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Correct way to open a bottle of Champagne

c
collioure Dec 21, 2013 02:07 PM

From my restaurant days I had learned to turn to the cork and not the bottle in order to prevent agitating the Champagne and causing an explosion.

Online I am reading that one turns the bottle back and forth.

  1. z
    zin1953 Jan 19, 2014 11:27 AM

    See http://us.moet.com/Our-Champagnes/The...

    Moët & Chandon tells people on their website to "Grasp the base of the bottle and twist it gently away from the cork (rather than twisting the cork away from the bottle). Gently remove the cork."

    1 Reply
    1. re: zin1953
      Bill Hunt Jan 21, 2014 07:37 PM

      Hey, they copied that move from me!!!!

      Hunt

    2. Veggo Jan 6, 2014 05:21 AM

      What America needs next is an ACA that stands for....
      Affordable Champagne Act !

      1 Reply
      1. re: Veggo
        Bill Hunt Jan 21, 2014 07:36 PM

        But only from the "Small Producer Exchanges!"

        I would sign up for the Platinum Plan now - if the Web site were to work.

        Hunt

      2. i
        INDIANRIVERFL Jan 4, 2014 08:16 AM

        Turn the bottle, turn the cork.

        Palm of hand or use a towel.

        This reminds me of the Great Toilet Paper Debate in Ann Landers many years ago. When putting a roll on the spindle, should the paper dispense over the roll or under the roll?

        Bottom line for me is whether there is paper or not.

        Got Champagne?

        6 Replies
        1. re: INDIANRIVERFL
          o
          OscarFox Jan 5, 2014 05:00 PM

          Wait, there's the issue of insurance mentioned a few feet up:

          " c oliver Jan 3, 2014 12:32 AM

          Reading this, I'm reminded of why we have insurance(s). We hope we never need it but take the precaution anyway"

          Got insurance?

          Just curious: how does one get champagne insurance? How expensive is it? Pay by the bottle? Do premiums change with bottle price?

          1. re: OscarFox
            k
            kagemusha49 Jan 5, 2014 06:15 PM

            I think those Obamacare ads covered that one.

            1. re: OscarFox
              c oliver Jan 5, 2014 06:30 PM

              You know I was referring to the towel as "insurance," right?

              1. re: c oliver
                i
                INDIANRIVERFL Jan 6, 2014 07:32 AM

                Woven by 40 year old virgins in the light of a new moon, I'm sure.

                1. re: INDIANRIVERFL
                  Veggo Jan 6, 2014 07:36 AM

                  Indian, go drink your coffee. There are no 40 year old virgins, and new moons are dark...:)

              2. re: OscarFox
                Bill Hunt Jan 21, 2014 07:35 PM

                I wonder more about Toilet Paper Insurance - is that like a Homeowner's policy rider, or something separate????

                Hunt

                BTW - over the top.

            2. Bill Hunt Jan 1, 2014 06:25 PM

              I chill to about 45F. Then, as I remove the cage, I keep a hand over the cork. Finally, I place a bar towel over the cork, and twist the bottle beneath it. To date, no accidents, and only a muted "poof," upon removing the cork - with the exception of last night, when a 1995 Vintage Champagne had lost its fizz, due to a loose cork - luckily, we had a backup, just over the hill in my cellar, so all was not lost.

              Hunt

              11 Replies
              1. re: Bill Hunt
                c
                collioure Jan 5, 2014 08:45 AM

                Bill, one does not remove the cage. One uses the cage to grasp the cork firmly within the towel.

                Andy

                1. re: collioure
                  z
                  zin1953 Jan 5, 2014 01:40 PM

                  a) I always remove the cage.

                  b) Not even the DGSE is going to kick in your front door and haul your a$$ off to Fleury-Mérogis if you do/don't take off the cage, or twist the bottle/cork . . . .

                  c) I can't believe this thread has over 100 posts. Oysh!

                  1. re: zin1953
                    Veggo Jan 5, 2014 01:46 PM

                    Aux cage de folles?

                    1. re: Veggo
                      z
                      zin1953 Jan 5, 2014 01:49 PM

                      Cage aux Folle Blanche?

                      1. re: zin1953
                        Veggo Jan 5, 2014 02:04 PM

                        !!

                      2. re: Veggo
                        Bill Hunt Jan 21, 2014 07:31 PM

                        Wow - so glad that I revisited this thread, or I would have missed this post! Worth the trip back.

