Should Champagne Be Stored On Its Side

There’s an ongoing debate about the best way to store champagne: should bottles be laid down horizontally or stood up vertically? As an enthusiast of both wine and the detailed aspects of champagne, I’ve delved …

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There’s an ongoing debate about the best way to store champagne: should bottles be laid down horizontally or stood up vertically? As an enthusiast of both wine and the detailed aspects of champagne, I’ve delved deeply into this topic to provide you with a comprehensive overview.

Traditionally, wine bottles are stored on their side to keep the cork moist and prevent it from drying out. This is important because a dry cork can shrink and allow oxygen to enter the bottle, which can significantly impact the quality of the wine. However, champagne is a unique beverage that requires special considerations.

Unlike still wines, champagne undergoes a secondary fermentation in the bottle, creating carbon dioxide and giving it those delightful bubbles. As a result, champagne bottles are designed to withstand higher pressure, and the corks used for champagne are typically thicker and more secure than those used for still wines.

Champagne producers argue that storing champagne upright keeps the carbon dioxide in the bottle, preventing it from coming into contact with the cork. They believe that storing champagne on its side could potentially cause the carbon dioxide to push against the cork, leading to a loss of bubbles and freshness. Furthermore, they argue that storing champagne upright reduces the risk of the cork absorbing any unwanted flavors or aromas from the wine itself.

On the other hand, proponents of storing champagne on its side argue that it is still beneficial to keep the cork moist. They believe that although the pressure inside the bottle is higher, the cork is still susceptible to drying out over an extended period. By storing champagne on its side, they claim that it ensures the cork remains in contact with the wine, maintaining its integrity and preventing any potential leakage.

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So, what is the verdict? After researching and considering both sides of the argument, I have come to the conclusion that storing champagne on its side is not necessary. The unique characteristics of champagne, such as the higher pressure and thicker corks, make it less susceptible to the negative effects of a dry cork.

However, there are a few important factors to keep in mind when storing champagne upright. Firstly, it is crucial to store champagne in a cool and dark place to protect it from light and temperature fluctuations. These factors can negatively impact the taste and quality of the wine. Secondly, ensure that the bottles are not exposed to vibrations or movement, as this can disturb the sediment and affect the clarity of the champagne.

Finally, always check individual champagne producers’ recommendations for storage. Some may recommend storing their specific champagne on its side for optimal aging and preservation. It is essential to respect their guidelines to fully enjoy their products.

In conclusion, while the debate surrounding storing champagne on its side continues, it is ultimately a matter of personal preference. Storing champagne upright is perfectly acceptable, given the unique characteristics of this sparkling wine. However, be mindful of the storage conditions and follow the recommendations of individual champagne producers to ensure the best possible drinking experience.

John has been a hobbyist winemaker for several years, with a few friends who are winery owners. He writes mostly about winemaking topics for newer home vintners.
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