Champagne is undoubtedly one of the most popular drinks in the world, with people toasting a glass of celebratory bubbles at weddings, parties, birthdays and special events.
The UK is the largest export market for Champagne – we drink about 38 million bottles each year!
A history of champagne
Champagne hails from north eastern France, in the Champagne region, and was first made by the famous Dom Perignon in 1693.
Perignon worked in the Abbey of Hautvillers in Champagne, and was responsible for the production, aging and storage of the Abbey’s wines. He was tasked with ridding the Abbey’s wines of bubbles but was unable to do so. It wasn’t until trying this sparkling wine that he realised how good it tasted – and thus champagne was born!
Nowadays, there are many different types of champagne the most popular are:
- Blanc de Blancs – a white champagne made from Chardonnay grapes
- Blanc de Noirs – a white champagne made from red Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier grapes
- Brut – a very dry champagne made with minimal sugar
- Vintage – a champagne that has been made by grapes harvested in one single year. They are aged for longer and the most expensive champagne you can buy.
But, how can you store champagne at home to make sure it stays fresh, crisp and delicious? Here are our five top tips!
How to store champagne
It’s important to store champagne correctly to ensure the quality of the wine is maintained and not impaired in any way. Our top tips on storing champagne are:
1. Store in a cool, dry and dark place
Champagne should be stored in a cool environment at constant temperatures, so store your bottles in a cool, dry and dark place. Ideally this will be a wine cellar or basement, but a pantry or wine rack in a cool room in your home will suffice.
Fluctuations in temperature are incredibly damaging to champagne, so avoid storing the bottles in your kitchen or outside in the garage or shed.
2. Keep away from sunlight
Champagne is incredibly susceptible to light, and too much exposure to direct sunlight will really impair the taste. It is therefore advisable to keep your champagne bottles in the dark when possible.
3. Lay the bottles horizontally
When storing your champagne, you should lay the bottles down horizontally. If kept upright, the cork could dry out and deteriorate, spoiling the champagne. Kept on its side, and the cork will remain moist and the bottle will last longer.
4. Don’t store your champagne forever
One of the main benefits of champagne is that it has already been aged properly before being sold, so it doesn’t need to be stored for years and years before it can be enjoyed.
Generally, non-vintage champagnes shouldn’t be stored any longer than four years, while vintage champagnes shouldn’t be stored any longer than ten years after purchase.
And remember, the taste and flavour of champagne will alter the longer you store it!
5. Chill before serving
When it’s time to pop open the bottle, you should always chill your champagne. Champagne is always best served cold, and we’d recommend you chill the bottle in the fridge for a couple hours, or in an ice bucket for an hour or so before serving.
Still have questions on how to store champagne? Take a look at our frequently asked questions below.
Is it OK to store champagne in the fridge?
It is fine to store champagne in the fridge short-term, ideally just before serving.
Long-term storage in a fridge is not recommended however. The constant opening and shutting of the fridge door will only disturb the bubbles, and it will become far too cold when it comes to serving.
How do you store unopened champagne?
As mentioned above, unopened champagne is best kept in a wine cellar, basement or wine rack in a cool, dark and dry place in the home. Once opened, you should store in a fridge.
How long can you store a bottle of champagne?
Vintage champagne maintains its quality between five and ten years after purchase, and non-vintage champagnes are fine to drink until three of four years after buying. Champagne is fine to drink straight after purchase, but don’t exceed the dates stated above as the taste will be tainted.
How do you know when champagne goes bad?
Most people don’t realise champagne can go bad – but it really can! If the cork has been dried out the champagne will start to spoil, or simply if it has been left in the sun for prolonged periods of time.
If champagne has gone bad, it will smell sour and taste ‘off’. You’ll be able to tell, and if it has spoiled then you’ll need to get rid of it.
If you have a few bottles that you’d like to keep safe for a special occasion, do get in touch – our storage units are cool, dark and dry, just perfect for champagne. Just click here for a quote or call us on 0800 404 6969.