                        Hunt

                      3. re: zin1953
                        j
                        josephnl Jan 5, 2014 02:01 PM

                        Amazing...after reading all of the experts saying how it should be done...everyone pretty much agrees to 3 steps:
                        1) the champagne should be chilled,
                        2) some rotation between the cork and the bottle should occur, and
                        3) it's generally preferable for the cork not to fly into someone's eye
                        Other than this, it's simply a matter of style and personal preference.

                        1. re: josephnl
                          Bill Hunt Jan 21, 2014 07:34 PM

                          Josephnl,

                          I agree - no drinkers should be injured in the opening of the Champagne!

                          Now, I like to twist the bottle, while holding the cork fairly stationary, but that is probably just me.

                          If I cannot get a slight "poof," I feel that I have failed - or the cork leaked, and the wine is now flat - any loss of the wine, and I am not happy with myself (though that HAS happened).

                          Hunt

                        2. re: zin1953
                          c
                          collioure Jan 5, 2014 02:56 PM

                          Poor technique, Jason
                          And bad karma too!

                          1. re: collioure
                            Veggo Jan 5, 2014 03:02 PM

                            But VERY clever....!

                        3. re: collioure
                          Bill Hunt Jan 21, 2014 07:30 PM

                          That is not my technique. I do not want the cage getting in the way of my towel, and my hands, but perhaps that is just me.

                          Hunt

                      4. k
                        kagemusha49 Dec 26, 2013 07:10 AM

                        This link illustrates almost exactly my method of opening a champagne bottle http://www.wineintro.com/champagne/open/

                        The main difference is that I would typically stand the bottle upright on a table for even more security and I would be turning the cork not the bottle. I guess that if I wanted to be stylish I could dispense with the table. Notice how the hand is grasping the cork. That means the cork CANNOT fly off without being able to bore through the opener's palm. No danger of flying corks and no need for a towel (although the link says you would probably use a towel - as I've said I don't).

                        1. j
                          josephnl Dec 24, 2013 03:50 PM

                          As a retired ophthalmologist who has seen many very serious eye injuries (including lost eyes) from flying champagne corks, as the holidays approach I'd urge everyone regardless of what technique you use to remove the cork...PLEASE...place a towel over the bottle when extracting a champagne cork. I know it doesn't look elegant to do so, but believe me a severely injured eye not only looks inelegant, it ends the party!

                          29 Replies
                          1. re: josephnl
                            k
                            kagemusha49 Dec 24, 2013 04:46 PM

                            Sigh - grasp the top of the cork as you would grab a doorknob and turn. Absolutely guaranteed to be safer than any other method, including towels.

                            1. re: kagemusha49
                              j
                              josephnl Dec 24, 2013 04:51 PM

                              Sigh - the cork can still slip from your fingers. If the bottle is covered with a towel, there is no possible way for the cork to fly into someone's eye! I've seen eyes severely injured by a champagne cork multiple times...if you see it just once, you will rethink about what's safest!

                              1. re: josephnl
                                k
                                kagemusha49 Dec 24, 2013 04:58 PM

                                The cork CANNOT "slip" from my fingers because my palm completely covers the cork. And a cork can certainly blow past a towel. So I suggest you rethink.

                                1. re: kagemusha49
                                  c oliver Dec 24, 2013 05:00 PM

                                  I have pretty weak hands and a cork COULD escape ME. A cork that lifts a towel would have to be one helluva cork.

                                  1. re: c oliver
                                    k
                                    kagemusha49 Dec 24, 2013 06:05 PM

                                    The only way the cork could escape me is by tunneling though my palm

                                    1. re: kagemusha49
                                      c oliver Dec 24, 2013 06:13 PM

                                      I'm probably not able to turn the cork and 100% keep my hand firmly over the cork. Not sure why you have an issue with this.

                                      1. re: c oliver
                                        k
                                        kagemusha49 Dec 25, 2013 01:10 AM

                                        I don't have an issue. Treating eye injuries does not make you an expert on what is safest. Having extensive training in physics, mechanics, fluid mechanics, common sense and more than a few bottles of champagne may make me an expert. BTW - when you turn a doorknob, does your hand suddenly fall off the knob? Because if not, you should be able to use my safest method of opening champagne bottles (except maybe in the Southern hemisphere as discussed elsewhere).

                                        1. re: kagemusha49
                                          sunshine842 Dec 25, 2013 04:30 PM

                                          no, but treating eye injuries does make someone more expert on the consequences of improper opening techniques -- at least a reliable first-hand witness of what happens when you don't do it right.

