Popping a bottle of bubbly shouldn’t have to be a stress inducing moment of will it or won’t it work, but a breezy bottle opening in the midst of a celebration. While it seems like a straightforward process, there is a right and a wrong way to open a bottle of champagne (or sparkling wine like Italian prosecco or Spanish cava)—and it’s not (necessarily) with a dramatic stance and saber. Here’s what you need to know to get the party started.
How to Open a Bottle of Champagne Properly
To open a bottle of champagne or sparkling wine, you’ll need: a chilled bottle of champagne and a clean, dry kitchen towel. That’s it! The next steps are as follows:
- Carefully remove the foil wrapping and wire cage from the cork. A wine opener’s knife is helpful but not necessary in removing the foil. Discard the foil and cage.
- Drape your kitchen towel over the top of the bottle (if you don’t have a kitchen towel, the hem of a shirt could work as well, but be careful to aim the bottle away from you and keep a good grip on it). Pick the bottle up and position your non-dominant hand around the base of the bottle and wrap your dominant hand over the towel and around the cork.
- Make sure the top of the bottle is pointed slightly away from you and from other people, then start to twist the bottle gently back and forth with your non-dominant hand while keeping the cork stable.
- As the bottle turns, you’ll feel (and most likely hear) the cork loosening and then popping free (with a quiet, muffled sound) from the bottle and into your hand. Your bottle is ready to pour!
How to Avoid a Champagne Explosion
While it might seem like fun to dance around underneath a champagne rain, we all know the best part of a bottle of sparkling wine is, in fact, drinking it. So, to get most of the bottle in your glass (and, therefore, mouth) and avoid explosions, overflow, and the like, here are a few key tips and tricks you need to know before opening a bottle of champagne.
- Keep it Chill: Sparkling wine is much more likely to burst out of the bottle once opened, so make sure your bottle is chilled to about 45°F.
- Keep it Dry: In order to gently loosen the cork from the bottle, you need to have a good grip on both the bottle and cork. The towel helps with the cork (and also makes it easier to keep the cork from flying around the room), but making sure the bottle is dry will be important as you start to twist it open.
- Pour it Slowly: To avoid a sparkling foam from flowing out of your flute, pour just a splash of wine into the bottom of each glass, wait a few seconds for all the bubbles to simmer down, and then continue pouring until the wine is just below the rim.