Does Champagne Go Bad? How Long Does Champagne Last?
Is that old bottle of champagne still good to drink? We explain the lifespan of champagne and what you can do to keep it tasty for longer.
So you still have 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 before it turns into something ghastly?
The last thing you want to do is throw out those expensive bubbles unnecessarily. 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 expired 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.
The difference between storing it in a refrigerator and on your wine rack can be significant.
Curious to learn more? Let's read on!
3-5 days (cool & dry place & re-corked)
5-10 years from purchase
3-5 days (cool & dry place & re-corked)
3-4 years from purchase
What is a Vintage Champagne and How Do I Know if I Have One?
It’s actually quite simple.
A Vintage Champagne is simply one where 100% of the grapes came from the same year's (vintage) harvest.
A Non-Vintage Champagne on the other hand, is one that was made from a combination of grapes harvested over numerous years.
Vintage Champagne is generally higher quality and usually far more expensive than Non-Vintage.
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.
This is the year the grapes were harvested on.
All Vintage Champagnes will have this year clearly and proudly displayed on the label, while the Non-Vintage Champagnes will not.
For whiskey drinkers, the esteem of Vintage Champagnes is similar to age statement whiskies. Older, single malt whiskies will carry an age statement (and large price tag), while cheaper, younger blends do not.
How Long Does Champagne Last After the Bottle Has Been Opened and Refrigerated?
This is something I can’t say I’ve encountered often myself since once a Champagne bottle leaves the refrigerator and is opened it doesn't tend to return.
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 vibrant for as long as possible.
How Do I Seal the Bottle After I Have Opened It?
A Champagne sealer is an essential purchase for regular Champagne drinkers.
Sometimes it can be tricky to put a cork back in so an effective and relatively inexpensive solution to make sure the bubbles remain lively is to use a nifty little Champagne sealer (affiliate link) before putting the bottle back into the fridge.
These handy little devices are made out of long-lasting stainless steel and are used to create an airtight and leakproof seal.
This means the bubbles are preserved for as long as possible and also 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 this 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's 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 already refrigerated since you would want to keep it at as constant a temperature as possible. This will ensure the most consistent quality.
If you’re considering buying a wine cooler we have put together a comprehensive guide that includes some of our favorite models.
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.
What's your rule when it comes to storing Champagne? We'd love to hear from you in the comments section!