Popping a bottle of champagne is associated with special occasions and celebrations. Maybe you have a bottle stashed away waiting for that anniversary, graduation, or just a rainy day! But how long can you store champagne for, and how long will it last once opened? Does champagne ever go bad?
Champagne doesn’t go rancid, but it will lose some of its essential bubbliness over time. Consuming flat champagne rather defies the whole purpose of drinking it, so in a way, it can go bad.
Regular champagne can last unopened for around three to four years – while vintage champagne has double the shelf life.
The best way to enjoy all of the bubbles in champagne is to finish the bottle during the celebration it was opened for! If that’s not possible, be aware that your opened bottle of champagne will start to go flat within forty-eight hours.
Shelf Life Of Champagne
Champagne is a crisp, white wine loaded with bubbles. True champagne is made using the Champagne Method. The wine is fermented in vats and then fermented again in the bottle to build up carbon dioxide bubbles. These bubbles make champagne “pop” when the bottle is opened.
Bottles of champagne can be aged for ten to fifteen years.
Magnums of champagne provide the most consistent aging opportunity and will mature into a wine with fine, long-lasting bubbles. The flavor complexities of champagne sealed in a magnum can mature for two or three decades when properly stored.
Vintage champagne and non-vintage champagne have different shelf lives. Vintage champagne is unique because it was crafted using grapes from only a single year’s harvest, whereas non-vintage champagne uses grapes harvested in different years.
Vintage champagne is higher quality and therefore more expensive. If your bottle of champagne has a year printed on the label, that means it’s a vintage bottle.
Although sparkling wine is similar to champagne, there are differences during the production and bottling processes that give slightly different qualities. Before opening, sparkling wine has a similar expected shelf life as non-vintage champagne – around three or four years. But after opening, it will go flat in one or two days.
SEE ALSO: Does Wine Go Bad?
How Long Does Champagne Last Once Opened?
Once champagne is opened, oxidation will start to alter its flavor. Additionally, champagne loses its bubbly quality within just a couple of days once the cork is removed.
With both vintage and non-vintage champagnes, consume as soon as possible for the most delicious fizz. Estimates give three to five days maximum before your champagne runs out of bubbles.
How Long Does Champagne Last Unopened?
While still sealed, champagne can be stored for several years.
Vintage champagne will stay good for five to ten years after purchase when stored correctly. Non-vintage champagne will only retain its best qualities for three or four years after purchase.
If stored properly, your champagne should be bubbly and delicious upon opening. The thrill of champagne flavor is carried by the bubbles, so don’t let it go flat!
How To Tell If Champagne Is Bad
Unfortunately, there’s no way to tell if champagne has gone flat without opening the bottle. Although it doesn’t technically go bad, it does go flat – which means it’s as good as expired – champagne without bubbles is like chocolate without cocoa!
Old champagne will undergo the following changes:
- Bubbles – champagne is designed to be super bubbly. If you open a bobble and there’s not much of a ‘pop’, or there is little to no fizz left, it’s too old to be enjoyed.
- Flavor – young champagne should have a bright, citrusy quality. Over time, the flavors become more mellow and may start to taste richer with more of a yeasty flavor.
What Happens If You Drink Bad Champagne?
Champagne can’t go bad unless somehow you stored it terribly wrong with an open lid and it became contaminated with substances that can go moldy. If this is the case, it will be very obvious and you won’t inadvertently consume it!
Drinking old champagne is perfectly safe, but not very satisfying or enjoyable.
How To Store Champagne
Storing champagne in the fridge for long periods can impact its flavor. The environment inside a fridge tends to be rather dry – which can cause the cork to dry out, loosen, and speed up oxidization of the champagne.
- For long-term storage, keep champagne and sparkling wine in a cool place out of direct sunlight. Choose somewhere that has a consistent temperature. If you want it cold for serving, pop it in the fridge a day or two before you plan to use it, or get fancy by using an ice bucket.
- For short-term storage, we recommend keeping your champagne bottles standing upright. But for long-term storage, particularly for vintage wines, you should store them on their side to prevent the cork from drying out.
Temperature fluctuations can rapidly cause your champagne or sparkling wine to deteriorate. The best long-term storage temperatures for champagne are between 40 and 50 degrees Fahrenheit (7 to 10 degrees Celsius).
Always keep champagne away from light as this causes it to oxidize and can damage the flavor. Most high-quality champagnes are bottled in dark green or black bottles.
Once uncorked, a regular cork will not provide a good seal for a bottle of champagne. In fact, the carbonation may blow a regular cork out of the bottle.
To help your bubbly stay that way, consider investing in a bubble stopper. These hinged tools allow you to seal the bottle from the outside, keeping bubbles in and oxidizing air out.
Keep your champagne cold to maintain flavor and fizz. Another option instead of using a hinged stopper is to insert a long-handled metal spoon into the bottle neck.
This metal spoon will hold the cool temperature of the refrigerator and lower the temperature of the wine from inside the bottle. Of course, this makes it impossible to cork or seal to keep in the bubbles, so is not a long-term solution.
Can you put champagne in the freezer? For rapid chilling, 15 minutes in the freezer will work, but be prepared to keep an eye on it. Freezing it may cause the cork to blow or the bottle to shatter.
Serving Temperature Of Champagne
Vintage champagnes are those printed with a year on the label. These aged champagnes should be served at a slightly higher temperature.
The flavors of vintage champagne will bloom if it’s served between 54 and 57 degrees Fahrenheit / 12 and 14 degrees Celsius.
Non-vintage champagnes and sparkling wines offer their brightest flavor at 40 to 45 degrees Fahrenheit / 4 to 7 degrees Celsius.