Does Champagne Go Bad? How Long Does It Last?So you still have that bottle of champagne lying in your fridge from last year’s New Year party? Or perhaps you’re wondering whether you can still drink that bottle that you cracked open last week in celebration of your birthday? The question is, does champagne go bad and how long does champagne last? The last thing you would want to do is throw out those bubblies if it is still fine to drink. That would certainly be a waste wouldn’t it?
The answer is that in most cases you are going to be fine but whether it has expires depends predominantly on two main factors. One factor is whether it is a vintage champagne or not, and the other is how you have stored it and whether it has been refrigerated or is just stored on your wine rack.
|Vintage Champagne||3-5 days (cool and dry place & re-corked)||5-10 years from purchase|
|Non-Vintage Champagne||3-5 days (cool and dry place & re-corked)||3-4 years from purchase|
What in the World Is a Vintage Champagne and How Do I Know if I Have One?
It’s actually quite simple; A Vintage Champagne is simply one that was made from the grapes of only one year’s harvest, while a Non-Vintage Champagne is one that was made from the grapes of numerous years. The former is generally higher quality and will also be more expensive than the latter.
In order to find out whether you have a Vintage or Non-Vintage (and how much the person you received the bottle from loves you), all you have to do is to look at the front label and look for a year, as this is the year from which grapes the champagne was produced. All Vintage Champagnes will have this year displayed on the label, while the Non-Vintage Champagnes will not.
How Long Does Champagne Last When the Bottle Has Been Opened and Refrigerated?
This is something I can’t say I’ve encountered often myself since once a Champagne bottle is opened in my house, it will be finished in a matter of hours and never makes its way back to the refrigerator (yes, we may have a drinking problem). Having said that, once you have opened a bottle it’s perfectly fine to keep it for another 3-5 days in the refrigerator – or so I’ve heard. It doesn’t really matter whether it is a Vintage or Non-Vintage. The trick is to make sure that you re-seal the bottle after you have opened it so that the bubbles remain for as long as possible.
How Do I Seal the Bottle After I Have Opened It? Use a Champagne Sealer!Sometimes it can be hard to put the cork back in, so a perfect way of making sure the carbonation remains is by using a nifty little Champagne Sealer like the one on the right before putting it into the fridge. This bad boy made out of stainless steel creates a seal that is airtight and leakproof so that you can store your bottle horizontally in the fridge should you wish to do so. It also makes for a pretty cool gift for those who enjoy the occasional glass (ahem.. bottle) of champagne!
Does Champagne Go Bad When It Is Unopened and Refrigerated or Cellared?
Unfortunately, Champagne does eventually go bad even if you have kept it unopened in the refrigerator (or in a cool and dry place), but it will take a number of years before that happens. This doesn’t mean it’s no longer safe to drink, it just means that it will lose its lovely bubblies.
For Vintage Champagnes you will generally have around 5-10 years before it starts to lose its fizz. Please note that this is from the date of purchase, and not from the date of Vintage that is displayed on the label of your bottle. Vintage Champagnes are typically aged in cellars for around 4 to 5 years before they hit the shelves.
Non-Vintage Champagnes will expire a little more quickly after around 3-4 years after purchase and are aged for 2 to 3 years before that before they are available for sale. The real question is… what are you doing keeping champagne in your fridge that long without drinking it?! Open that bottle already!
Does Champagne Get Better as it Ages?
The general consensus is that, unlike red wines, Champagne does not get better with age after you have purchased it. This is especially true with Non-Vintage Champagnes. The reason is that if you leave it for too long, it will lose its bubbles. Isn’t that what ultimately makes Champagne so special? Champagne is typically ready to drink as soon as you buy it, and will normally have been aged for the appropriate number of years already beforehand.
Having said that, some argue that there are some Vintage Champagnes that do get better with age, as long as they are stored in a cool and dry place. Some can be aged for as much as 20 years and develop a more complex flavor and aroma profile. It is likely that most of the fizz would have disappeared at that stage though. I certainly wouldn’t have the patience to wait that long!
What is the Best Way to Store Champagne If I Don’t Plan On Opening It Immediately?
Proper storage of Champagne is essential if you’re not planning on drinking it for a while and want to save it for a later date. Not only will it ensure that it tastes great once you do decide to drink it, it will also extend its shelf life.
The best way to store Champagne is in a refrigerator or a wine fridge. This is especially important if you purchased the Champagne refrigerated since you would want to keep it at as constant of a temperature as possible. This will ensure the most consistent quality. If you’re considering buying a wine cooler we have put together a review of some of the best here. If you already have access to a wine cellar or another cool and dry place with a consistent temperature, this is another great place to store Champagne.