People planning weddings, parties and other large social gatherings often buy several bottles of Champagne and have to store the bottles for weeks or months. Like many drinks, Champagne suffers adverse effects when kept in unsuitable conditions. Excess heat causes the wine to mature very rapidly and ruins the taste while excess cold reduces the fizz. Champagne producers store the wine in cellars for several years before sale. Champagne lasts for between three and 10 years after purchase. Legally, only wines produced in the French region of Champagne can carry the name "Champagne," but many people incorrectly refer to other sparkling wines as Champagne. Despite the name difference, the same storage rules apply to other sparkling wines as Champagne.
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Find a cold dark room to store the bottles of Champagne. Cellars are ideal or large closets under stairwells. Some people use old coal bunkers with stone walls to store Champagne, but wooden sheds are not suitable because the wood does not insulate against heat or cold very well. If you use a cellar, make sure it is well-insulated as moisture can create humidity which causes Champagne to spoil. Put dark, sunlight blocking curtains in the room and use low wattage light bulbs to reduce brightness.
Buy a wine rack. You can buy wooden wine racks at home improvement stores and furniture shops. You can make your own wine rack fairly easily if you add wooden dividers into an old book shelf to keep the bottles apart. Make sure that you buy a wine rack that stands on the floor as opposed to one that hangs from the ceiling in order to provide a stable environment for the Champagne in storage.
Put your Champagne bottles into the wine rack. Attach a thermometer to the wall against which the wine rack stands. Ideally, place the thermometer as close to the bottles as possible to ensure you get an accurate reading of the temperature that the bottles are exposed to. Champagne should be kept at temperatures between 10 and 15 degrees Celsius. If you plan to store other varieties of wine in the same rack, place the Champagne on the bottom row since floor temperatures are typically the coolest.
Tips and warnings
- If you buy non-vintage Champagne, you should consume it within three to four years. Vintage bottles last up to 10 years. Storing the wine in less than ideal conditions greatly reduces the lifespan of the wine.
- When you are ready to drink your Champagne, put a bottle in the refrigerator for a few hours before serving. Longer spells in the refrigerator will reduce the fizziness.
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