Log In / Join Now

Ask Dr. Vinny

Do you have a question for Dr. Vinny? Ask it here...

Dear Dr. Vinny,

Awhile back, I thought I read about how to get more bubbles in a fluted Champagne glass. The more bubbles, the better the taste, right? How do you get more bubbles in Champagne glasses?

—Jack P., Sunriver, Ore.

Dear Jack,

When it comes to sparkling wine, a continuous stream of small bubbles is desirable. I don’t know if the bubbles make the wine taste better, but they sure are fun to drink.

There are a few things you can do to encourage the continuous stream of bubbles. First is to keep your bubbly nice and cold. Carbon dioxide makes the bubbles happen, and this gas is more soluble as the temperature of the liquid goes down. That’s why warm carbonated beverages—from Champagne to beer to soda—will fizz up as the carbon dioxide escapes rapidly. If a bubbly is well chilled, there will be a gentle stream of tiny bubbles that will last a long time as the carbon dioxide is slowly released.

Bubbles are formed at what are called “nucleation sites,” which are tiny surface imperfections in the glass. Some glass manufacturers will etch the bowl of a sparkling wine glass with a laser or an etching tool to get extra nucleation sites for continuous bubble formation. I’ve seen etching tools for sale to consumers, but I really can’t imagine buying a tool to do it yourself—it makes more sense to me to invest in a quality sparkling glass. Speaking of, once you have bubbles, you want to enjoy and capture them in your glass, which is why flutes or tulips are preferred, their shape acting as a chimney to channel the bubbles.

—Dr. Vinny

Wine Basics

We break down the basics—how to taste, serve, store and more. Plus:
» Maps of major wine regions
» Grape variety characteristics

How-to Videos

Learn to taste wine like a pro, pull a cork with flair, get great wine service in a restaurant and more

Wine Spectator School: All courses are FREE for WineSpectator.com Members

Learn from the experts and get the most out of each sip. Take one of our online courses or take them all—from the ABCs of Tasting to in-depth seminars on Food Pairing, California Cabernet, Bordeaux, Tuscany, Sensory Evaluation and more.

Browse our course catalog
Check out the professional wine sales and service courses
Learn Wine Forum: Got questions? Get answers

WineRatings+ app: Download now for 340,000+ ratings.