                                          (and a much stronger witness of how accidents don't always happen to someone else)

                                          Me? I figure the folks who work for -- and who *are* the producers of Champagne in Champagne (both large corporate houses, and small independent producers) have probably figured out the best way to open a bottle of sparkling wine...so I'll follow their lead. When in Reims, do as the Reimsans do (sic)

                                          1. re: sunshine842
                                            k
                                            kagemusha49 Dec 25, 2013 04:57 PM

                                            When logic fails, just be a sheep? An oft-repeated theme in medical practice is the standard accepted practice being proved completely fallacious. I'm sure you can think of many examples. This turns out to be the case in areas other than medicine too. The idea that noone other than a French champagne maker could know something about the mechanics of Portuguese cork is somehow repugnant to me.

                                            1. re: kagemusha49
                                              sunshine842 Dec 25, 2013 05:44 PM

                                              it has nothing to do with the nationality of the producers, nor the origins of the cork, nor science, nor engineering.

                                              It's pretty simple, really -- they open a shitload of bottles every single day, have been opening a shitload of bottles every day for over a century, and every one of them opens it by turning the bottle and not the cork.

                                              I figure that if there was a better way to open a bottle of fizz, they'd have figured it out by now, or at minimum, you'd see some variation from the s.o.p.

                                              1. re: sunshine842
                                                k
                                                kagemusha49 Dec 26, 2013 03:51 AM

                                                Of course it could be they've never thought of doing anything different. Generally, innovation tends to come from outsiders.

                                                1. re: kagemusha49
                                                  sunshine842 Dec 26, 2013 05:14 AM

                                                  it could be they're waiting for monkeys to fly out of the bottle, too....

                                                  Both scenarios rather unlikely.

                                                  1. re: sunshine842
                                                    k
                                                    kagemusha49 Dec 26, 2013 05:41 AM

                                                    Beliefs like yours explain why established practices are so hard to change.

                                                    1. re: kagemusha49
                                                      sunshine842 Dec 26, 2013 06:48 AM

                                                      so here's your opportunity.

                                                      do the research.
                                                      Write the paper.
                                                      Invent something that does it better.

                                                      Let the world beat a path to your door.

                                                      Instead of trashing how it's done all day every day, find a better way.

                                                      1. re: sunshine842
                                                        k
                                                        kagemusha49 Dec 26, 2013 06:57 AM

                                                        Um, I could but Isaac Newton pretty much said it all over 300 years ago.

                                              2. re: kagemusha49
                                                j
                                                josephnl Dec 25, 2013 09:21 PM

                                                Wow! (responding to kagemusha's obvious expertise on all matters of Portuguese cork)

                                                1. re: josephnl
                                                  k
                                                  kagemusha49 Dec 26, 2013 03:53 AM

                                                  I wouldn't exactly say I'm an expert although I have spent a lot of time in Portugal. I'm just rather amazed that almost everyone here is willing to accept something that is completely contrary to Newtonian mechanics.

                                                  1. re: kagemusha49
                                                    sunshine842 Dec 26, 2013 05:13 AM

                                                    Bumblebees are not, from an aeronautics standpoint, capable of flight.

                                                    This doesn't seem to stop them.

                                                    1. re: sunshine842
                                                      k
                                                      kagemusha49 Dec 26, 2013 05:42 AM

                                                      Ah the old bumblebee urban myth.

                                              3. re: sunshine842
                                                Veggo Dec 25, 2013 05:39 PM

                                                I already have my bubbly for New Years, all I need now is a welders mask so I can safely open it. I guess I don't know what I never knew, and just got lucky with today's champagne. No casualties, no 911 calls.

                                                1. re: Veggo
                                                  sunshine842 Dec 25, 2013 05:47 PM

                                                  eh, just buy the screwtops and open them behind a ballistic-proof barricade.

                                                  1. re: sunshine842
                                                    Veggo Dec 25, 2013 05:54 PM

                                                    That's part of what Admiral Bobby Inman taught me when I was building embassy housing in risky countries...

                                                2. re: sunshine842
                                                  j
                                                  josephnl Dec 25, 2013 09:17 PM

                                                  How do the folks in Reims do it? Do they use a towel/napkin for safety as I've suggested most novices do?

                                                  1. re: josephnl
                                                    sunshine842 Dec 25, 2013 09:22 PM

                                                    not all, but a fair number do.

                                                    I was referring particularly to holding the cork and rotating the bottle.

                                            2. re: kagemusha49
                                              j
                                              josephnl Dec 24, 2013 07:11 PM

                                              This may work well for you and perhaps some professionals, but it certainly should not be recommended for most folk. I wish you luck, but for the other 99%, please put a towel over the bottle when uncorking champagne.

