Cool Kitchen Tip: Opening Sparkling Wines and Champagnes

Photo from B Rosen

At sports victories we’ve all seen the winners shaking a bottle of champagne and then opening it so the cork flies off and the wine showers out of the bottle.  Fine for a sports celebration, but you definitely don’t want to do that at home.  Here are a few tips for properly and safely opening sparkling wines:

1.    Always remember that a bottle of bubbly can be dangerous.  It’s packed with six or so atmospheres of pressure (90 pounds per square inch) within each bottle.  That’s about the same as a truck tire.  Never, never point the cork toward anyone (including yourself) when you open the bottle.

2.    Be sure to chill the bottle before opening, to at least 45 degrees or lower.

3.    Make sure the bottle hasn’t been handled roughly before opening.  You don’t want to agitate the carbon dioxide gas and make it even more explosive.

4.    Hold your thumb on the cap with your left hand as you remove the wire cage.

5.    Hold the bottle at 45 degrees and then turn the base of the bottle with your right hand to loosen the cork.  The cork should be released with a hiss and not a pop.  You don’t want to lose any of those precious bubbles!!
A final note – -Pour the wine slowly into the glass so it doesn’t foam over and be sure your glasses are sparkling clean.  Glasses with any soap or other residues hinder the bubbles!

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