How do you open a bottle of Champagne safely?

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The last thing you want to do is look clumsy when you’re opening a bottle of Champagne this holiday season. Not only will your friends snicker but you may also lose a lot of good Champagne in the process. Here are the basic steps to remember when you have a bottle in your hand.


1. Firstly, begin by removing the foil covering the Champagne bottle. In olden times the foil was used to prevent mice from biting into the cork. Now it exists more for the style than anything else.
2. Once the foil is removed, put your thumb on top of the cork to prevent it from shooting into the sky before you’re ready. Remember to keep the cork pointed in a safe direction.
3. Next comes the undoing of the wire cage. The cage is used to prevent the cork from popping out until you’re ready. Remember to keep one thumb on the cork as you do this.
4. Now that the cage is off, put a towel over the cork. This will prevent things from getting messy and it makes it easier to grip the cork.
5. Hold the cork in one hand under the base of the towel and the bottle in the other. Gently and slowly turn the bottle while holding the cork still. Your goal should be to have the cork ease of with a soft “whoof” rather than a pop.
6. Once you’ve eased the cork off, pour the Champagne immediately. You don’t want to lose the bubbles. Slide the towel around the neck of the bottle as you begin pouring.
That’s it! Simple and straightforward. Don’t forget to raise a toast once everyone’s glasses are filled. One of my favorite toasts is –
May your troubles be less
and your blessings be more
and nothing but happiness
come through the door

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4 Comments

  1. OPENING SPARKLING WINE
    1. Take the order from the guest; reconfirm either the name and vintage or the bin number.
    2. Present the bottle to the right hand side of the host; repeating the name and vintage of the wine. A clean white napkin should frame the bottle, label should be facing up; this enables the host to verify that the right bottle has been brought. An ice bucket should be close by.
    3. The bottle should be opened in the bucket to the right of the host or directly above it; this ensures catching any spillover.
    4. Cut or tear foil and begin to loosen the wire ring on the bottle; a napkin should be placed over the top of the cork and the other hand should have a firm hold on the bottle. Six turn is all that it takes to remove the cage, always keep a firm pressure grip on the cork. The cork is under 90 pounds per square inch of pressure, more if warm or shaken, it is a loaded weapon.
    5. Keep the bottle pointed away from any guest to prevent an accident; twist the bottle, not the cork. If it is in your hands, place the bottle at a 45 degree angle; try to avoid the pop, it should just whisper.
    6. Wipe the top of the bottle to remove any debris.
    7. Place cork on the table, preferably on a coaster, to the right of the host and pour an ounce of wine for the host to sample.
    8. If the guest approves the wine, pour clockwise around the table, women first, then gentlemen, then the host last, even if it is a woman.
    9. Pouring depending on the number of guests, you never want to overfill a glass, 3 ounces is good, if there are more people, look to sell another bottle but everyone should get a glass from the first bottle. It is embarrassing and bad form to pour out the wine before all the guests receives their portion.
    10. When pouring Champagne or any sparkling wine, pour slowly to the center of the glass, you should keep a constant pour going, it is the height of service if you can pour a glass of champagne without stopping.
    11. Place the bottle in an ice bucket until needed again and cover with linen.
    Jaime Smith
    Director of Communication & Education
    Southern Wine and Spirits of Nevada

  2. Thank you for elaborating on the topic. Your note is instructive and useful specially for the service of wine.

  3. As far as i know, the reason for the colorful foil covering the champagne cork and the upper part of the bottle is that the upper part of the bottle appears empty as it has carbon dioxide gas ( natural-for the fizz). Customers not acquainted with this fact might think they are being short changed!
    Hence, in order to hide this “empty space”, all champagne makers used colorful foils. Though it might have served the purpose of protecting the cork from mice , the additional advantage was to make the product more attractive.
    By similar logic of mice attack, all wine bottles should have been covered with shoulder length of foil.

  4. Please would someone tell me how to pour champagne once the bottle is opened.
    Is there a correct way to face the bottle?
    Is there a correct way to hold the bottle?
    Can you pour down the side of the glass (like beer) to prevent the bubbles causing the wine to overflow?
    Is it OK to fill the flute – of course if there is enough wine to go round?

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