Sparkling wine is often associated with special occasions and celebrations. But, more wine connoisseurs are choosing this drink over a glass of red or white wine to enjoy with a meal or as a sundowner. Popping a bottle of bubbly adds a hint of glamour to any occasion and it’s always a good idea to have a bottle or two at home.
You never know when the occasion calls for some bubbly but do you know how to store sparkling wine? A badly stored sparkling wine could result in flat bubbles which would certainly put a damper on the occasion! To avoid this from happening, read on as we talk about how to store sparkling wine so you get to enjoy it every time.
What is Sparkling Wine?
Sparkling wine differs from the still variety in that it has bubbles when you pour it into a glass. The sparkle that creates fizziness is the result of high levels of carbon dioxide in the drink. Various methods are used to produce sparkling wines. These include:
- Champagne method: This is the traditional method of making champagne which involves adding yeast and sugar to still wine already bottled. The fermentation process results in the release of carbon dioxide.
- Charmat method: Also known as the tank method, the bubbles are created in a tank or vat. The yeast and sugar are added to a pressurized tank for fermentation to take place. The wine is then bottled.
- Ancestral method: The wine is bottled before the first fermentation has been completed. This is a more natural approach to making sparkling wine as it doesn’t entail adding anything to the wine when it’s bottled.
- Carbonation method: This is the process of adding carbon dioxide to still wine before bottling. However, this results in a lower quality wine.
Sparkling wine is produced worldwide in many wineries and vineyards, using a variety of grape types and any one of the abovementioned production methods. A popular sparkling wine is the Prosecco from Italy while Cava is a favored bubbly originating from Spain. Californian winemakers are also producing sparkling wines from their vineyards.
Is Sparkling Wine the Same as Champagne?
When someone offers you a glass of champagne you may be wondering if you’re getting sparkling wine instead. Champagne is a sparkling wine but not all sparkling wines are champagne. And, the difference lies in the production method and where champagne comes from.
A true bottle of champagne comes from the winemaking region called Champagne. This famous region is found in the north of France and all sparkling wines made here follow the strict traditional method of producing champagne. Only certain grapes grown in this area are used to make a traditional bottle of champagne.
While some producers of sparkling wines may still be labeling their wine as “champagne” make sure you know the difference if you want the traditional bubbles. Knowing the difference also impacts the way you store champagne and other types of sparkling wines.
Where and How to Store Sparkling Wine?
The type of environment in which you keep your sparkling wine influences both the fizziness and the flavors. The ideal environment is a dark, cool, and moderately humid place. The basements of most homes will tick all the boxes for storing your sparkling wine correctly. Ensure the room temperature remains a consistent temperature of around 50 to 55 degrees Fahrenheit.
It’s vital to avoid any place that has direct sunlight and is hot. Both sunlight and heat are detrimental to all wines and you’ll end up with a flat, sour-tasting wine when opened.
Wine connoisseurs recommend storing all sparkling wines upright. This prevents the cork from getting too moist which could result in the flavors being tainted. A moist cork could also end up increasing the carbonation of the wine, resulting in a sparkling wine that’s too fizzy.
There’s some debate around how to store Champagne properly with some winemakers strongly recommending bottles are laid horizontally. However, many producers of this drink agree that storing traditional champagne upright or horizontally has little impact on the wine.
When storing your sparkling wine, whether flat or upright, always make sure the labels are facing you. This prevents too much handling of the bottle when deciding which bottle to open for the occasion. By rotating the bottle to read the label, you could be altering the fizz content, flavors, and ultimately, the aromas of your sparkling wine.
How to Store Sparkling Wine After Opening It?
While it’s ideal to finish a bottle of sparkling wine once it’s opened, this doesn’t always happen. If you have a half-bottle of opened sparkling wine you may be wondering how to store it. This is so you can enjoy the sparkling wine after a day or two.
The best news is you can still enjoy your opened fizzy three to five days after opening it. The secret lies in placing the cork back into the bottle as soon as you’ve poured. A champagne stopper works well if you can’t use the cork again. Make sure you keep the opened bottle in the fridge. However, if you want to still enjoy the bubbles try to drink the remainder of your sparkling wine within a day.
Watch this informative video which talks about champagne stoppers and how to use them to keep the bubbles after opening your bottle.
How Long Can Sparkling Wine be Stored at Home?
How long your sparkling wine will last depends on storing it the right way. If stored correctly, your bottle of sparkling wine should last up to three years, if not longer. Traditional champagne can be stored for up to 10 years under ideal storage conditions.
The production method of the sparkling wine also impacts how long you can store your favorite bubbly at home. French champagne, made using the traditional method is known to last longer than sparkling wine made using the tank method. While good champagne can be stored for up to 10 years, Prosecco is best served after being stored for two years. Any sparkling wine made with the traditional method can be stored for slightly longer, between three to four years.
If you leave your sparkling wine for too long, it will start to lose its carbonation with CO2 seeping through the cork. The flavors will become flat and even acidic with the aromas being lost during the aging process.
How to Store Red Sparkling Wine?
Red sparkling wine can be stored in the same environment as your white bubbly drink. The bottles should be kept upright, with the labels facing forward. Before serving, chill in the refrigerator for four hours. Take the wine out of the fridge 10 minutes before pouring to achieve the perfect temperature for drinking the wine.
Wine connoisseurs also recommend placing the bottle in an ice bucket, 30 minutes before pouring. Occasionally rotate the bottle gently to ensure it gets chilled evenly. Before opening the bottle, take the wine out of the ice bucket and tilt it upside down to chill the top end.
Can Unopened Sparkling Wine be Stored in the Fridge?
The fridge may seem like the ideal place for storing sparkling wine especially as it’s cold and not exposed to direct sunlight. But, avoid using the fridge for storing your favorite bubbly until a few hours to one day before drinking it.
Every time you open the refrigerator door, you’re exposing the wine to some light. Over time, this exposure will impact the flavors and taste of your fizzy drink. The other problem with storing sparkling wine this way is the vibrations caused by the fridge motor. These vibrations will alter the taste and texture of your bubbly wine.
One of the key factors of storing sparkling wine correctly is humidity. The fridge is known for drying out foods and the same will happen to your fizzy wine. Another issue with storing any wines, including sparkling wine, in the fridge is the leakage of food smells through the cork into the wine. This will affect the taste of your sparkling drink.
Sparkling wine can be chilled in the fridge before serving and the recommended time is four hours. Champagne should ideally be served at 40⁰F while Prosecco and other sparkling wines are best at 46⁰F.
Can Sparkling Wine be Stored in the Freezer?
Storing sparkling wine in the freezer is a no-no! With the high carbon dioxide content, the bottle will explode if left for too long in the freezer. The icy cold conditions will also change the fizziness and flavor profile of the wine.
However, if you want to chill sparkling wine quickly before serving it can be placed in the freezer for no more than 20 minutes. Make sure you set the timer on your mobile or watch so you don’t forget your bubbly and leave it for too long in the freezer!
Drinking a glass of bubbly is a wonderful way to enjoy wine. Storing sparkling wine correctly makes all the difference to the experience. When stored properly, you’ll benefit from all the fizziness, flavors, taste, and aromas that make your sparkling wine a special treat.
Prepare your basement so you can start storing sparkling wine at home properly and enjoy every glass of bubbly, whatever the occasion.