Popping bottles is an almost indispensable component of any proper celebration. After all, when was the last time you fêted a newly-engaged BFF or relished the successful completion of a tough work project without the help of a festive Champagne toast? A glass of bubbly adds just the right touch of extra sparkle to any special moment — and we’re certainly glad that’s the case, because it makes us feel really fancy (and we love how it tastes too). We hate to bog down your celebrations with a lot of rules and regs, but you could probably stand to refresh yourself on some sparkling wine basics before you go ahead and pop that bottle (starting with the differences between Champagne, Crémant, Cava, etc.) — and it’s not just you. We recently met with winemaker Jessica Tomei of Cupcake Vineyards, and she let us in on an upsetting secret: We’ve been opening our bubbly all wrong.
Tomei is a highly trained wine expert with a bachelor’s in viticulture and ecology from University of California, Davis, but she’s not much of a stickler for the specific protocols that can often make the world of wine intimidating to the rest of us. She believes that wine drinking should be less about the label and more about the experience — her favorite movie snack combo is popcorn and Riesling — and she’s totally on board with drinking rosé year-round. “There are many ways to open wine, drink wine, and enjoy wine,” she encourages. “Less rules, more enjoying!”
That being said, she did point out that there are some major misconceptions out there about the correct way to open a bottle of sparkling wine. She offers the simple tips below to get party animals everywhere back on track:
1. Leave the cage on the cork. After you remove the foil from the top of the bottle, resist the urge to take off the metal cage before you finish opening. Leaving the cage intact will give you a better grip on the cork when you pop it.
2. Use a clean dish towel to protect yourself and your pals. Instead of clearing the room to avoid any cork-related accidents, put a clean dish towel over the bottle to catch the cork if it decides to fly off faster than anticipated. (Obviously, this is unnecessary if you’re trying to open the bottle with dramatic flair.)
3. Turn the cork slowly. Instead of pulling the cork out of the bottle quickly, hold the bottle and turn the cork slowly while it makes a quiet hiss. “It does become somewhat of a game to try to make as little amount of sound as possible, unless you are going for that dramatic, celebratory ‘pop’ sound,” Tomei explains. When the hissing sound is gone, your bottle should be ready to open.
4. Don’t open until right before you’re ready to drink. Save the big moment until it’s almost drinking time — and don’t forget that sparkling wine is best served chilled.
Which bubbly-opening tip surprised you the most? Tweet us @BritandCo!
(Photo via Getty)