What's the safest way to open a bottle of Champagne?

What's the safest way to open a bottle of Champagne?
Dec 26, 2018

Q: What's the safest way to open a bottle of Champagne? Is it true that people have been injured by flying corks?—Dale, Tacoma, Wash.

A: Sparkling wine is synonymous with the holidays, but it's important to celebrate safely. (Just ask world champion downhill skier Lindsey Vonn!) According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, the exit velocity of a flying Champagne cork can reach 50 mph, powerful enough to cause bleeding, abrasions or glaucoma if it hits someone in the eye. While quite rare, a direct hit can even result in loss of sight.

But have no fear: Taking the proper precautions to popping a bottle should ensure a safe and festive celebration. First, chill the bottle appropriately, down to about 40° F to 45° F. Chilling the bottle lessens the pressure inside; overheated bottles of sparkling wine have been known to spontaneously pop. When you're ready to open the bottle (which should never be pointed in the direction of anyone, or anything of value, for that matter), place it on a sturdy surface, with one hand over the top of the cork. With your free hand, unwrap the foil capsule and loosen (but do not remove) the wire cage that secures the cork in place. Finally, with one hand securely gripping the bottle and the other on the cage and cork, gently twist out the cork—ideally it will come out not with an explosive pop but with a gentle sigh. Enjoy responsibly!

Health Q & A

You Might Also Like

How does alcohol intoxication cause “glassy” eyes?

How does alcohol intoxication cause “glassy” eyes?

Glassy or glossy eyes—eyes that look glazed over, shiny and unfocused—are often associated …

Jun 22, 2022
My dog tries to drink from unattended wineglasses. What happens when pets consume wine?

My dog tries to drink from unattended wineglasses. What happens when pets consume wine?

Here at Wine Spectator , we love dogs, especially the canine companions who help in the …

Jun 8, 2022
Can wine and cannabis be consumed together safely?

Can wine and cannabis be consumed together safely?

As social attitudes and legal restrictions around marijuana have loosened in recent years, …

May 25, 2022
Does grappa have the same health benefits as wine?

Does grappa have the same health benefits as wine?

Traditionally served as a digestif, grappa has undergone a renaissance in recent years, led …

Apr 27, 2022
Why does wine make me pee?

Why does wine make me pee?

Our kidneys play a pivotal role in regulating water excretion and absorption, and alcohol …

Apr 13, 2022
Does drinking wine impact the effectiveness of a multivitamin?

Does drinking wine impact the effectiveness of a multivitamin?

Multivitamins serve as a dietary supplements that are intended to fill in nutritional gaps. …

Mar 30, 2022