Do you know if champagne should be stored on its side or upright? this is one of the questions our readers ask a lot. Well, we´ve got you covered.
Champagne has helped us celebrate all of life’s special moments from weddings and engagements to job promotions.
Champagne is used to ceremoniously baptize ships before they set sail and many savor vintage champagne collections.
For those who can wait a few years, we have some tips on the best way to store champagne.
So, should champagne be stored on its side? Yes, you should store champagne on its side since the pressure inside the bottle will keep the cork moist and the seal intact in either case. However, for any period longer than a month, champagne should be stored on its side (horizontally) and should be stored away from sunlight and at a constant temperature between 50-and 59-degrees Fahrenheit.
For champagne stored less than a month, leaving it upright is fine as long as it is stored away from daylight and kept at a temperature above freezing (36°F) and below room temperature.
For those who always like to keep a bottle of bubbly on standby, it’s worth noting there are some tried and tested methods for storing champagne.
Let’s take a look at some tips to ensure your party or celebration has plenty of fizz!
Table of Contents
Why should champagne be stored on its side?
Like any wine that is sealed using a traditional cork, it is best to store wine and champagne on its side to prevent the cork from drying out.
If the cork dries out too much, this can cause premature oxidation which often leads to your wine or champagne being undrinkable.
Most experienced wine collectors agree that bottles should be stored horizontally or at an inclined angle of around -15 degrees.
This ensures that the cork is covered by the wine or champagne in the bottle and prevents the cork from drying out.
Short-term champagne storage
If you’re just storing your champagne for a few weeks to allow it to settle before opening, then storing champagne upright is totally fine.
This is also the case for champagnes that are sealed using plastic corks (although these non-vintage types of champagne will definitely have a shorter shelf life).
Best tips to store champagne
The best place to store your champagne depends on how long it is being stored.
If you’re planning to stock up for the festive season and only need to store it for a month, then storing champagne upright in a cool, dark space is ideal.
If you’re looking for a more long-term storage option, it may be time to invest in a cellar or dedicated wine fridge.
While it’s not necessary to store champagne in a cellar or wine fridge for shorter periods of time, a cellar or adequate storage fridge will certainly help preserve your champagne collection for the long term.
Over the years, many have tried and failed with cellar conditions and nowadays, there’s plenty of information available for setting up the ideal cellar conditions.
Exposure to light destroys wine and champagne and all storage spaces should be away from bright light.
Small amounts of ambient light that do not have ultraviolet light is OK and will not affect wine or champagne.
Temperature is a big consideration when storing wine or champagne.
A constant temperature of around 45°F to 65°F is ideal for storing champagne for longer periods of time, with many agreeing that 55°F is the ideal temperature setting to maintain champagne longevity.
Anything over 70°F is said to be too warm and likely to degrade the wine.
If you’re looking to store champagne for under a month, then it’s fine to store it at or below room temperature (70°F), just so long as the temperature does not dive below freezing (32°F).
Never store an unopened bottle of champagne in the refrigerator until it’s ready to be chilled.
Never (ever!) chill champagne in the freezer as this will destroy the bubbles and dull its flavor and aroma from the champagne.
A cellar storage space should not be exposed to fluctuating humidity levels as this can be detrimental to wines stored.
A constant humidity level of 60-70% is ideal. If a cellar becomes too humid, it can cause the labels of wine to swell or stain.
The cork can also absorb the excess moisture and encourage a buildup of mold, which in turn can cause wine or champagne to spoil.
The angle that wine and champagne are stored is also important.
Most experts agree that for long term storage, you should equip your cellar with racks that allow your bottles to be stored horizontally or inverted slightly downward (around a -15 degree angle is sufficient).
This angling of the bottles prevents the cork from drying out.
Bottle size matters a great deal when maturing champagne and it’s important to choose the right bottle size carefully.
The reason is complex but to summarize is due to the ratio between wine and surface area; the slower the maturing process, the finer the flow of bubbles.
- Half-bottles are very difficult to age as they mature erratically.
- Full-size bottles (75cl) age well at a moderate rate when they are stored on their sides and within the preferred cellar conditions.
- Magnum bottles (1.5 litres) are ideal for maturing and offer the best results.
How long can champagne be stored?
All champagne producers will have stored their product for their desired period of time to reach the required level of maturity before it is released.
If you can wait a little longer, it’s always a good idea to store your champagne (upright) at least for a few weeks before serving.
This will allow your champagne to settle and will help restore its molecular harmony.
Unopened champagne can be stored anywhere from months to several years if stored in the right conditions, but be warned, not all champagne is created equal and most should be consumed within 10 years.
- Non-vintage champagne can be stored for up to 3-4 years.
- Vintage champagne can be stored between 5 and 10 years.
In the short term, it’s totally fine to store your champagne upright, just make sure it’s stored below room temp and away from ambient light as much as possible.
If you’re planning to mature your champagne for the long term, champagne is best stored on its side and with the correct cellar conditions.
55°F is the ideal temperature, and humidity levels should be around 60-70%. Most importantly, it is best to store your champagne in the dark or with little ambient light.
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