Five Steps To Pop The Cork – Not Your Eye Out

There’s nothing that brings a little sparkle to your holiday get together with friends and family more than champagne. In fact, Americans will consume more than one billion glasses of champagne this year, over 40 percent during the holiday season, according to Impact Databank. While champagne will add the sparkle, what you don’t want to add are injuries to your holiday festivities.

According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, the careless handling of champagne is one of the most common causes for holiday-related eye injuries. These injuries are often caused by improperly opening the bottle, as a champagne cork is just under 90 pounds of pressure – three times the pressure inside a car tire. So, before you break open a high-pressured bottle of bubbly, it’s important to know the proper technique. After 129 years of producing premium California champagne, Korbel Champagne Cellars is the authority on entertaining with bubbly. By following these simple tips, you can open the champagne bottle like a pro – without injury or spillage.

While the popping of a cork may sound festive and exciting, it tends to waste champagne and can be dangerous. The recommended Korbel way to properly open a bottle is to ease the cork out slowly, with the sound of a gentle sigh. In order to celebrate this holiday season without injury (or wasting champagne) follow these five easy steps:

  1. Make sure your champagne is chilled and unshaken. Chill the bottle for at least four hours in the refrigerator (a warm bottle is more likely to pop unexpectedly).
  2. Remove the foil cap covering the top of the bottle, exposing a wire hood.
  3. Undo the wire hood with six half-turns of the knob.
  4. Hold the bottle at a 45 degree angle while holding the cork firmly with one hand and the base of the bottle with the other. Be sure to point the bottle away from your guests.
  5. Do not twist the cork.  Rather, turn the bottle slowly while letting the cork glide out gently, emitting a gentle sigh.

Note: Never use a corkscrew.  A champagne cork is highly compressed. If a corkscrew is inserted at an angle, you may have an exploding bottle in your hand.

Korbel Champagne Cellars in Sonoma, CA

“Whether you’re toasting a good year or serving Mimosas at brunch, the holidays always call for champagne,” said Gary Heck, owner and president of Korbel Champagne Cellars. “Opening a champagne bottle can be tricky, but don’t be intimidated.  Follow these tips and you’re sure to get your fine bubbly, like Korbel, in the glass, rather than all over your guests.”

Other Champagne tips:

  • Expect six generous glasses from one standard size (750ml) bottle.
  • The most popular champagne is Brut – it’s medium-dry, light and crisp.
  • There are more than 50 million bubbles in a standard bottle of champagne.
  • It’s best to serve champagne in tapered champagne flutes, as they highlight the fine stream of bubbles. While short, wide goblets can be used in a pinch, they tend to cause the bubbles to dissipate quickly.
  • When transporting champagne, keep the bottles upright. The shaking bottles receive in the car can cause champagne to quickly lose its sparkle after opening.  Upright bottles keep wine movement to a minimum and the bubbles in the wine.
  • Crisp and versatile, Brut, Natural, Chardonnay and Brut Rose are delicious with hors d’oeuvres and rich enough to enjoy with many main courses. Sweet Rose, Extra Dry and Sweet Cuvee offer a bit of sweetness that works well as an aperitif or paired with dessert.
  • Celebrate responsibly.  Don’t drink and drive; take a taxi or have a designated driver do the honors.  The best celebrations are those from which everyone gets home safely.

Established in 1882 in Sonoma County’s Russian River Valley, Korbel Champagne Cellars produces the United States’ most popular methode champenoise champagne. Owned and managed by the Heck family since 1954, Korbel currently makes eleven California champagnes.