                                      2. re: kagemusha49
                                        Veggo Dec 24, 2013 11:38 PM

                                        When opening champagne in the southern hemisphere, be sure to twist the cork clockwise.

                                        1. re: Veggo
                                          k
                                          kagemusha49 Dec 25, 2013 12:23 AM

                                          Those pesky Coriolis forces? Forgot about them.

                                          1. re: kagemusha49
                                            Veggo Dec 25, 2013 12:28 AM

                                            Indeed, flush them away.

                                            1. re: Veggo
                                              k
                                              kagemusha49 Dec 25, 2013 01:11 AM

                                              Whatever turns you on - clockwise (Southern hemisphere) or anticlockwise (Northern).

                                    2. ChefJune Dec 24, 2013 08:48 AM

                                      Interesting. I hold the bottle and turn/ease the cork out of the bottle. with towel over the top.

                                      1. Robert Lauriston Dec 23, 2013 05:31 PM

                                        It seems to me that the cork is going to be subjected to the same amount of torsion whether you twist it or the bottle, except to the extent that twisting the bottle gives you more leverage due to the larger diameter.

                                        9 Replies
                                        1. re: Robert Lauriston
                                          z
                                          zin1953 Dec 23, 2013 05:51 PM

                                          Trust me. It makes a difference. (Or don't trust me, but it will make a difference nonetheless.)

                                          1. re: zin1953
                                            maria lorraine Dec 23, 2013 06:13 PM

                                            Agreed. By holding the cork and twisting it, the tendency is for the top part of the "mushroom" to break where it joins the stem. This is especially true for aged Champagne. Turning the bottle around the stem of the mushroom inside the bottle means fewer broken corks, and is much safer in terms of flying corks and spillage. Makes me to pop some right now!

                                            ETA: Just realized I sort of repeated what you said earlier. Sorry!

                                            1. re: maria lorraine
                                              c
                                              collioure Dec 25, 2013 01:44 PM

                                              Well, a big thank you to you and Jason for supplying the why of the correct answer to this question.

                                              It came at my bridge club's Christmas party last when the best player in the club caught me turning the corks of some Jeanmaire NV Champagne. He insisted that one turns the bottle.

                                              When I wrote back with the answer that turning the bottle is only necessary with aged Champagne, he replied as follows – and I am still laughing (mort de rire) –

                                              “I had a Ford C MAX for 3 years. When I had a question regarding the operation of this car, I posed the question to FORD. The idea of asking PEUGEOT or RENAULT would never have come to me!

                                              If I want to have information about Champagne, I would never consider asking an Anglo-Saxon website. But the day when I need to advice on a wine from the Napa Valley or on the way to prepare a hamburger, I would ask a USA web site. Let us leave it to those who develop the products to explain how to consume them.”

                                              I responded by defending the expertise represented at Chowhound and the wines of the West Coast which I now believe produces the best wine in the world.

                                              1. re: collioure
                                                z
                                                zin1953 Dec 25, 2013 02:49 PM

                                                Well, keep in mind that at least 50% of my *personal* wine consumption is French; some 30-40% is from Spain and Portugal, with the Austria, Germany, and Italy accounting for the rest. If I open more one bottle a month of California wine for dinner, I'd be surprised . . .

                                                1. re: zin1953
                                                  c
                                                  collioure Dec 26, 2013 01:16 AM

                                                  Well, 99% of my wine consumption is French, yet I pereceive that the West Coast has really arrived. I drink such good wine there every summer. When we visit a vineyard, all the wines are very good now (wasn't that way 25 years ago). The competition is intense, the vines are mature, UC-Davis is world class, the ratings I see in Wine Enthusiast . . . there are so many indications of how the West Coast has raised its game.

                                                  1. re: collioure
                                                    z
                                                    zin1953 Dec 26, 2013 11:00 AM

                                                    Ratings???? Really??? Hmmm . . .

                                                    UC Davis has been considered to have a world-class Oenology and Viticulture program for approx. 50 years or more.

                                                    That said, everyone f's up from time to time, and while there are some mature vineyards in California, and always have been since the mid-1800s, UCD's recommendations of using AXR-1 rootstock set back the overall age of the state's "vignoble" by a considerable amount.

                                                    It *is* true, however, that California makes the best California wines in the world! Can't argue with that . . .

                                                2. re: collioure
                                                  Robert Lauriston Dec 25, 2013 02:59 PM

                                                  The main issue here seems to be the cork, and the French import those.

