champagne is also much more sensitive to light than other wines, which is why it is often kept in such dark glass. Excessive light causes “lightstrike”, which leaves a taste that the French refer to as “goût de lumière”.
Therefore, it’s important to keep it away from direct sunlight and ideally in complete darkness. If no solution is available, simply wrap the bottle in something that screens the bottle such as aluminium foil.
Check The Humidity
Even with the bottle lying horizontally, the cork can dry from the outside. Therefore, it’s important to ensure that the room is relatively dank or humid. However, this can swing both ways. If the environment is too humid, the cork can get mouldy and disintegrate.
Short-Term Champagne Storage
- Maximum Storage Time: 1 Month
As a general rule, the principles for lengthy storage above apply even for the short-term. However, some corners can be cut without putting the wine’s quality at risk. If the Champagne is to be consumed shortly after purchase, it can be kept in the fridge for up to a month.
In fact, Champagnes are best stored upright regardless if they are to be quickly consumed. The above debate doesn’t apply in these circumstances. The pressure within the bottle is more than sufficient to keep the cork moist in the short term.
Furthermore, a fridge’s interior is dark enough not to damage the wine. Most fridges today also feature dehumidifiers to reduce mould. Nevertheless, in the time between storing and drinking, this won’t present a problem for the Champagne.
However, remember that a fridge’s interior is often too cold as an appropriate serving temperature for Champagne. If you are serving it right out of the fridge, let it rest at room temperature for 15 minutes before opening.
If you ever change your mind and choose to save the Champagne for another time, it’s never too late to put it into long-term storage. However, to maintain the wine’s health, don’t keep it in the fridge longer than a month.
Best Overall Storage Conditions
- Temperature: 10-12°C (50°F – 53.6°F)
- Position: Horizontal
- Humidity: High (ideally 70%)
- Light Level: Low
How To Store Champagne After Opening
Unlike other wines, Champagne is notoriously difficult to store. Not only do you have to take into account oxidisation, but you also have the release of carbon dioxide, which creates bubbles. Eventually, Champagne loses its bubbles and the pleasure that comes with it. Nevertheless, it’s perfectly fine to drink flat but it will just be a pale shadow of its previous form.
However, there are short-term storage solutions to retain some sparkle if you don’t finish the bottle. That said, whatever solution you opt for will only preserve some fizz for no more than 3 days.
First and foremost, you should always put your Champagne back in the fridge. Carbon dioxide is more reactive in higher temperatures so more bubbles will produce when its warm. Colder temperatures will cause them to become more inert and you’ll be able to preserve that fizz for later.
Hermetic Champagne Stopper
- Storage Length: 3 Days
- Price: Under $10
Stoppers are the best choice for storing Champagne after opening as they create a real seal. However, normal wine stoppers won’t do the job correctly. Firstly, pumped stoppers contain a valve, which sucks the air out. Instead, we need to keep the air in and slow down the process of carbon dioxide release. Similarly, stoppers that you simply push in aren’t very efficient either as they may pop out overnight with the build up of pressure.
As a matter of fact, you are best using a hinged hermetic stopper. These press down on the bottle’s opening and create a seal whilst the hinge wraps around the rim to prevent it coming undone. There are a number of options available to try and they’re fortunately all relatively good value.
Firstly, avoid the stoppers with two hinges that just hook onto the rim. They wear easily and soon don’t keep their hold under pressure. Furthermore, many others with fixed hinges don’t seem to universally fit all sparkling wine bottles and tend to lose their seal.
Overall, Fante’s Aunt Vittorina’s Champagne stopper appears to perform the most efficiently. It’s said to be made in Italy so is presumably designed for Prosecco. However, it appears to perform remarkably well on most Champagne bottles. Furthermore, it’s only $6.79 on Amazon.com at the time of writing this article.
Be sure that you choose one that works well. The build up of pressure can cause the stoppers to become projectiles and cause injuries when they shoot off at unfortunate moments.
DIY Storage Solutions
- Storage Length: 2 Days
- Price: A Bottle Of Wine [Free]
Once a Champagne cork regains its original shape, it becomes too large to push back in. Alternatively, keep a used wine cork close to hand and simply use this to create a seal. Sometimes the edges may need cutting into a point to help squeeze it in but otherwise, wine corks fit best.
However, just be careful where you leave the Champagne. A wine cork holds well but can risk shooting out under the intense pressure from the carbon dioxide.
Rubber Band & Balloon / Cling Film
- Storage Length: 1.5 Days
- Price: Free
If you have neither a stopper or used cork, you can simply MacGyver yourself a seal with odds and ends around the kitchen. Ideally, a balloon works best as the rubber is quite durable. Alternatively, a sheet of plastic or several layers of cling film could work.
Simply wrap these over the bottle’s rim and tightly place a rubber band to create a seal. It isn’t perfect and they may well expand overnight but it is better than nothing. Nevertheless, consider finishing the Champagne the next day at the very latest.
- Storage Length: 1 Day
- Price: Varies
There is a lot of debate as to whether the silver spoon trick actually works. However, those who support it often say that the bottle should be at least 2/3 full. The idea is that the spoon acts as a conductor and transfers the fridge’s cold air into the Champagne below. This is said to cool the Champagne even further and reduce the production of carbon dioxide.
Nevertheless, there have been countless studies as to whether this actually works. Even the CIVC (Comité Interprofessionnel du vin de Champagne) tested this in 1995. The chemists who studied the effects of a silver spoon concluded that it made almost no difference than thin air. However, other studies suggest that it did indeed work.
- Storage Length: 1 Day
- Price: Free
Worst case scenario, you have nothing to create any form of seal. Well, fear not. Many experts believe that as long as your fridge is cold enough, there should still be some bubbles the next day. It’s not perfect and the Champagne will have lost some effervescence, but it will be perfectly drinkable.
Having now read how long to store Champagne, consider also learning the best temperatures for serving or even how to open the bottle correctly! You can also visit our Champagne Homepage where we cover everything you need to know about Champagne.