Does Champagne Go Bad? And How To Store It.

Everyone loves a deliciously crisp glass of bubbly, especially in a time of celebration. However, you still have an unopened bottle or two leftover from last Christmas and want to keep it for next year’s Christmas dinner. But will the Champagne last until then? Does Champagne go bad?

Champagne can last a long time if it is stored properly. Champagne can go “bad” in the sense of losing its effervescence, which can affect the Champagne’s overall texture, taste, and smell. “Bad” Champagne isn’t dangerous to drink, but it is not as good as a fresh bottle of bubbly.

If you want to store your Champagne or have a bottle that you have had for quite some time and are wondering if it can go or has gone bad, you’ve come to the right place.

This article will discuss the possibility of Champagne going bad and how you can extend its shelf (or refrigerator) life.

Does Champagne Go Bad?

“Though Champagne doesn’t go bad in that it won’t become dangerous to drink, it can quickly lose its signature character once opened. Whenever possible, drink Champagne the day you open it.” ~ Goddu, The Insider.

How To Tell If Champagne Is Bad?

There are various ways to tell if Champagne has gone bad.

Since it is intended to be a carbonated drink, one of the first signs would be if the bubbly texture is missing.

Though it might not taste bad, a Champagne just isn’t the same without bubbles.

Many chefs use flat Champagne for cooking instead of drinking because it can add a wonderful flavor to certain dishes such as risotto.

You can also tell if a Champagne has gone bad by the complete lack of effervescence before you have even opened the bottle.

If the Champagne is flat before opening, the chances are good that it will have a musty or sour taste and smell once opened.

Unfortunately, in this case, though not harmful to drink, the Champagne has lost most, if not all, of its magic.

Does Unopened Champagne Age Well?

Unlike a good bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon or Pinotage that develops more depth of flavor and increases in value when aged for many years, Champagne doesn’t age as well, especially not non-vintage Champagne. 

The difference is that red wines do not have bubbles that add to the flavor of the wine, whereas Champagne can lose its effervescence over time which ultimately lowers its quality.

Some believe that, if stored properly, Vintage Champagne can become better with age, but that comes down to personal preference. 

Some reports of Champagne left to age for 20 years resulted in a more complex aroma and flavor profile.

But the truth is you do not need to age Champagne because the makers appropriately age it before it is sold to the public for consumption.

How To Store Champagne

How you store Champagne plays a big role in how long the Champagne will last.

There is a difference in the way you should store unopened and opened Champagne, such as;

How To Store Opened Champagne

In most cases, Champagne is opened on a celebratory occasion like at a birthday party, a work promotion, or on New Year’s Eve. During such occasions, people do not tend to open a bottle of Champagne and not finish the entire bottle. 

However, if you have some leftover and don’t want to waste it (as Champagne is rather expensive), you can seal the bottle with a Champagne stopper. 

Using a Champagne stopper allows you a day or two to enjoy the bottle before the bubbles start to disappear and the taste of the Champagne starts to change.

It won’t be quite as nice as a freshly opened bottle, but it will still have a great taste.

How To Store Unopened Champagne

If unopened Champagne is stored correctly, it is less likely to go bad. The best way to store unopened Champagne is on its side in a cellar, out of direct sunlight, at 50 to 55 degrees Fahrenheit.

Placing the bottle on its side prevents the cork from drying out, which will cause the Champagne to oxidize, and ultimately compromise the quality and taste of the contents.

Do You Refrigerate Champagne?

Keeping unopened Champagne chilled at all times seems like the best thing to do, right? Wrong.

Though it is possible to store unopened Champagne in a refrigerator, there are three main reasons why you should never store it in there for more than a week.

First, refrigerators are very humid, and the humidity can cause the cork to shrivel up and become crumbly.

Second, each time you open the door, the refrigerator’s light goes on. This constant light can affect the composition and character of the Champagne immensely.

Last, when placed in a refrigerator, the Champagne is exposed to a subtle yet constant vibration that can cause the bubbles to disappear over time.

Do Vintage & Non-Vintage Champagne Have The Same Shelf Life?

Vintage Champagne consists of grapes from the same harvest year, whereas non-vintage Champagne is made from grapes harvested from different harvest years.

An unopened, non-vintage Champagne can last about 3 to 4 years and, once opened, if stored in a cool, dry place and resealed, can last about 3 to 5 days.

An unopened vintage Champagne has a 5 to 10 years shelf life and can last 3 to 5 days after opening if it is sealed and stored in a cool, dry place.

How To Open Champagne

To open a Champagne bottle, follow these easy step-by-step instructions;

  1. Hold your thumb firmly on the top of the cork and untwist the wire loop slowly to loosen the wire cage.
  2. Grip the bottle (preferably with your non-dominant hand), position the base of the bottle against your hip, grip the cork firmly with your free hand and carefully remove the wire cage.
  3. Grip the cork and with the base still resting on your hip, start to turn the bottle anticlockwise using your free hand. The cork will start to move upward out of the neck. 
  4. If you want a dramatic popping effect, use the tip of your thumb to shoot it off. 
  5. If you are indoors and around things that can break, keep maneuvering the cork outward until it softly pops out into your hand.
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How Much Alcohol Is In Champagne?

Champagne contains approximately 12.2% alcohol, depending on the type of Champagne.

Some can be lower and some higher than 12.2%.

It is also important to remember that carbonated alcoholic beverages intoxicate you much quicker than flat alcoholic drinks.

How Many Glasses Of Champagne In A Bottle?

A standard 750ml bottle of Champagne contains 5 to 6 glasses depending on the amount of each pour.

Generally, a glass of Champagne is 150ml, in which case you will get a total of 5 glasses per bottle.

Is Champagne Gluten Free?

Just like Prosecco and sparkling wine, Champagne is naturally gluten-free.

Almost all wines are free of gluten.

The only time Champagne contains gluten is through cross-contamination during the packaging and processing of the wine. This could include;

  • Using recycled barrels that were used for malt-based beverages.
  • Wheat-based pastes – used for ceiling barrels.
  • Glutenous material that is still involved in wine production.

Conclusion

Champagne is one of those little things in life to enjoy. The art and delicate care that goes into the making of each bottle is very special and should be used for what it was intended for; enjoyment with friends and family.

The next time you have a little bit of Champagne left over, try the methods and suggestions from this article to prevent your Champagne from going “bad.” Jouir!