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How to store Champagne at home

Great Champagnes can still age for years after release, if you resist popping the cork, but how should they be stored? Expert and author Michael Edwards offers advice on the basics in this article from our archive.

Here are three things to keep in mind if you’re planning to store Champagne at home:

  • Keep the bottles away from bright light.
  • Try to store your Champagne in a cool place where the temperature is relatively constant (if you don’t have a dedicated wine fridge or temperature and humidity-controlled cellar).
  • If you can, consider buying magnums for longer-term ageing potential.

Some experts say, surprisingly, that it’s best to store Champagne and sparkling wines standing up.

For short-term storage, say up for up to one month, I’d agree that this is best and most practical. However, keep the bottles away from bright or artificial light.

Long-term storage of vintage cuvées is quite another matter. These bottles should be stored on their sides in a wine rack or stacked the same way as in a cellar.

Fine maturing Champagne, like all great wine, runs the risk of the cork drying out if it is kept upright for long periods.

The actual temperature of storage (ideally about 7°C to 10°C) is less important than its constancy.

Wild fluctuations of heat and cold are killers of all good wine, so avoid storing bottles in the kitchen and especially the garage or shed.

How to store Champagne: Bottle vs magnum

For laying down Champagne, forget about half-bottles. Their capacity to age is very erratic and the wine ages too fast.

While standard 75cl Bottles (75cl) age well and at a moderate rate if properly stored, magnums (1.5 litres) are the best format for long-term ageing.

That’s because the ratio of wine to surface area allows for a slower, more even maturation of the wine and finer enduring flow of bubbles.

In most cases, the magnum beats the bottle for added complexity, structure and nuances in the wine for 20 to 30 years.

This is an excerpt from an article that first appeared in Decanter magazine 2015. Copy editing for Decanter.com in 2021 by Chris Mercer.

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