How to Properly Open a Bottle of Champagne
By Marie Gorbenko Published December 2021
Champagne, like any other kind of sparkling wine, can be a bit tricky or intimidating to open for anyone not well practiced in popping bottles. Occasionally, it can be a celebratory gesture where you shoot the cork out to the sound of cheers and fanfare. When you’re opening an elegant bottle of Champagne at a sophisticated gathering, you may want to be a little more reserved and refined with your cork popping technique. Not to fret! With a few tips from our wine experts, you’ll be popping and pouring a festive bottle of bubbles like a pro in no time.
Chill Your Bubbles
Our expert’s #1 tip: Always make sure the wine is very chilled – ideally between 40- and 45-degrees Fahrenheit. Otherwise, you run the risk of having all the delicious juice erupting forth and ending up on the floor—and not in your guests’ glasses, deflating both your ego and your fun.
Let’s Get to Opening
Now that you have your Champagne chilled and you’re ready to open it, you’ll want to inspect the capsule. All capsules have a small tab and a perforation just underneath. Locate that tab (some are labeled, while some are not - so it can be a little bit difficult to find) and peel the capsule to expose the cork and cage underneath.
Once you have the capsule removed, exposing the cork in the cage, find the metal tab on the cage and put some pressure on the top of it with your thumb (please note, most are sitting at 90 pounds of pressure, or about six atmospheres; and it’s carbonated). You’ll want to keep your thumb firmly on top of the bottle because, as you unscrew the cage, the cork is going to want to come out.
When you’re ready and the bottle is primed, grab it firmly from the base, holding the entire cage and cork in your hand. Begin turning the bottle from the base. If you're not comfortable holding the bottle from the base and you want to make sure you’re doing this correctly - you can simply put the bottle firmly on the counter, grab the top and open it. Just make sure that your thumb is still on top (because again—pressure and pop).
Now that you know how to open a bottle of Champagne, it’s time to celebrate your new-found skill by doing just that!
Ever wondered why Champagne and sparkling wine have much larger foil capsules around the neck compared to other wine? Here’s a fun fact:
You’ll notice that the Champagne bottle has a very large foil capsule—larger than most wine bottles. This is because, historically, the fill levels were never even, and the large capsule was a clever way to disguise the inconsistency with alluring aesthetics. This happened so often that the large capsule has now become an age-old tradition and a characteristic of Champagne. When serving, you don’t have to remove the entire capsule when you open a bottle of Champagne, but now you know why the bottles always look so big and fun!