                                            2. re: Robert Lauriston
                                              j
                                              josephnl Dec 25, 2013 03:06 PM

                                              Of course you are right, Robert L. In addition the the "leverage" that you correctly point out, I suppose the if you twist the cork (rather than the bottle), there might be a greater possibility of wiggling the cork which could result in a weak cork snapping off,

                                              1. re: josephnl
                                                Robert Lauriston Dec 25, 2013 03:08 PM

                                                If you turn the bottle you can probably hold the cork straighter, that's true.

                                            3. z
                                              zin1953 Dec 23, 2013 10:28 AM

                                              I was always taught -- by the people in Champagne -- to hold the cork still, and turn the bottle . . .

                                              BUT the IMPORTANT thing is to ease the cork out with just a "kiss" of a sound -- carefully and gently -- and not push it out with a loud "POP" so that half the wine inside the bottle follows the cork (unless you've just won the World Series or a F1 Grand Prix), and the cork itself hits someone in the eye!

                                              18 Replies
                                              1. re: zin1953
                                                Veggo Dec 23, 2013 10:33 AM

                                                As I age, I go more with what we'll refer to as your nun fart method. But there are still moments, after a careful survey of overhead light fixtures, when I like the full pop. I did get soaking wet with Niki Lauda at his GP win at Watkins Glen.

                                                1. re: zin1953
                                                  c
                                                  collioure Dec 23, 2013 11:45 AM

                                                  I'm looking for and not exactly hearing the why of turning the bottle instread of turning the cork.

                                                  1. re: collioure
                                                    o
                                                    OscarFox Dec 23, 2013 12:12 PM

                                                    That way you hold the cork, therefore cork can't jump.
                                                    If you turn the cork instead, between turns you need to release your grip on the cork, allowing it the chance to jump.

                                                    1. re: OscarFox
                                                      c
                                                      collioure Dec 23, 2013 12:41 PM

                                                      The cork is held by the cage inside a towel.

                                                      Everybody handles the cork in this way.

                                                      1. re: collioure
                                                        Green_Shartreuse Dec 23, 2013 12:56 PM

                                                        The muselet should be removed before serving.

                                                        1. re: Green_Shartreuse
                                                          p
                                                          plaidbowtie Dec 23, 2013 06:06 PM

                                                          It absolutely should not be.

                                                          http://vimeo.com/37904814
                                                          (irrelevant to the convo until 3:45ish)

                                                          1. re: plaidbowtie
                                                            Green_Shartreuse Dec 23, 2013 06:12 PM

                                                            Yeah, I'll go with what I learned while certifying through The Court of Master Sommeliers, thanks.

                                                            1. re: Green_Shartreuse
                                                              p
                                                              plaidbowtie Dec 23, 2013 06:13 PM

                                                              Then you know that the Guild of Sommeliers is directly affiliated with the court, and Bobby Stuckey is one of the MSs.

                                                              1. re: plaidbowtie
                                                                Green_Shartreuse Dec 23, 2013 06:22 PM

                                                                I highly doubt every. single. one. of my instructors gave bum info.

                                                                1. re: Green_Shartreuse
                                                                  p
                                                                  plaidbowtie Dec 23, 2013 06:24 PM

                                                                  I mean, believe what you want. That video is pulled directly from the guild of sommeliers champagne service study guide, and is given by an MS. Removing the cage before taking a cork out of a bottle is dangerous, period.

                                                                  1. re: plaidbowtie
                                                                    Green_Shartreuse Dec 23, 2013 06:29 PM

                                                                    Oh, I'll certainly believe what I was told multiple times.

                                                                    1. re: plaidbowtie
                                                                      k
                                                                      kagemusha49 Dec 23, 2013 08:27 PM

                                                                      I always remove the cage. For starters, not doing so makes it just about impossible to turn the cork (or turn the bottle - whatever). You can safely do so by keeping a finger on the top of the cork as you do so. Then, as I said before, you can safely remove the cork if you keep your palm over the cork as you turn it.

                                                                  2. re: plaidbowtie
                                                                    z
                                                                    zin1953 Dec 24, 2013 01:56 PM

                                                                    For whatever it's worth -- and certainly it's not worth much -- I don't know Bobby Stuckey. I *do* know, however, somewhere between 17-20 people with Master Sommelier degrees. Aside from one particular croquet match, where we did try to see how far we could get a sparkling wine cork to "fly," I don't recall seeing any of them twisting the cork and holding the bottle . . .

                                                                    Then again, there's more than one way to skin a cat, and as long as one gets the bottle opened safely, who really gives a damn?

