When we talk about wine fridges, quite often as the name suggests we focus on the storing of different types of wines inside them and what works best for red, white and rosé wines. Amongst all the wine talk, it is sometimes easy to forget about the more showy, celebratory drink - Champagne. If you have an interest in Champagne and wine, then it is worth reading on, as Champagne has a different set of storage rules compared to your favourite red and white tipples.
The main difference between Champagne and wine is that Champagne is a type of sparkling wine and is typically produced from a double fermentation of grape juice, whereas wine is made from grapes that have been through just one fermentation process.
So the question is, can you store Champagne in a wine fridge? The answer depends on how long you intend on storing your Champagne. For long term storage, unopened Champagnes are best kept in a dark space with no sunlight exposure, sunlight can change the temperature of the Champagne causing the product to change chemically inside the bottle and negatively affecting its taste.
If you are lucky enough to own a wine cellar, you would store your Champagne bottles for the duration of their life there, until you are ready to serve. When that time comes it will need chilling to its optimal serving temperature which is between 8°C-10°C.
As most of us do not have access to a wine cellar, the next best thing is to use a dark cupboard or storage location, such as under the stairs or somewhere that is dark and undisturbed would be perfect. If you are struggling again to find a good enough, dark and uninterrupted place to store your Champagne then you can also solve this by covering your bottles on a wine rack for instance with a dark sheet of fabric so that it creates a black-out location for your Champagne to be stored, shielding it from any further light damage.
Your storage solution for Champagne doesn’t have to be the most visually appealing thing in the world, especially if you are storing it for the long term in a dark place, where you won’t even be able to view it. An undisturbed location for as long as possible, until you are ready to serve is the best and somewhere where the humidity and temperature are consistently the same is key!
A wine fridge would be a good solution, as you can completely control the temperature and humidity levels so as not to disrupt your Champagne. The best thing about wine coolers, firstly, is there are many different types out on the market to cater for your needs. For example, you can have integrated wine coolers or freestanding wine coolers depending on what works best for the space available to you in your home. Secondly, depending on what type of wine or sparkling wine you enjoy most, this can help you decide on the correct wine cooler for you as you can opt for a wine fridge that has a single zone temperature control, although if you are reading this right now you are probably wanting to know if you can store your Champagne alongside your wine in a wine fridge - this is when a dual-zone wine cooler is a must for your Champagne storing needs. A dual-zone wine cooler has the capacity to store different products in this case - Champagne and wine, at two different temperature zones all within one fridge. This means both types of beverages can be kept at their optimum storage or serving temperatures.
There are a few different options for you to choose from when it comes to deciding where to store your champagne, below are some suggestions if you are looking for that perfect location in your home based on the length of time you intend on storing it for.
For the long term, Champagne should be stored between 10-15°C and humidity levels between 70-85%, which both of these factors you can control perfectly with a wine fridge.
Like wine, Champagne should be stored horizontally, in order to protect the cork and keep it moist to prevent it from drying out. It is important to protect the cork as it could give you a hard time when opening your Champagne - the threat of it crumbling into the bottle. Due to the higher price tag of Champagne compared to wine, it would be a definite shame for your lovely champers to spoil because of something totally avoidable.
For the short term storage of Champagne, yes you can use a wine fridge for Champagne bottles. It is best to chill Champagne near to when you are going to serve it, the optimum serving temperature for Champagne is between 8°C and 10°C. If you find yourself in a situation where a wine cooler is not available to you, Champagne can be stored alongside other items of food and drink in a normal household fridge for a very short period only, for the purpose of chilling before serving - for a maximum of three hours. The same rules apply with Champagne and a bucket of ice to bring it to the perfect serving temperature.
Keeping Champagne in your standard household refrigerator is a no go, not even for a few days, as the air is considered too dry which will spoil your Champagne and any temperature that is too cold will dry out the cork and could let oxygen inside the bottle. Also, the on and off lighting from the fridge due to the constant opening and closing of the door throughout the day will cause fluctuations in temperature and would again, contribute to the ruining of the drink.
The only exception to placing your Champagne in a household refrigerator is as mentioned to briefly chill it just before you intend on serving. But please refrain from placing the Champagne upright in a fridge door, doing this even for the short term will disturb the bubbles in Champagne due to the constant movement of the fridge door. But overall avoid keeping Champagne in the refrigerator at all costs for both short and long term periods.