Champagne Maker Offers Safety Tips for De-Corking the Bubbly

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 often are caused by improperly opening the bottle, as a champagne cork is under 90 pounds of pressure--three times the pressure inside a car tire. While the numbers are not in for tonight's celebrations, Impact Databank says Americans will consume more than 900 million glasses of champagne this year, including more than 40 percent during the holiday season, and by any estimation that amounts to an eye-opening number of high-pressured bottle de-corkings in the next 24 hours. It is with such numbers in mind that Korbel Champagne Cellars of California offers the following five safety tips for breaking open the bubbly without injury or spillage:

  • 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).
  • Remove the foil cap covering the top of the bottle, exposing a wire hood.
  • Undo wire hood with six half-turns of the knob.
  • Hold 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.
  • Do not twist the cork. Rather, turn the bottle slowly while letting the cork glide out gently, emitting a gentle sigh.

Korbel adds that you should never use a corkscrew on a bottle of champagne. Because the champagne cork is highly compressed, the insertion of a corkscrew at an angle may result in having an exploding bottle in your hand, the company says.

"Opening a champagne bottle can be tricky, but don't be intimidated," says Gary Heck, Korbel owner and president. "These five easy steps to opening a champagne bottle will make your job much easier and faster."

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