                                                            2. re: collioure
                                                              Bill Hunt Jan 1, 2014 06:34 PM

                                                              Er-r-r. no, not EVERYONE.

                                                              Hunt

                                                          2. re: collioure
                                                            Green_Shartreuse Dec 23, 2013 12:54 PM

                                                            Physics.
                                                            When twisting the cork, you're encouraging the upward motion. When twisting the bottle, you're separating it from the cork downwards.

                                                            1. re: collioure
                                                              z
                                                              zin1953 Dec 23, 2013 01:49 PM

                                                              Two-fold:

                                                              1) Twisting the cork (rather than the bottle) puts extra strain and tension on the cork itself. When twisting the cork -- and this is especially true of older, cellar-aged bottles -- the "head" of the cork has the potential to twist/break off and leave the remaining portion of the cork nestled within the neck of the bottle. Twisting the bottle eliminates this extra strain, minimizing the risk of separating the head from the rest of the cork.

                                                              2) it's much easier to control, and -- except when opening a bottle that's either not been chilled, or has been (inadvertently) shaken up -- I never use a towel. Even then, I rarely do. And I always remove the cage prior to opening the bottle.

                                                              1. re: zin1953
                                                                c
                                                                collioure Dec 23, 2013 03:26 PM

                                                                Thank you. That means with older bottles it is advisable to turn them so that cork does not break.

                                                                Otherwise it does not matter. Since I never dealt with such, that explains why I never broke a cork by twisting it.

                                                                1. re: zin1953
                                                                  j
                                                                  josephnl Dec 24, 2013 03:53 PM

                                                                  Recommend you reconsider your technique of never using a towel. See my post above!

                                                            2. b
                                                              BN1 Dec 22, 2013 09:25 AM

                                                              Once, I had a bad bottle shoot the cork 35 ft. straight up in the air. Since that experience, I put a towel over the cork, point the bottle away from my face in a safe direction and gently twist the cork slowly. This has always worked for me.

                                                              15 Replies
                                                              1. re: BN1
                                                                Veggo Dec 22, 2013 09:27 AM

                                                                That may have been a very good bottle.

                                                                1. re: BN1
                                                                  Robert Lauriston Dec 22, 2013 11:22 AM

                                                                  Same here. Corks can sometimes pop out with enough force to injure someone.

                                                                  1. re: Robert Lauriston
                                                                    Veggo Dec 22, 2013 12:11 PM

                                                                    The wealthy have more risks than common people. Flying corks, flying aircraft...and equestrian accidents have been thinning out royalty for centuries.

                                                                    1. re: Veggo
                                                                      Robert Lauriston Dec 22, 2013 12:39 PM

                                                                      Wine doesn't have to be expensive to be highly carbonated, in fact, that's pretty unlikely with the best stuff.

                                                                      I had a $19 bottle of mead get away from me at a party last night. I took the muselet off and while I was reaching for a towel the cork hit the ceiling.

                                                                      1. re: Veggo
                                                                        Bill Hunt Jan 1, 2014 06:32 PM

                                                                        Veggo,

                                                                        Yet, somehow I still exist... though I almost brought down a G-5 the other night, when a cork got away from me.

                                                                        Hunt

                                                                        1. re: Bill Hunt
                                                                          Veggo Jan 1, 2014 06:41 PM

                                                                          Those low belly Grummans are pretty durable. HNY, Bill!

                                                                          1. re: Bill Hunt
                                                                            j
                                                                            josephnl Jan 1, 2014 08:31 PM

                                                                            Exactly the reason I encourage all, even experienced persons like you, to put a bar towel over the cork. Glad you do so. You only need to see one cork/eyeball encounter to convince you that this is prudent.

                                                                            1. re: josephnl
                                                                              Bill Hunt Jan 2, 2014 09:28 PM

                                                                              Some years ago, I had a couple of magnums, and a friend, with a good knowledge of Champagne, was charged with opening them on the patio. I was in the kitchen, doing other wines, and he removed the cage. Before he could place the towel over the cork, it fired off, striking him on the upper cheek. We rushed outside, thinking that he had been blinded. Luckily, he was OK, a tad embarrassed, with a shiner - the cork missed his eye. Still, that reinforced why safety is paramount, when dealing with bubbles - never stand over any bottle!

                                                                              Back in my youth, I ended up with a cork embedded into the acoustic ceiling of my apartment. I had to replace that panel. "Stuff" happens, and taking care is the word of the day.

