Do you have a special occasion coming up? A bottle of champagne can be one of the finest gifts you can give to your loved ones. It is suitable for almost all events. Whether you are celebrating an anniversary or have been invited to a wedding or someone’s birthday, a bottle of champagne is always a much-loved gift.
If you have received a bottle of champagne on your last birthday or have a bottle left-over from the last party, you might be wondering whether it is still good to drink or have gone bad? Surely, you wouldn’t want to drain the drinks down the sink if it is still consumable. So, let’s dig into some more details on our article below and find out how long does champagne last unopened?
How Long Does Champagne Last Unopened?
The simple answer is, though some things may last forever in your life, champagne will not. Different kinds of champagnes have different shelf lives, but unfortunately, they are limited. The expiration time of champagnes majorly depends upon two factors, the type of champagne and how it has been stored.
Champagnes are usually of two types: the vintage champagnes and the non-vintage champagnes. Though it is easy to identify whether the champagne battle you have is vintage or not, many people might not be familiar with the difference. If you are one among them, you will find more about it as you scroll down.
Another important factor to be considered is how the champagne bottle has been stored. The fact that you have kept the bottle refrigerated or have kept it under open-air in your wine rack can decide whether it is still consumable or has gone bad. Keep reading to know more.
How Are Vintage Champagnes And Non-Vintage Champagnes Different?
Champagne is considered vintage when 100% of the grapes from which it has been made comes from only one specific year (vintage) of harvest. The harvest of grapes every year might differ slightly due to the influence of variable weather factors.
These factors may cause the grapes to taste different each year. Mixing all kinds of grape juices affects the taste of the champagne too.
Because vintage wines are brewed entirely from one kind of grapes harvested in one particular year, they are considered to be more exceptional than the others. Not only are they of premium quality, but they also are quite expensive.
On the other hand, the non-vintage wines are manufactured by blending juices of grapes harvested in different years and are considerably lower priced.
Now that you know the difference between the two, the question remains, how can you identify whether a bottle is of vintage champagne or not. All you have to do is check the label at the front of the bottle and look for the year mentioned on it.
The labels of all vintage champagne bottles specify the year of harvest of grapes from which it has been made. If you are able to spot the year, then the champagne in your possession is vintage and of high quality. And if there is no year displayed on the label, then the champagne you have is a non-vintage one.
Vintage champagnes do not necessarily mean that they are old and pre-aged. Both vintage and non-vintage champagnes can be aged for a few years after you buy them to improve their taste and crispness. But prolonged aging can destroy the integrity of them.
To answer the question, how long does champagne last unopened, we can safely state that vintage champagnes last longer than non-vintage ones. Generally, vintage champagnes, if unopened and stored properly, can be shelved and aged for about 5-10 years. Whereas non-vintage wines can only be shelved for 3 to 4 years from purchase when stored properly.
However, if uncorked, the shelf life of both types of champagnes decreases significantly. Though it is very unlikely for an opened champagne bottle to ever return to the cellar unfinished, we recommend that both types of champagne should be consumed within 3-5 days.
The champagne’s quality can only be preserved if the bottle has been re-corked and stored in a cool and dry place. Sealing the bottle after opening will help retain the bubbles and in it for a considerable time and keep it consumable.
How Can You Reseal A Bottle After It Is Uncorked?
If you have been concerned about how long does champagne last unopened, then the thought about the fate of an uncorked champagne bottle must have crossed your mind. Contamination of the wine with the external air and moisture can damage the wine’s quality if it is left unsealed in a hot and humid atmosphere.
But re-corking is not always possible. So, to retain the carbonation of the champagne, a champagne sealer can be of help.
It is a little metal device that helps to seal the bottle and keeps it air-tight and leak-proof. If you want to store the bottle horizontally in your wine cooler, the little champagne sealer will prevent spillage and leaking.
If Refrigerated Or Cellared, How Long Does Champagne Last Unopened?
Champagnes can lose their quality over time, but it is not likely to happen any time soon. For vintage champagnes, you can wait for 5 to 10 years after the date of purchase before it begins to lose the carbonation.
Whereas, non-vintage champagne may go bad in much less time. Generally, Non-vintage champagnes are commonly aged for 2-3 years before they are available for sale. You can save a bottle of non-vintage champagne for 3 to 4 years after buying before they start to lose the fizz.
It is important to note here, that the expiration date is counted from the date of purchase and not from the Vintage year mentioned on the label. This is because Vintage champagnes are usually aged in a temperature and humidity-controlled cellar for 4-5 years before they are put up for sale.
You can add up 5-10 more years to your purchase date after you buy it if you are planning to save it for a special occasion.
Now that we know how long does champagne last unopened, let’s find out what is the proper way of shelving a champagne bottle and why is it necessary.
How To Store Unopened Champagne Bottles?
Have received quite a few champagne bottles on your anniversary and not planning on devouring them soon? Or, have you bought a vintage bottle to present it to your friend on an upcoming occasion?
In any case, you need to know how to store unopened champagnes the perfect way. It will not only increase its lifespan but also elevate its flavour to some extent. Here are the basic rules to store an unopened champagne bottle.
- Always store champagne in a cool dark place. Exposure to sunlight can damage the integrity of the champagne. It is preferable to store champagne in a basement cellar or a closed wine cooler.
- You must keep the champagne at a constant temperature and humidity. The recommended temperature for storing champagne is between 7-10 C.
- Continuous vibration can spoil the quality of champagne. Thus, it is preferred to store it in a noise-free and vibration-less environment.
- Champagne bottles that are to be stored for long should be kept horizontally. It will ensure that the cork remains in contact with the champagne. This position keeps the cork moist, which makes it air-tight and leak-proof.
If the cork dries out, it may loosen and the champagne may get contaminated by the external air and moisture or can get spilt out of the bottle.
How To Tell If The Champagne Has Gone bad?
There isn’t any sure-shot way to know whether the champagne has gotten spoiled. If you spot a broken or leaky cork, it is wise to check the content of the bottle immediately. Contaminated champagne will show certain signs which will help you to understand whether it has gone off or not.
- Will lose the effervescence.
- The colour may get altered.
- Will have a strange odour.
- Will probably taste sour or flat.
However, champagnes do not actually expire if kept for long. Though they will lose their fizz eventually, they can still be consumed. However, if stored properly, you can save the bubble for a considerable time.
Toast Before It’s Too Late!
Good things do not last for long, and champagne is one of them. Unlike wine, which improves its flavour and aroma over time, champagnes might lose their quality if you wait for too long. And it is heartbreaking to see a bottle of fine champagne going to waste. Hence, it is best that you enjoy the fizz of the champagne well before it dies out.
However, sometimes the need to save a bottle or two of champagne arises. Thus it becomes necessary to know how long does champagne last unopened and how to store unopened champagne bottles.
To help you with this, we have put together a concise guide packed with information about the longevity and shelf life of champagne and the proper method of storing an unopened bottle. We hope this article has been able to address your concerns, and you have found it helpful.