Champagne, the fizzy drink of celebration, doesn’t exactly age well when left at room temperature in an open bottle, so it’s best to store your bubbly in the refrigerator.
The main concern with storing wine in the fridge is that you don’t want to let it get too cold—between 40 and 55 degrees Fahrenheit (4-13 degrees Celsius) will preserve its quality while also keeping it cool enough to drink as soon as you open it.
Storing champagne in the refrigerator follows a few simple rules that are easy to follow if you follow this 10-step guide from Wine Folly!
Step 1 – Don’t be tempted by cheap fizz
Most people know that to get quality wine you need to pay a decent price, and it’s no different with champagne. The first rule of storing champagne in a wine fridge is to avoid buying cheap fizz. All it will do is give you nasty hangovers and not have much flavour when drunk on its own.
Stick to brands such as Moet & Chandon or Veuve Clicquot; they’re worth paying more for and will taste better if drank on their own.
Step 2 – Assemble your supplies
All you need to have fresh, chilled champagne is a champagne refrigerator and a few ice packs. There are different styles of wine fridges that all have different ways to chill your bubbly, so be sure to read over your instructions and understand how you’ll be chilling your champagne before continuing on.
If possible, buy an extra case of open bottles of chilled white wine from your local liquor store so you can use them as an alternate cooling source if needed. (See step 6 for more information.)
If you do not have access to a refrigerator, place six bottles in an ice bucket with two large bags of ice inside and four out on top at a time. This will keep them cold for about five hours.
Step 3 – Clean & Chill
Clean your wine fridge thoroughly and add an equal measure of water and vinegar to a bowl or tray. Then, use a cloth and your hand to wipe down all surfaces.
You can store sparkling wine for up to 12 months in a cool place like a cellar, so there’s no need to put it into your wine refrigerator until you’re ready to drink it. However, if you do have any leftover open bottles that you know will spoil before you finish them, keep them in your refrigerator where they should last another 24 hours.
Remember that champagne loses its fizz when exposed to too much humidity so keep any leftover bottles at room temperature as much as possible.
Step 4 – Remove the foil
When you first open a bottle of champagne, you’ll notice that it is capped with foil. Take off both pieces of foil and set them aside in a safe place (you can keep one piece and recycle it if you like, but be sure to dispose of all pieces by your local recycling regulations). Be careful when removing foil, as it can rip. You may want to tear or cut it instead.
Step 5 – Unscrew the wire cage
The purpose of these wire cages is to protect and show off your bottles of bubbly. But once you’ve removed your champagne from its box, it’s time to take off those cages. This is an important step in preserving and keeping your champagne fresh, as they can trap humidity and cause mold over time.
Give them a good tug—they should come right off with no issue. If you are removing a cage that has been on there for a while, be prepared for some cork residue to stick to it; simply rub it down with a dry cloth before throwing it away or using it on another bottle of champagne. There you have it! Now that your bottle looks all pretty and naked, we can keep going!
Step 6 – Pull out neck of bottle so it’s straight
It’s important to keep your bottle straight for a couple of reasons. For one, as mentioned above, you want to keep your bubbly tasting its best as long as possible. This is why your bottle should always be stored on its side with a 45 degree angle.
And when storing champagne or sparkling wine in a fridge, keeping it straight can help reduce problems with any sediment that may have gotten into your bottle and cause cloudiness later on (see step 9).
Step 7 – Shake, Shake, Shake
This is a vital step. The more you can agitate your bottle, the faster and better it will be at distributing its effervescence around your fridge.
How you do it is up to you (shaking is usually easiest), but make sure to do it thoroughly, especially after opening a new bottle, which should be shaken vigorously for several minutes to release extra pressure before being stored in a wine refrigerator.
It’s also not a bad idea to give your corked bottles an occasional shake while they’re chilling. This helps prevent oxidization and ensures that each pour of champagne has that full-bodied, rich flavor associated with fine French champagnes or robust California sparkling wines.
Step 8 – Return bottle to fridge with cork down
After opening a bottle of champagne, keep it in a wine fridge for no more than three days. Before replacing that precious bubbly in your wine cooler, make sure to keep its cork wet and reinsert it carefully with its plastic covering. This will ensure that your last pour is just as enjoyable as your first.
After all, you can never have too much of a good thing! Don’t forget to refrigerate leftover champagne within two hours of serving so that you don’t lose out on all those flavorful bubbles!
The ideal temperature for storing champagne is 39°F or 4°C so having a mini wine fridge helps keep your bottle fresh for longer before using.
Step 9 – Wait 24 hours before serving (but at least 1 hour)
After you take your champagne bottles out of their cooler, you should wait at least 24 hours before serving them.
Give your bottle time to come up to temperature and don’t crack it open too early. This gives your champagne a chance to get rid of all of those pesky bubbles and lets you serve it at just below room temperature. After that, chill it in an ice bucket or some type of cooler so it’s ready when you are!
Although there are an assortment of strategies to keep your bubbly fresh, everyone has a different opinion about what’s best.
Ultimately, it comes down to personal preference, but if you want to keep your champagne fresh for as long as possible, be sure to store it in a wine fridge that maintains a temperature between 40 and 50 degrees Fahrenheit.
You can also look into getting yourself a stopper with an integrated thermometer so you can monitor just how cold your wines are going from year to year. That way, when you pop open that bottle on New Year’s Eve (or any night) you’ll know exactly how fresh your bubbly is. Cheers!