                                                                              Hunt

                                                                              1. re: Bill Hunt
                                                                                maria lorraine Jan 2, 2014 09:47 PM

                                                                                I had a similar experience. A boyfriend was opening a bottle for New Year's and had just released the cage -- the pressure was too great inside the bottle for that cork -- and the cork flew out, hitting him on the chin and giving him a pretty good cut. Thank goodness, we didn't have to go to the ER for stitches. I patched him up, but it put a damper on the evening.

                                                                                There are far more unstable bottles than one thinks, and the second you take the cage off, boom! Doesn't happen often, but it does happen.

                                                                                1. re: maria lorraine
                                                                                  Bill Hunt Jan 3, 2014 05:28 PM

                                                                                  ML,

                                                                                  It was probably good, that the cage had been removed, so no steel wire, or a steel cap (moderately sharp edges) were involved.

                                                                                  I was quick to get the towel over the cork before, but now do so almost instantaneously.

                                                                                  I am not keen on sporting an eye-patch, unless I am living my fantasy (being a pirate) at Mardi Gras, or Halloweeen.

                                                                                  Glad that no stitches were involved!

                                                                                  Hunt

                                                                                2. re: Bill Hunt
                                                                                  k
                                                                                  kagemusha49 Jan 3, 2014 04:20 AM

                                                                                  None of this can happen if you keep your palm on the top of the cork as the cork would have to pass through solid flesh. It CAN happen if all you have is a towel draped over the cork. Do I need to draw you all a picture? I figured out my method over 50 years ago having watched "professionals" and "adults" mishandle corks using "best practices". So far I've never had the slightest problem - which is more than can be said for the few times I observed the aforementioned adults and professionals have a go at it.

                                                                                  1. re: kagemusha49
                                                                                    j
                                                                                    josephnl Jan 3, 2014 08:30 AM

                                                                                    kagemusha…having studied the art of uncorking champagne for more that 50 years, you obviously have an expertise that is far greater than probably anyone else…and for you, putting a bar towel over the cork is clearly not necessary. For the rest of us mortals, using whatever technique one uses for uncorking champagne, draping a bar towel over the cork is adding a layer of insurance which I think is highly recommended. Yes…I do have some expertise in this area having treated many, many eye injuries in my many years of practicing and teaching ophthalmology. Yes, a cork can still slip from one's fingers even if there is a towel in place, but it no longer represents a significant threat to any eyes…it's ejection velocity will be dramatically reduced by the towel, and the flying bolus will be too large to enter the bony orbit which protects the eye. To you…keep up what you're doing and bon chance! To others less skilled, please drape a towel over the champagne cork when removing it.

                                                                                    1. re: josephnl
                                                                                      c oliver Jan 3, 2014 08:32 AM

                                                                                      Reading this, I'm reminded of why we have insurance(s). We hope we never need it but take the precaution anyway.

                                                                                    2. re: kagemusha49
                                                                                      Bill Hunt Jan 3, 2014 05:29 PM

                                                                                      No pictures are necessary, and glad that you have perfect Champagne technique.

                                                                                      Hunt

                                                                                      1. re: Bill Hunt
                                                                                        j
                                                                                        josephnl Jan 3, 2014 07:13 PM

                                                                                        As always Hunt, you are the ultimate diplomat!

                                                                        2. Green_Shartreuse Dec 22, 2013 09:03 AM

                                                                          Contrary to the song, you twist the bottle.

                                                                           
                                                                          1. a
                                                                            angelmum3 Dec 22, 2013 08:12 AM

                                                                            Not only do we hold firmly and twist the bottle, but we also place a towel over the bottle, so if that cork should get away, it will not fly accidentally in someone's face...

                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                            1. re: angelmum3
                                                                              sunshine842 Dec 22, 2013 08:32 AM

                                                                              The folks in Reims suggest a towel, as well (and most of the tasting-room staff use one)\

                                                                              A towel will not only confine the rare runaway cork, but is then also at hand for the somewhat less-rare occurrence of a spillover.

                                                                            2. Gussie Finknottle Dec 22, 2013 07:54 AM

                                                                              It is certainly easier to hold the cork firmly and twist the bottom of the bottle, and that's what I do. I also loosen but keep the wire cage on to help giving a grip.

                                                                              A well chilled bottle and minimal movement of it prior to opening also helps avoid the wine spurting.

                                                                              1. Veggo Dec 21, 2013 03:59 PM

                                                                                Newton's laws of motion are fairly simple and apply in this circumstance. Turning the cork or turning the bottle is the same as bodies at rest and in motion, laws 1 & 2.
                                                                                For a frisky champagne cork, at a minimum point it toward someone you don't like, and apologize for the accident, and it may be your best chance to blacken an eye with impunity.

