ask dr. vinny

Hello there! I'm Dr. Vinifera, or "Vinny" for short. Ask me your toughest wine questions, from the technical aspects of winemaking to the fine points of etiquette. I hope you find my answers educational and even amusing. Looking for a particular answer? Check my archive and my FAQs. You can also follow me on Twitter: @AskDrVinny.


Dear Dr. Vinny,

I am thinking of using some type of anti-drip device in Champagne bottles to prevent spills. Maybe one of the round Mylar discs or some other push-in pourer. Do you think this will cause some loss or spoilage of the carbonization, which plays a big part in why we drink and enjoy Champagne? Don’t want to lose those precious bubbles!

—David P., Mission Viejo, Calif.

Dear David,

I don’t see any reason why a pour spout would affect a wine’s carbonation. In fact, I’ve seen some dual-purpose sparkling wine pourers/stoppers out in the market. I haven’t used them myself, but they seem to get good reviews.

Pouring sparkling wine doesn’t have to be complicated. First off, the best thing you can do for your bubbly is to keep it extremely cold. The colder it is, the more you are preserving the bubbles and the less messy it will be to open and pour.

Don’t overthink how you hold the bottle. Sommeliers in fancy restaurants might show off by pouring sparkling wine while holding the bottle with their thumb inside the punt (the depression in the bottom of the bottle), but I wouldn’t recommend trying this unless you have strong thumbs or lots of practice.

To avoid overflowing, don’t try to fill the glass all at once. Pour an ounce or two, wait a few seconds for the froth to settle, then continue pouring. No need to fill the glass to the brim—aim for the two-thirds-full mark. Speaking of preserving bubbles, I’ve read the results of a study that suggests if you pour the bubbly straight down the center of the glass, you might lose more carbonation than if you tilt the glass and pour down the side. If someone offers to refill your glass, it’s OK to offer the glass with a tilt.

—Dr. Vinny


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