Does Champagne Go Bad?

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By: Tom Valenti


But when all of the glasses have been clinked and emptied what do you do with those leftover bottles that didn’t get finished? Does champagne go bad? The short answer is yes; over time, the flavor and quality of Champagne can change due to improper storage or heat exposure.

So if you’ve ever asked yourself about the shelf life of champagne, read on to learn more. We’ll explore from what affects its shelf life to how to store it properly.


Does Champagne Go Bad?

As mentioned above, the answer is yes, champagne can go bad. The main cause of expiration is oxidation, which happens when oxygen reacts with the wine. Heat exposure and sunlight can also accelerate this process.

Why does Champagne Go Bad?

Why does Champagne Go Bad

Oxidation is the main reason why champagne can go bad. As oxygen interacts with the wine, it causes a breakdown of the molecules and structure in the liquid which leads to off-flavors and aromas. Additionally, any exposure to heat or light will accelerate this process.

With unopened Champagne, the cork itself can be a factor. If air gets inside of the bottle, it will lead to oxidation and spoilage. This process can happen quickly if the champagne is exposed to heat or light for too long.

With opened Champagne, the process of oxidation is sped up even more. Once opened, oxygen can enter the bottle and interact with the wine, leading to spoiling and an unpleasant flavor.

How Long Does Champagne Last?

How Long Does Champagne Last

The shelf life of champagne depends on many factors, such as types of Champagne, how it is stored, and whether or not it has been opened.

Generally speaking, unopened bottles of champagne can last for up to three years in proper storage conditions. If your Champagne is vintage and has been aged, it can last for even longer.

Once opened, champagne should be consumed by day for optimal flavor. If the bottle is sealed tightly with a cork stopper, you may be able to extend its shelf life by up to three days.

How to Know if Champagne has Gone Bad?

Now that you know why champagne goes bad, how do you know if a bottle of Champagne has gone bad?

The most obvious sign is the smell. If the champagne smells sour or vinegar-like, then it has likely gone bad. Additionally, if the bubbles are completely absent or seem weak and lifeless, this could be another indicator of spoilage.

The taste is also an important factor. If the champagne tastes sour or flat, then it has likely gone bad. You may also notice flavors of vinegar or cardboard, and the wine may be cloudy in appearance.

Moreover, the cork of an old bottle of Champagne may be discolored and brittle due to age. If it looks like it has been damaged or if the cork appears dry and cracked, then you should discard the bottle.

The last significant indicator of spoilage is color. If the champagne has a yellowish hue or appears cloudy, then this could be a sign that it has gone bad.

What Happen if You Drink Champagne Gone Bad?

It is not recommended to drink champagne that has gone bad. Consuming old or expired Champagne can cause a range of unpleasant side effects, from stomach discomfort and nausea to headaches and dizziness.

In extreme cases, drinking spoiled Champagne can lead to food poisoning or an allergic reaction, so it’s best to avoid consuming it.

How to Store Champagne Properly?

If you want to keep your champagne fresh and flavorful, then proper storage is key.

Champagne should always be stored upright in a cool, dry, and dark location that is away from any direct sunlight or heat sources. The ideal temperature for storing champagne is between 45-50°F (7-10°C).

You can also store champagne in a wine cellar or special wine cabinet. This will help maintain optimal temperature conditions while also keeping your bottles out of direct sunlight. Make sure the bottles are tightly sealed when not in use to avoid oxidation.

For opened bottles of Champagne, tightly secure the cork stopper and store it in the refrigerator. This will help slow down the oxidation process and keep your champagne fresh for longer.

By following these simple tips, you can make sure that you always serve a bottle of fresh, flavorful bubbly.


Can You Drink 20-Year-Old Champagne?

While some older bottles of vintage Champagne can still be drinkable, it is not recommended to consume any bottle of champagne that has been stored for more than 20 years. The quality of the wine will have likely declined significantly over time, and it may be unsafe to drink.

Can Champagne Go Bad if Not Refrigerated?

Yes, an opened champagne can go bad if not refrigerated. However, a tightly sealed bottle of unopened Champagne just needs storing in the right conditions, such as a cool, dark location.

What is The Oldest Champagne Still Drinkable?

The oldest Champagne still considered drinkable is the Veuve Clicquot of 1820, which was discovered in a shipwreck off the coast of Finland in 2010. 

It is believed to be over 200 years old, making it the oldest known still-drinkable Champagne in the world.

What Can You Do With Old Champagne?

If a bottle of Champagne has gone bad or is no longer drinkable, then you can use it in cooking. It adds flavor to sauces and marinades, or you can use it to make champagne-based desserts such as truffles or cakes. Another option is to use the bottle to dash homemade vinegar.

You can also use the bottles for decoration, such as making decorative lamps or candle holders. You can even repurpose the cork into a wine stopper or use it to create unique jewelry pieces.

Is Korbel Brut a Vintage Champagne?

No, Korbel Brut is not a vintage champagne. It is a non-vintage sparkling wine made with Chardonnay and Pinot Noir grapes.

How Can You Tell How Old a Champagne Bottle is?

The best way to determine the age of a Champagne bottle is by looking at the label. Most bottles will have an expiration date or vintage listed, which will tell you how old the bottle is.

Final Thought

All in all, does champagne go bad? The short answer is yes, but the specifics depend on many factors. So, it needs to be stored properly for it to stay fresh and flavorful. Even though, Champagne still is a delicious and refreshing addition to any occasion.

In addition, keep in mind to always check the expiration date or vintage label before drinking Champagne to ensure that it is still safe to consume.

If you follow these simple steps, then you can enjoy a bottle of bubbly without any worries.

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Tom Valenti

Chef/Owner of both Ouest and ‘Cesca, and the Executive Chef of Le Cirque, Alison on Dominick, and Butterfield 81.

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