The most important etiquette considerations on how to serve and drink Champagne. Tips to be the ideal host or the perfect guest.
What Champagne etiquette is
Champagne etiquette is the set of rules to properly serve and drink Champagne. Such rules help avoid behaviors that can disrespect hosts or guests, or make you look unpolite.
If you are hosting, follow Champagne etiquette to appropriately serve it to your guests.
If you are a guest, respect Champagne etiquette rules to properly drink and enjoy it.
What you should know about Champagne
Champagne is a sparkling wine. It is produced in the Champagne region of France. Champagne is made mostly from grapes Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier, and Chardonnay.
Champagne can be golden yellow to rosé in color. Its taste can range from very dry to sweet.
Etiquette rules for serving and drinking Champagne
1) How to store Champagne
Store Champagne in a cool and dry place. The temperature should be constant.
You can store Champagne bottles on a side or standing up. Keep them away from light, either artificial or direct sunlight. Keep them far from sources of heat.
Do not store Champagne in the fridge or freezer. Both are too cold and risk spoiling the wine. The freezer can even make the cork pop.
2) How to prepare Champagne
Do not pour Champagne in a decanter.
Place the bottle in an ice bucket for 30-45 minutes before serving. Alternatively, put the bottle in the fridge for 1 or 2 hours. Avoid the freezer as it is too cold and risks popping the cork.
Avoid chilling glasses in the fridge. Condensation waters down the wine and its aroma.
You can mix Champagne in cocktails. Such as Champagne cocktail, Mimosa, or Bellini.
3) How to serve Champagne
Champagne serving temperature
Serve Champagne chilled but not cold. The ideal temperature is 8-10°C (47-50°F). Avoid colder temperatures, as they prevent the wine from releasing its full bouquet.
How to open a bottle of Champagne
Present Champagne in its bottle. It is good etiquette to open the bottle at the dining table or in front of your guests.
Open the bottle by holding the cork with your palm. Gently rotate the bottle to ease the cork out. Avoid popping the cork as it is bad manners.
Be careful about the pressure. Do not shake the bottle. When you open the bottle, have a couple of empty glasses ready nearby, to pour the wine if it spills.
Never spray champagne.
After opening the bottle, you can place it in a bucket of water and ice to keep it chilled.
How to pour Champagne
Hold the bottle by its body, never by its neck or cork.
Serve Champagne in flutes or saucer glasses. Flutes are most appropriate to keep Champagne sparkling. Saucers are the best option to make Champagne release its full bouquet.
Do not fill the glasses in one go. Pour a small quantity first. Allow the foam to go down. Then pour some more. Fill the glass beyond half, but not full.
4) When to serve & drink Champagne
Champagne is an important, often expensive wine. While it is appropriate for many occasions, it is more common in formal gatherings or celebrations.
Serve it at a formal dinner, a party, or any special occasion that calls for celebration.
Champagne can accompany an elegant meal, a rich cheese platter, or dessert.
5) Food & aromas to pair Champagne with
Champagne is a prized wine. Pair it with prized foods.
Pair Champagne with fish and seafood. Lobster, crab, scampi, caviar, and oysters.
Champagne goes well with foie gras, or cheese. Camembert, Brie, or Parmigiano.
Match Champagne with dessert, or fruit. Strawberries, berries, almonds, or nuts.
Do not pair it with salty, spicy, and savory foods.
6) Etiquette for drinking Champagne
Drink Champagne in a flute or saucer glass. Hold the glass by its stem to avoid warming the wine with your hand.
Drink in small sips. A glass of Champagne should last between 10 and 20 minutes. Never drink shots of Champagne.
Never add ice to Champagne. However, it may be appropriate to add ice to a Champagne-based cocktail.
Champagne etiquette: the worst mistakes
The Rude Index identifies and ranks negative behaviors.
A high score (8-10) means that the behavior has the potential to trigger a conflict with others. A medium score (4-7) means that the behavior risks making you look inelegant and unsophisticated. More about the Rude Index and its methodology here.
Avoid the worst Champagne etiquette mistakes.
- 10/10. Getting drunk.
- 9/10. Spraying Champagne
- 8/10. Popping the cork.
- 7/10. Drinking shots of Champagne.
- 7/10. Adding ice to Champagne
- 7/10. Serving Champagne warm.
Additional information for properly serving Champagne
How many calories per serving?
Counting calories is important to stay healthy and to correctly plan a menu.
Champagne contains about 126 calories per 100 ml (3.5 oz). An individual serving of a glass of Champagne is typically 90 ml (3 oz) and has 113 calories.
How to buy the best Champagne
A crucial factor in Champagne etiquette is to serve the best product possible to your guests.
Champagne is available all year round.
Choose the best
Champagne is an Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée (AOC). It is a French certification that guarantees quality and production methods. The acronym AOC must be present on the label.
Good champagne shows a consistent stream of small bubbles from the bottom of the glass to its top.
Other factors to consider when choosing your ideal Champagne are:
- Vintage or Non-Vintage.
- Color of the grapes.
- Color of the wine.
- Dry or sweet
Millésimé (Vintage Champagne) displays the date of the vintage on its label. It is made only in exceptional years. If the label does not display a date, the champagne is non-millésimé. Non-millésimé (Non-Vintage) is a blend of the crop of different years. It is made every year. It is a winery’s flagship Champagne.
Champagne Blanc de Blancs comes from only white grapes. Champagne Blanc de Noirs comes from only black grapes.
Regular Champagne is of golden yellow color. Its nuances range from grey to green. The deeper the color, the bolder the wine. Rosé Champagne is light pink in color and has more body than regular Champagne.
There are 7 types of Champagne, based on their residual sugar.
- Brut Nature (most dry).
- Extra Brut.
- Extra Sec.
- Demi-sec (medium dry).
- Doux (sweet).
Alternatives to Champagne
The obvious choice is to substitute Champagne with another popular sparkling wine. Prosecco, Franciacorta, or Cava are popular options.