champagne shelf life

Champagne Shelf Life: Can It Go Bad?

Champagne is a celebratory drink rather than something you usually enjoy daily. So, when the festive months are over, you end up with extra bottles of champagne. How long can you keep champagne?

Perhaps, you had a half-full bottle from your birthday party last week. At this point, you’re wondering: How long can you keep champagne after opening? Does champagne go bad?

Either way, it’s frustrating just to think of wasting good alcohol, like champagne. Let alone if it costs a small fortune.

No worries! In this article, we share the essential details on how to keep your champagne bubbly, its shelf life, and common signs of going bad. Sounds like what you’re looking for? Read on!

How To Store Champagne

Champagne is a variety of sparkling wines – or bubbly wines. Many people use the word champagne as a generic term for sparkling wines. But, not all sparkling wines are champagne. Prosecco and Cava are also sparkling wines, but these are not champagne.

To be legally named champagne, the sparkling wine has to be produced in the Champagne region of France. The production methods adhere to rigorous appellation rules, from how to grow the grapes, to harvesting, and to the fermentation process.

In short, champagne is made following méthode champenoise with two-step fermentation.

The first fermentation turns grapes juice into the wine. The second fermentation takes place after the wine is bottled during which the yeasts produce carbon dioxide that cannot escape the bottle and create a carbonation effect.

As a type of wine, storing champagne is no different from storing other wines. Of course, a wine cellar would be the perfect storage. But, not everybody can afford such a luxury. You should follow the golden rules of champagne storage:

1. Constant temperature and the right humidity

According to Comité Champagne, the ideal temperature is around 50 °F (or 10 °C). If this is difficult, try to keep it at a maximum temperature of 59 °F (or 15 °C).

Champagne also likes humidity of around 60 to 70%. Too much moisture supports mold growth on the label, affects the cork, and ultimately the wine itself.

2. Find a dark area, protected from heat, lights, and vibrations.

Heat, lights, and vibrations are real enemies to champagne that alter the taste and flavor. Generally speaking, storing champagne next to a window, above a refrigerator, or near an oven is never a good idea.

3. Place the bottles on the side.

First thing first. Champagne is ready to drink once it’s out of the producer’s cellars—no need to age it at home.

If you plan to drink it shortly (say within a month), you can keep the bottle upright. But, if you plan to keep it longer (maybe wait for the perfect occasion), place the bottle horizontally to keep the cork moist.

A dark kitchen cupboard or pantry works well for short-term storage. However, if you buy champagne from time to time, it’s best to invest in a wine rack or a wine cooler. It doesn’t have to be fancy, but it should provide proper conditions for your collection.

Champagne can be costly, so adequate storage at least helps you ensure that you won’t waste your money.

After opening, you should keep the bottle in the refrigerator. Make sure it’s sealed tightly. Use a champagne sealer or at least cover it with aluminum foil or plastic wrap, in case you lost the cork.

How Do You Tell If Champagne Has Gone Bad?

Although going bad as in typical food spoilage is very rare, champagne certainly declines in terms of quality. While initial quality matters, storage conditions at your home are also crucial.

With unopened bottles, there is practically no other way to know if the champagne is still great until you pop the cork. If it didn’t pop, that’s already an alarming sign.

Give it a thorough check, and you should be able to tell if champagne has passed its prime from its visual, smell, and taste.

1. Losing its fizz. It’s the fizz that makes champagne, champagne. So, if it’s no longer fizzy and bubbly, chances are it won’t taste that great anymore.

2. Discoloration. Good champagne is clear, light gold, or pale yellow. If it turns darks, oxidation has gone too far and turns it darker.

3. Acidic smell and taste. Continuous fermentation develops a sour, vinegar-like odor.

So, what can you do with bad champagne? No worries, you can still salvage it from going to waste. You can either use it up to make white wine sauce or turn it into vinegar.

How Long Does Champagne Last?

The champagne’s shelf life depends on at least two factors, whether it is vintage or non-vintage and its storage.

We can find two classes of champagne in the market—vintage and non-vintage.

Vintage champagne is made of grapes from a single harvest and typically aged for at least 3 years, with the year of harvest displayed on the bottle. Meanwhile, non-vintage one is made from multiple harvests and aged for a minimum of 15 months.

As you’ve guessed, vintage champagne is premium quality and costs much more than the non-vintage one. Vintage champagne also lasts much longer, up to 5 to 10 years after purchase, compared to 3 to 4 years of non-vintage ones.

Champagne certainly doesn’t last as long as hard liquors (like tequila or rum) once a bottle is opened. It is best to drink on the same day to have the peak carbonation. In case you have leftovers, keep it sealed and chilled.

No matter if it’s vintage or not, champagne remains in its peak quality for only 3 to 5 days.

Champagne typesA wine cellar or keep at 55 – 59ºFRefrigerator
Non-vintage (unopened)3 to 4 years
Non-vintage (opened)3 to 5 days
Vintage (unopened)5 to 10 years
Vintage (opened)3 to 5 days

This table serves as a general estimate. The actual shelf life depends on the quality and storage conditions.


Can you get sick from drinking old champagne?

From microbiological perspectives, studies found that wine has a low risk of microbial safety risk. Most harmful bacteria causing food poisoning don’t grow in wine—assumed you store it correctly. So, the chance of getting food poisoning is also slim. However, if you’re in doubt, it’s better to stay on the safe side.

Does champagne improve with age?

Yes and no. High quality, vintage champagne can get better with age, subject to optimal storage conditions. However, inexpensive sparkling wine or champagne is best to drink within a few years. It has been aged in the producer’s cellars and is ready to enjoy right away.

Does champagne need to be refrigerated?

Champagne does not eventually go bad even if left unrefrigerated. It takes years for an unopened bottle of champagne to go bad. However, refrigeration can be done before serving, and once the bottle has been opened.

Final Thoughts

Champagne doesn’t go bad easily, given optimal storage conditions. It degrades in terms of quality, such as losing its fizziness or a flat taste. Worse scenario, it turns darker and smells acidic.

Vintage champagne can be kept for 5 to 10 years, but non-vintage one should be enjoyed within a few years. A wine cellar is the best option for long-term storage. Other than that, a cool, dark place, out of heat and light is fine for short-term storage.

After opening, try to finish it within the same day, or keep for 3 to 5 days maximum in the fridge, regardless if it’s vintage or not.

Up Next: How long does wine last?

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