How to uncork a Champagne bottle

Happy holidays, my darlings! Señorita Vino has been on a much-needed Navidad break, so just in time for New Year’s Eve, I’m re-blogging a popular post on how to open a bottle of bubbly. 

My longer-term readers may recall that I originally wrote this post to coincide with the Academy Awards and my annual Oscars party. So just insert “New Year’s Eve” where you see “Oscars” or “Academy Awards” and you’ll be fine. Most important, here’s hoping your wine glass is always full in 2013.

Champagne will be flowing freely Sunday evening as Hollywood celebrates the 84th annual Academy Awards. Seeing the stars decked out in their finest is nothing like the kind of stars you’ll see if you’re hit with a rogue champagne cork at an Oscars party. If you’ve ever dreaded opening a bottle of sparkling wine, fear no more. Here, in five easy steps, is how to open a bottle of bubbly without losing an eye, your dignity, or a close amigo.

Step 1: Remove the foil.

Step 1: Removing the foil. Easy-peasy!

Some sparkling wine bottles will have a small tab, much like a bottle of olive oil or balsamic vinegar, that makes it easier to remove the foil.

Step 2: Remove the cage.

Step 2: Opening the cage. Six twists is all it takes.

That wire you see at the top of the bottle  is called the cage. Find the little piece of metal that looks like a twisted loop, pull it straight and untwist it six times so that the cage opens. Fun fact: Every twisty loop on every bottle of bubbly in the world takes six to six-and-a-half turns to come loose.

Step 2a: Wipe the bottle dry with a dish cloth.

Step 2a: Towel off! You don’t want a slippery bottle.

If the bottle has condensation on it, you may want to wipe it down with a towel so that you can get a firm grip without it being slippery. This will prepare you for Step 4.

Step 3: Hold the bottle at an angle and cover the cork firmly with one hand.

Step 3: Cover the cork, don’t pull on it.

Take note: cover the cork, don’t pull on it.  You’re preventing the cork from going flying by placing your hand on top of the bottle and pressing down with all your strength, or, as my mother would say, sin asco.

Step 4: Turn the bottle gently while keeping a firm grasp on the cork.

Step 4: We’re almost there! Twist the bottle, not the cork.

, you heard right. You’re not pulling on the cork. Trust me – it has all the motivation it needs to dislodge. Instead, you’re rotating the bottle itself while firmly grasping the cork until you feel pressure escape from the bottle. Make sure the bottle is not pointing at anyone, yourself included! It’s important not to panic here, chicas y chicos. Ideally, you should hear a fiesta-inducing pop, not a heart-attack-inducing BANG.

Keep the bottle tilted to avoid getting sparkling wine all over your outfit, hair, pets, furniture, etc. It’s that dignity thing we mentioned earlier. See step 5 below.

Step 5: Keep the bottle tilted unless you’ve  just won the Monaco Grand Prix.

What happens when you hold a just-opened bottle of sparkling wine upright? Two words: Champagne volcano. So resist the urge to turn the bottle upright once the cork comes off. Unless of course you’re christening a new cruise ship, winning the World Cup, or channeling F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald.

Step 5: Keep the newly-uncorked bottle tilted at an angle and pour the first glass.

Wasn’t that easy? Before your big Oscars bash, you may want to practice uncorking the bubbly on your own a few times, or with close friends who’ll still speak to you if you inadvertently shower them with a mini La Bufadora.

May your Academy Awards fiesta be a showstopper.

My 15-second acceptance speech:
I would like to thank my wonderful husband for taking these photos, for sharing a toast afterwards, and for making life one big Oscars party.

A disclaimer:

I took artistic liberty in using the word ‘Champagne’ in this post. The only sparkling wines that can be called Champagne are those that are made in the Champagne region of France. Generally speaking, all others can be considered ‘sparkling wine.’

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