How to (Safely) Remove a Champagne Cork

Champagne can be dangerous. And, no, we’re not talking about the stupidity of getting behind the wheel of a car after drinking too much bubbly.

The “don’t drink and drive” mantra applies to all alcohol, not just sparkling wine.

We’re talking about the process of opening a Champagne bottle—which, according to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, is the most common cause of holiday and wedding-day eye injuries.

How could this be? There are two factors involved: The Champagne cork is under about 90 pounds of pressure (about three times that inside a typical car tire), and many people have never before opened a bottle of bubbly.

There’s not much we can do about the first factor, but we can help with the second. And with the 4th of July holiday upon us, it’s a good time to know how to safely open a bottle of sparkling wine…

  1. Remove the foil that covers the capsule. In some cases, there’s a small tab—similar to those found on an orange juice bottle or the plastic covering a CD case—to help get you started. If not, use a fingernail or small knife to get the removal process going.
  2. Place one hand firmly atop the cork to prevent it from “popping” prematurely, and use your other hand to remove the wire cage by slowly untwisting the coil.
  3. Place one hand firmly around the cork (you may want to use a towel), and with your other hand, slowly turn the bottom of the bottle. If you hold the bottle still and turn the cork, it’s much more difficult to prevent the cork from popping out and flying.

The goal is not to get that loud popping sound heard on Lawrence Welk reruns. The sound should more closely resemble the “poof” heard when the Coyote hits the ground after falling over a cliff while in pursuit of the Roadrunner.

Here’s to a safe holiday, and a fun night of fireworks and bubbly!

We’re taking tomorrow off, and will be back on Thursday. If you’re planning to do some barbecuing tomorrow, here are some helpful tips from the Vinesse TODAY archives.

Posted in In the Cellar, Wine Tips
Members-only Wine sampler specials delivered straight to your inbox via our Cyber Circle newsletter.

%d bloggers like this: