With the pandemic affecting the wedding industry in unimaginable ways, many couples have had to face the heartbreaking decision to cancel or postpone their weddings.
Here, Francoise Peretti, Director of Champagne Bureau UK, shares her five simple tips on how to safely preserve your champagne during the pandemic.
"If there is one day in your life you know you'll be drinking Champagne, it's almost certainly your wedding day. The ultimate drink of celebration – coronation drink of the kings of France, made famous by royal courts across Europe in the 18th century – this golden, sparkling elixir brings a sense of joyfulness and luxury to any party or reception. However, this year, it's likely you'll have had to make the incredibly difficult decision to postpone the big day – possibly even until 2021, if you're being cautious.
"Among the many things you need to take care of, if you've already bought the champagne for your reception, you might be left with a lot of fine wine waiting around the house for months – which is unlikely to be the best conditions for it, especially if you've invested in buying something extra special. First be reassured, Champagne is aged in the producers 'cellars and therefore will keep for several years if given the right care (in the cellars of Champagne there are 1.3 billion bottles!). With this in mind, I've put together some simple tips on how to store your bottles safely, to preserve their wonderful aromatic properties and radiant freshness until we are ready to meet and celebrate again."
Keep Temperature Constant
Maintaining a stable temperature is essential to making sure your champagne doesn't get damaged. This means that rooms such as the kitchen, conservatories, sheds and garages should be out of bounds, as they experience the biggest fluctuations in temperature between hot and cold. You should also ensure to keep bottles far away from radiators, air conditioning and Aga cookers. The ideal temperature is approximately 7-10 degrees – if you have a spare room, closet, pantry, or cellar that fits the bill, make sure to keep them there.
Protect Bottles from Lightstrike
Often overlooked, light – whether sunlight or artificial – can wreak havoc on your champagne (and all fine wines!), causing it to degrade at an accelerated rate. Exposure to blue and ultraviolet light can make once fruity aromas change to much more unsavoury tastes. This can happen quickly, so it's important to keep bottles unboxed and in the dark. Thankfully, champagne producers use anti UV bottles which protect the wines, however, it's wise to be careful and not expose the bottles to direct light for long periods of time.
Avoid Exposure to Strong Scents and Vibrations
Another case for keeping bottles out of the kitchen, garden shed or garage is that strong scents such as spiced cooking, paint and any garden chemicals can be absorbed through the corks. Likewise, enduring long-term or heavy vibration might cause damage to the wine, so I recommend keeping your bottles away from washing machines and dryers. This also means that storing champagne in refrigerators long term is not ideal, as the buzzing, various foods and continuous cold could affect the wine.
Opt for Horizontal Racking
The general consensus is that if you are storing bottles for a long period of time they should be kept horizontally rather than upright, to reduce the risk of oxygenation. Recent research has shown that in the case of champagne specifically this is not essential, as the pressure within the bottle should protect the wine. However, if possible I would advise to lay bottles on their sides.Know Your Storage OptionsNot everyone has the space or a suitable location to store champagne in their house. If that's you, do not panic, as there are plenty of wine storage companies which offer to store wines in optimum conditions safely until you need it. A two-minute Google search will help you to know the options in your local area and to choose the best solution for you.