Opening Champagne and Sparkling Wine

Most Champagne and sparkling wines are pretty tempting to open with great ceremony. Who doesn't think its hilarious to fire off a cork into the neighbours pool or shoot it into the back of a friend's head. Truth be told, corks can be pretty dangerous things and they travel at the kind of velocity that can permanently damage an eye. Wary are the professional Champagne openers…

That's why its good practice to learn how to open these bottles properly. First thing is first, make sure that the wine isn't shaken up like a paint tin at the hardware store. Creating extra pressure in the bottle won't help anyone and you're likely to lose a heap of your precious booze if things go awry. Step one is to remove the foil, you can do this by tearing a tab or peeling away some of the covering – that's the easy and safe part.

Step two is to undo the wire cage. It's best to keep a hand on top of the cork as this is done; the wire can give way if the pressure in the bottle is high. Step three is to hold the bottle at a 45 degree angle, and away from the body… don't want to accidentally fire it into your own face.

Step four is to gently twist the bottle while holding the cork. That's right, no wedging a finger under the stopper; the elegant way is to rotate the cork until the bottle gently 'sighs'. Applying some downward pressure on the cork as it starts to come out helps with the slowing down of the cork removal process. After the sigh, the cork should be almost out. Now just add Champagne flutes, a limousine, friends, lovers and get partying…

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