How to Open a Bottle of Champagne or Sparkling Wine Like a Pro

Step away from the saber, my friend.

Nothing says "celebrate!" quite like a bottle of sparkling wine or Champagne (i.e., a sparkling wine made from grapes grown in the Champagne region of France and produced using the Méthode Champenoise). There's just something about those little bubbles that makes any gathering instantly more festive. But opening a bottle of Champagne, prosecco, or cava can feel a bit like shooting a rocket indoors. To pop and pour like a pro, watch this video.

Before you begin, chill. No seriously, keep in mind that a warm or room temperature bottle will be far more volatile and likely to explode the cork than one that is properly chilled. The proper serving temperature for sparkling wines should be colder than white wines, around 45 F.

What You Need

  • A chilled bottle of sparkling wine
  • A dish towel

Follow These Steps

  1. Remove foil. The foil on most bottles has a little tab that you can pull to make this process easier. If not, use a wine opener knife to begin this process. Once removed, discard the foil.
  2. Loosen the wire cage. Flip down the small wire "key" that's pressed up against the neck of the bottle at the bottom of the wire cage that encloses the cork. Turn the key to loosen the cage. (Fun fact: All bottles of bubbly require exactly six half-twists to fully remove the cage). When finished, discard the cage.
  3. Drape a dish towel over the bottle. This is used just in case built-up pressure causes the cork to pop on its own, but the towel will be at the ready to catch any wine spills, too.
  4. Twist your bottom hand until the cork eases out. Keeping the bottle pointed in a safe direction—away from you and other people—grasp the base of the bottle with your dominant hand and the cork with the other. Do not try to twist the cork. Instead, hold the cork firmly while turning the bottle slowly toward you, with your hand holding the base. As you turn the bottle from the base, you should feel the cork start to loosen and then ease into your hand. (Slight hiss = success.) Continue until you hear the soft pop of the cork leaving the bottle. Pro Tip: To avoid foamy overflow, pour only about an inch of wine into each glass at first, wait a few seconds for bubbles to subside, and then continue filling to just below the rim.
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