So you have your lovely bottles of champagne... but how do you best store them? Let us tell you all about it…
First of all - by design, champagne is matured to perfection in the producer’s cellars before they get released so they can be enjoyed straightaway. Despite the popular misconception, there is no need to store champagne to make it ‘better’. If you feel like enjoying them now, we highly recommend that you do.
However if you do want to save a few bottles, great Champagnes can safely be set aside for anything from a few months to a few years IF they are stored properly.
We know how tempting it can be to have your champagne out on a shelf looking all pretty and decorative, however that may not be best for the champagne if not intended to be consumed immediately.
There are a few golden rules for champagne storage:
- Keep bottles away from bright light
- Store them lying down on their side
- Try to store your champagne in a cool place where the temperature is relatively constant
Why should we keep champagne away from bright light?
Champagne is particularly vulnerable to lightstrike, that ’taste of light’ that comes from excessive exposure to light and ultraviolet light in particular. To avoid this, simply keep your bottles in dark, shady spots. If you don’t have a dark area, you can protect them from the light by screening them with tinted glass or wrapping them in yellow cellophane or aluminium foil. If you’re particularly into your lighting - you may also want to note also that sodium vapour lights are less harmful to wine than fluorescent or conventional lighting, which should be avoided.
How cool should a “cool, dry place” be?
It’s important to know that when we say ‘cool’ we do not mean cold. Champagne should not be stored in the fridge unless it will be consumed within the next day or two. Controversial, we know! However a wine fridge with a temperature of around 10 degrees is ideal - this will also ensure it has the perfect humidity for long term storage
If you don’t have a wine fridge handy the places like basements, garages or internal cupboards would do the trick. Just make sure they’re away from pipes, radiators and other fluctuating heat sources.
Let them have a lie down...
There is a lot of controversy around whether champagne bottles should be stored lying down or upright. We recommend that bottles you want to store for a few weeks or months can be stored upright and bottles that you would like to store for longer are left lying down on their sides. Lying on the side simply ensures that cork doesn’t dry out.
For vintage bottles in particular, more prolonged aging can bring out their more complex flavour profiles. We recommend doing a bit of research into the bottle and producer, often they can recommend if they believe a particular vintage will age well like this.
Another top tip - if you want to start storing champagne for the longer term, often magnum bottles are better as they have more aging potential due to their size. If you are looking to build up your magnum collection, do get in touch with us and we’d be happy to find some great options from our growers.
Most of the storage principles outlined here also apply to regular still wines - so you can make sure to find a spot in your home for your entire collection!