The most champagne and sparkling wine that is served in North America is served during the holidays, especially on New Year’s Eve. Are these wines different from others, as far as storage needs? With one minor exception, storage for champagne is actually the same as for other wines. A wine cellar with a wine cooling unit by a major manufacturer such as Breezaire, Cellar Pro, CellarCOOL, or Koolspace provides the right temperature range of about 55°F. Humidity levels also need to be controlled to about 70%, for optimal storage.
WHAT IS DIFFERENT ABOUT CHAMPAGNE?
For wine to be referred to as “champagne,” the grapes used must have been grown in the Champagne region of France. The area has defined boundaries and various growing areas. Strict procedures must be conformed to in order for a wine to legally be packaged and presented as champagne. These matters are coded into international treaties and trade agreements. Those specifications include:
Types of grapes used
Champagne is typically made from a three-grape blend of Pinot Meunier, Pinot Noir, and Chardonnay. This makes champagne a cuvée, which is a type, blend, or batch of wine. Blanc de noir and chardonnay champagnes are made from Pinot Meunier, Pinot Noir, or a mix of the two.
The bubbly aspect of champagne is a matter of science. Once a Champagne cork has been popped, yeasts ferment sugars, forming carbon dioxide gas.
IDEAL LONG-TERM CHAMPAGNE STORAGE
Like other wine in long-term storage, champagne should be stored on its side. This ensures that the cork stays damp. If the position of the bottle keeps the cork dry on the inside, the cork can dry out to the point of shrinking. This leads to more air getting inside, causing oxidation, which spoils the flavor.
There should be no UV rays that can get to champagne. Because bubblies such as champagne are highly light-sensitive, they are usually stored in dark bottles that provide extra UV protection. The type of lighting used in a wine cellar is an important issue, since some types of bulbs emit UV rays that can spoil wine the same as direct sunlight does.
SHORT-TERM CHAMPAGNE STORAGE
Bottles of champagne and sparkling wines that will be stored for up to a month but no more are best left standing up, according to some wine experts. The bottles must, however, be protected from artificial or bright light.
A TOAST TO AULD LANG SYNE!
You can count on enjoying your champagne that has been stored properly in a custom wine cellar kept cool by a Breezaire, Cellar Pro, CellarCOOL, or Koolspace cooling unit. Rosehill Wine Cellars if you’d like to create the perfect custom wine storage in your home for future New Year’s toasts.