A bottle of sparkling wine like Champagne is the cherry on top at a celebratory occasion. It is just as much a joy to drink on a casual evening too, without a reason to celebrate.
The bubbles of this drink add the right amount of oomph to fine dining. What kills the party is a tightly screwed cork and the tricky process to open it.
Knowing how to confidently and correctly open a bottle of sparkling wine is a must. It not just saves you from embarrassment but also keeps everyone around you safe. If you do not believe that it can be risky, try searching ‘opening champagne gone wrong’ and you will see a series of accidents.
A bottle of bubbly has immense pressure within it, roughly 70-90 pounds per square inch. This is why it is sealed with a cork, over which there is a wire cage tightly securing the cork in place.
People try all different types of ways to open it without much knowledge and cause mishaps. To stay safe, you can follow these directions and pop open the bottle like a pro:
Remove the foil:
The first step to opening the bottle of sparkling wine is to peel the foil off the neck. Usually, there is a little tab peeking out which you can grab and take down the foil easily. This reveals the wire cage underneath.
Loosen the wire cage:
You will have to rotate the bottle to find a wire key against the neck of the bottle. Flip it down and turn it about six half turns. This should loosen the cage such that it still fits over the lip of the bottle but is not off it yet. Place your dominant hand over the cork now, since it is not being held down anymore.
Put a towel over the cork:
This is just an extra, precautionary step that you can skip if you are not in a very formal setting. The towel is for added safety in case the cork pops open accidentally or if any wine gets spilt while opening.
Twist the bottom of the bottle to open it:
Place your non-dominant hand around the belly of the bottle or its bottom. Some people like to keep the bottle on the table while doing this, some like to hold it in the air. Make sure your dominant hand’s thumb is still pressing down on the cork.
Keep the bottle angled at 45 degrees and rotate the bottle with your dominant hand towards you. Do not try to rotate the cork, just hold it firmly while twisting the bottle.
Rotate it inwards and you will feel the cork start to loosen up a bit, giving a slight hiss. This is considered more respectful than the famous pop. Though a soft pop is also okay, a loud one is not.
This is the more professional or formal way of opening a sparkling wine bottle. But when the occasion demands a little extra pomp and show, you can make it more fun. Instead of carefully catching the cork in your palm or the towel, you let it fly off like a rocket.
Here are steps on How to Open the Bottle:
- Remove the foil and the wire cage.
- Keeping the bottle angled at 45 degrees, aim it away from your guests, into an open space with nothing to damage.
- Keep one hand around the body of the bottle, and another around the base of the cork.
- As with the first method, you rotate the bottle while firmly holding the cork until you feel it start to loosen up. Here’s your moment of launch!
● As the cork loosens further, remove your hand from it and let it fly off. The pressure inside the bottle is enough to push it out.
● If the cork seems to be stuck, give it an extra hard twist and you should see it fly.
If you are lucky, you will see a stream of wine following the cork’s trajectory. If it does not, just cover the top of your bottle halfway with your thumb and give it a good shake. This will get the wine spraying out and you can click the classic ‘champagne spraying graduation’ photo!
Now, if you really want to take your game further up a notch, try this ultimate method of opening a bottle of bubbly. This is called ‘sabering’ or ‘sabrage’.
Essentially, you take a specially made blunt sword called a sabre and cut open the wine bottle at the neck. Here’s how to do it-
- Make sure you start with a chilled bottle, this makes the process easier and less prone to exploding.
- Remove the foil and the wire cage as usual.
- Hold the bottle in front of you, aiming away from anything that could possibly get hurt or damaged.
- Tilt the bottle around in your non-dominant hand until you find this thin line (the seam) running along its length.
- Glide the sabre or the blunt edge of any knife along the seam in one swift motion.
- Apply maximum force (although you do not need much) as you reach the lip, and the top part of the neck should cut open and fly off.
It is also important to know that this method could be dangerous if you are not doing it right. Make sure you learn from a professional before trying it at home. But once you get the hang of this super cool trick, you’ll have all eyes on you at the parties.
Do you want to be the life of a party? Our upcoming online wine course would help you do just that. We aim to cover everything you need to know about wine, right from the comfort of your home.