                                                                                9 Replies
                                                                                1. re: Veggo
                                                                                  Gussie Finknottle Dec 22, 2013 07:56 AM

                                                                                  I am sure you're only joking. but pointing at anyone is seriously dangerous - people have lost tan eye as a result of being hit with a Champagne cork.

                                                                                  1. re: Gussie Finknottle
                                                                                    Veggo Dec 22, 2013 08:18 AM

                                                                                    Of course I'm joking. I do like the festive sound of the 'pop', though.

                                                                                    1. re: Veggo
                                                                                      Gussie Finknottle Dec 23, 2013 03:49 AM

                                                                                      Sigh.

                                                                                      Thats what it should sound like, i.e. no louder than a nun's fart.

                                                                                      1. re: Gussie Finknottle
                                                                                        Bill Hunt Jan 1, 2014 06:22 PM

                                                                                        I am not Catholic, so cannot quite relate.

                                                                                        Hunt

                                                                                    2. re: Gussie Finknottle
                                                                                      c oliver Dec 22, 2013 08:59 AM

                                                                                      This is why airlines went to screwtop way before anyone else would have considered it.

                                                                                      1. re: c oliver
                                                                                        Gussie Finknottle Dec 23, 2013 03:48 AM

                                                                                        If you're talking Champagne - traditionally closed bottles are used on all the airlines I've been on.

                                                                                        Only screwcaps I've seen on Champagne are on the individual serving airline 187.5ml splits on shorthaul flights.

                                                                                        1. re: Gussie Finknottle
                                                                                          c oliver Dec 23, 2013 06:36 AM

                                                                                          Perhaps it's changed back again. I had a convo with a flight attendant some years ago and he was telling me that.

                                                                                          And, re your above comment, it should be definitely a quiet sound. (I didn't know nuns were allowed to fart!)

                                                                                          1. re: Gussie Finknottle
                                                                                            o
                                                                                            OscarFox Dec 23, 2013 10:50 AM

                                                                                            Speaking about which:
                                                                                            In my last international trips, I noticed a BIG difference in quality btw the "champagne" served before departure, and the real thing they pull once in the air. Asked about to the flight attendants, they consistently said it's due to tax issues. Therefore, flyer beware: on land, Prosecco, at best.

                                                                                            DISCLAIMER: THE ABOVE TEXT IS NOT COPYRIGHTED IN ANY WAY. MODERATORS DO NOT NEED TO REMOVE THIS POST.

                                                                                      2. re: Veggo
                                                                                        k
                                                                                        kagemusha49 Dec 23, 2013 08:17 AM

                                                                                        If the bottle is on a table, turning the bottle also adds friction from the table! Now, I always turn the cork and I grasp the cork with my palm covering it. This is perfectly safe and there is no way for the cork to fly away and blind someone.

                                                                                      3. greygarious Dec 21, 2013 02:45 PM

                                                                                        On his shows, when Jacques Pepin demonstrates opening champagne bottles, he says to keep your thumb on the cork to keep it from shooting off, while turning the bottle. I can't imagine anyone with more authority on this subject.

                                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                                        1. re: greygarious
                                                                                          j
                                                                                          josephnl Dec 24, 2013 03:57 PM

                                                                                          He likely has vastly more experience and skill than most mortals. For the rest of us, a towel is without question the safest way to go.

                                                                                        2. i
                                                                                          INDIANRIVERFL Dec 21, 2013 02:33 PM

                                                                                          While some of us troopers still have a sabre ready to do the honors.

                                                                                          4 Replies
                                                                                          1. re: INDIANRIVERFL
                                                                                            sunshine842 Dec 21, 2013 03:45 PM

                                                                                            too much carbonation let loose at once, AND glass shards in my bubbly?

                                                                                            No, thanks.

                                                                                            Looks impressive as hell, though.

                                                                                            1. re: sunshine842
                                                                                              z
                                                                                              zin1953 Dec 23, 2013 10:28 AM

                                                                                              NEVER any glass shards in the bottle. NEVER!

                                                                                              (if you know how to do it!)

                                                                                              1. re: sunshine842
                                                                                                maria lorraine Dec 23, 2013 12:49 PM

                                                                                                I love sabering, and I've never seen anything but a perfectly clean break.

                                                                                                1. re: maria lorraine
                                                                                                  ChefJune Dec 24, 2013 08:48 AM

                                                                                                  well, but did you see them practice? ;)

                                                                                            2. sunshine842 Dec 21, 2013 02:08 PM

                                                                                              That's what the folks in Reims say.

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