How to Pop a Champagne Bottle or Sparkling Wine
I don’t know about you but for me, sparkling wine or champagne makes any occasion feel more like a celebration. A lot of people feel nervous about opening champagne or sparkling wine though. It seems that everyone has a story of a cork exploding across a room and narrowly missing hitting someone. So I am bringing you How to Pop a Champagne Bottle or Sparkling Wine.
I have a friend whose only memory of a family gathering when she was small is of a cork being popped off the bottle and flying across the dining room. It went traveling, first bouncing off a wall and then landing next to her grandparents’ small dog who was not impressed.
She doesn’t even remember what the occasion was but remembers that no champagne or sparkling wine was served at family events for at least a couple of years after that!
Make sure that the memories your family have of special occasions are of the events themselves and not champagne related disasters. Here is how to pop a bottle of champagne or sparkling wine easily, painlessly and without disaster.
How do you keep champagne from exploding?
This is something you really don’t want. Exploding bottles of champagne are a huge mess, dangerous and a waste of good wine!!
The secret to opening champagne or sparkling wine without an explosion or wine spilling everywhere is in the preparation. You need to chill the bottle completely before opening.
The best way to do this is by putting it in the fridge for between a few hours and a day before you want to open it. However, if you forgot to do this or it’s a spur of the moment kind of thing, you can chill it in an ice bath. A 50-50 ice / water mixture will cool your bubbly down the quickest.
The ideal opening temperature for champagne is about 45 degrees Fahrenheit. If it’s warmer than that, the extra pressure inside the bottle will cause the cork to come out with more force, which increases the chance of an exploding cork.
The champagne and sparkling wine you see being sprayed after car races is at slightly below room temperature so that it sprays better because they want the big “pop”. Make sure you dry off the bottle before trying to open it so it doesn’t slip!
The way I learned to open a champagne bottle properly was just recently at a Vine and Dine dinner. Linda Garson is the owner and host for the events that are now in their 14th year and are right here in Calgary. She is a wealth of information about wines and I find it fascinating listening to her and learning.
How do you open a champagne bottle without spilling it?
Step 1: Remove the Foil. Most bottles of champagne and sparkling wine have a pull tab to help you remove the foil. Remove and discard the foil.
Step 2: Loosen the Cage. There’s a wire cage on top of the cork under the foil, the cork and cage together help keep the pressure in. Find the “key” or bent up wire loop on the cage and bend it down. Make sure you put pressure on the cork while you’re untwisting the cage (counter-clockwise) or else it could pop early. All bottles will require seven turns of the “key”.
Step 3: Unscrew the Cork. Sit the champagne or sparkling wine on a flat surface and keep your one hand on the cork. Then twist the bottom of the bottle. Never twist the cork to open champagne or sparkling wine. You should feel the cork loosen as you go. Continue twisting until you hear the telltale pop of the cork coming loose.
Step 4: Enjoy! Pour the champagne into glasses and CHEERS with your friends. You shouldn’t have spilled a drop!!
Now that you know how easy it can be to pop a champagne bottle or sparkling wine, there’s no excuse not to have some on hand for your next celebration!