Certain conditions apply to the storage of Champagne wines, whether cellared by the producer or the consumer.
Champagne is ready for drinking upon release, matured to perfection in the producer’s cellars.
It will however keep well for several years if stored on its side in a cool, dark, draft-free place, following the three golden rules of Champagne storage:
- Constant, low ambient temperature (around 10°C/50°F)
- Generous humidity
- No direct exposure to sunlight, noise or excessive vibration.
A case in point: the Jönköping, a shipwreck that made the headlines
For 82 years, the wooden-hulled Jönköping lay at a depth of 63 metres (more than 200 feet) below the Baltic Sea. When it was finally hoisted out of the water, it was found to contain thousands of bottles of Champagne dating from the year 1907.
Despite their watery ordeal, the bottles had survived in perfect condition, retaining all of their freshness, effervescence and overall balance. One of the reasons they kept so well is that the corks remained airtight, free from attack by marine bacteria or any other creature for that matter.
Another reason is that the pressure under water at such a depth served to balance the pressure inside the bottles, so preserving the wine’s effervescence.
Last but not least, the wines remained at a constant temperature (around 0°C/32°F) and in total darkness – an ideal, if unconventional, storage environment..