A group of friends toasts with glasses of Champagne
Champagne can last for years if stored properly.Klaus Vedfelt/Getty Images

Whether we're talking about true Champagne, made in the Champagne region of France, or other bubbly wine, you can always count on a bottle or two to be cracked for special occasions with friends or family.

"Champagne is one of my favorite wines," says Adam Goddu, beverage manager at Stone's Throw Pizza in Richmond, Vermont. "I especially love grower Champagne, made by small farmers instead of large corporations. You get more character and a better value for your dollar."

Though Champagne doesn't go bad in that it won't become dangerous to drink, it can quickly lose its signature character once opened, says Goddu. "Whenever possible, drink Champagne the day you open it. Each bottle holds about five glasses, so grab a couple friends and split a bottle between you," he says.

How long does unopened Champagne last?

Three bottles of unopened Champagne sitting in a large bowl of ice
Chilled Champagne should be drank within six months.webphotographeer/Getty Images

If an unopened bottle of Champagne is stored properly, it can last a very long time — even for generations, says Goddu. "If it has a year on the label, that wine can be aged for a good long while," he says.

Long-term storage of Champagne is best done on its side to keep the cork from drying out and oxidizing which can compromise the flavor. It should also be kept at cellar temperature — between 50 and 55 degrees Fahrenheit — and out of direct light.

If it's stored in your fridge, Champagne can last a while too, but the dryness and temperature fluctuations from opening and closing the door won't make it quite as age-worthy. It also can pick up odors from food stored nearby. Ideally, Champagne stored in your fridge should be consumed within six months to ensure its quality.  

That goes for any type of sparkling wine made in the traditional method, says Goddu, including Cremant and Cava. Sparkling wine like Prosecco is made slightly differently and is not age-worthy in the same way. Try to drink Prosecco within six to twelve months of purchase. 

How long does opened Champagne last?

A bottle of champagne being poured into two coupe glasses
Open Champagne should be enjoyed the same day.alvarez/Getty Images

"I really recommend drinking Champagne the day you open it," says Goddu.

If you don't plan on finishing your bottle of Champagne and intend on revisiting it, Goddu recommends popping a champagne stopper atop your bottle. "That will give you an extra day or so to enjoy the bottle," he says. "It won't be quite the same, but still pretty good."

How to tell if Champagne has gone bad

"Champagne is intended to be enjoyed carbonated," says Goddu. "So if it's lost that texture, then it's not how the producer intended." If you enjoy drinking Champagne sans bubbles, though, there's nothing wrong with that. "It's still very well-made wine," he says, "Just not really what it could be."

If your Champagne has gone flat, Goddu recommends saving it for cooking. "I rarely have leftover Champagne, honestly, but it would be great to deglaze a pan with or to add to risotto," he says.

Champagne's flavor can also be affected by improper storage. If a bottle loses its effervescence before it's been opened or smells or tastes sour or musty, the Champagne may be past its prime. It may be less pleasurable to drink, but it won't harm you.

Insider's takeaway

Champagne and other sparkling wines can last a while when stored unopened on their side in a cellar or wine fridge. Once opened, they're best enjoyed on the spot. If that's not feasible for you, grab a Champagne stopper and try to drink it within 24 hours. Worst case scenario, your flat Champagne will make a great cooking wine.

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