Does champagne go bad? An opened bottle of champagne can last up to five days while an unopened bottle can last up to four or ten years.
The streaming silvery bubbles coupled with the fruity flavor and aroma gives champagne the perfect buzz and spark we all love. Popping a bottle of champagne is a beloved tradition for any celebration — weddings, birthdays, anniversaries, company parties and more. And even an ordinary dinner can become special with a glass of sparkling, fizzy and bubbly champagne.
If you are confused about the difference between champagne and sparkling wine, let’s clear that up first. All champagne is sparkling wine, but not all sparkling wine is champagne. Sparkling wine can only be called champagne if it comes from Champagne, a region in France. Anything made outside the region is what we call sparkling wine.
Since champagne can go bad, it is important to have proper knowledge of its shelf life and the signs of bad champagne.
Shelf Life of Champagne
Champagnes don’t have any best-before date or expiration.
To determine the shelf life of your champagne, you must first know if what you have is vintage or non-vintage. The difference between vintage and non-vintage champagne is the grapes used in production. Vintage champagne is made with only one year’s harvest while non-vintage champagne is made with a blend of different years’ harvest.
Look at the front label of the bottle to determine what kind of champagne you have. Vintage ones display a year on the label, while non-vintage champagnes don’t have a year on their label.
Unopened non-vintage champagne can last up to three to four years while an unopened vintage champagne will last longer for five to ten years at room temperature.
Once opened, a bottle of champagne, vintage or non-vintage, will only last up to three to five days.
Champagne is a living product, they change over time. But unlike red wine, champagne does not get better as it ages. The quality of champagne will just decline over time.
Signs of Bad Champagne
The color of good champagne can be light gold or pale yellow. A good champagne will smell of fresh fruit and subtle minerality. Good champagne will taste bready with crisp apple and melon flavor and gets fruitier depending on the amount of sugar present.
You can tell a champagne has gone bad with its appearance, taste, and smell. Here are the signs on bad champagne to look out for.
- Overdue champagne is flat, and opened champagne is notorious for losing its fizz and bubbles fast. Exposure to heat, air, and sunlight instigate oxidation of champagnes.
- If you’re champagne changes color and turned deep yellow or gold, chances are it’s already bad.
- Improperly stored champagne can get contaminated and clumps may start to form in the liquid, which makes it spoiled.
- Spoiled champagne will taste and smell sour.
Proper Storage of Champagne
It is important to know how you can properly store champagne to maximize its shelf life and prevent it from going bad. Here are some tips on champagne storage.
If you’re planning to store champagne for a later date…
- Store your champagne in a cool dark place, preferably in the pantry or cellar.
- Champagne should be stored at a constant temperature of 40 – 60 degrees Fahrenheit away from direct sunlight.
- Lay the bottle of champagne on its side. This is to make sure the cork will always be moist. Dry cork will develop tiny holes in time that can let the air in the bottle.
For short-term storage…
- If you’re planning to enjoy your drink within three to four days, you can store your champagne in the fridge. Bubbles will change due to lack of humidity if stored in the refrigerator for too long.
- After opening the bottle, seal the bottle with plastic wrap or a champagne bottle stopper and store it in the fridge. The pressure from carbonation inside the bottle might cause the original cork to pop out.
Champagne is the perfect drink for any celebration. Keeping a bottle or two on hand for special occasions is a good idea. Take note of this mandatory information before buying a bottle of champagne.
You can also use champagne in cooking! Use the fizz and sparkle of champagne to your advantage and try these easy but fancy sparkling wine recipes.