How To Properly Open A Bottle Of Champagne Without Going To The ER

Nothing quite signals a celebration like the popping open of a bottle of bubbly, and serving it in fluted glasses. And one particular sparkling beverage takes the cake: Champagne. But if you're hosting a party, the last thing you want to do is fumble with the bottle, unsure of how to open the top in a safe yet festive way. Luckily, with the right techniques and precautions, it's easy to crack open your bottle of Champagne to mark any special occasion.

First, don't bother with the dramatics of popping the cork or spraying the fizzy champagne into space, or worse right into yours or someone's face — seriously, a rogue cork accident will ruin more than just your party's mood. Instead, the basic maneuver you need to know to safely open your bottle of Champagne is to hold it at an angle away from yourself and others while slowly and steadily twisting from the base of the bottle with one hand, firmly holding the cork with the other. It helps to use a towel over the top to provide a little extra support as you twist. This way, the cork will gently lift from the pressure-filled liquid into your hand without breaking a lamp or maiming any guests. 

More tips for properly opening Champagne

Made exclusively in the Champagne northeast region of France, Wine Country explains the sparkling wine gets its effervescent nature from a double fermentation. Once the cuvée, or base wine, is fermented, an additional fermentation occurs right in the bottle by introducing yeast and sugar, from which carbon dioxide bubbles form, along with its signature flavor similar to buttery brioche bread.

Building on what was shared above, to keep those bubbles (and the wine) safely in the bottle when you remove the cork, remove your ice or fridge-chilled bottle a few minutes before it's time to pour and serve it. Dry any condensation off the bottle's exterior with a dish towel to make it easier to handle, remove the decorative foil, and then twist open the coiled end of the metal seal top or cage. Be sure just to loosen it, letting it act as a cap over the cork while you open the bottle.

Then, while holding the bottle at a 45-degree angle (away from your face and others) securely in one hand from the base of the bottle, firmly grasp the cork and loosened cage top. It helps to cover the cork with a towel for a firmer grip and to catch any unexpected spills. Twist from the bottom gently and slowly loosen the cork. Don't worry about using a lot of muscle here to twist — the pressure from the bubbly will push the cork up, releasing the cork with a tasteful pop and fizz.

How to serve and enjoy Champagne

To serve your Champagne, it's best to use celebratory fluted wine glasses so you can enjoy its effervescent look, but any stemmed wine glass will do. When you're just about ready for a flavorful toast, hold the bottle with a towel to prevent warming the wine with your hands, and pour it slowly at a 45-degree angle to avoid an overly foamy glass.

Enjoy Champagne with decadent desserts like chocolate souffle, mini hazelnut tarts, or homemade birthday cake. For true Champagne lovers, add Champagne to your chocolate cake batter as the baking liquid for an extra boozy twist. The sparkling wine is also excellent paired with cheese and charcuterie, where its fizzy mouthfeel serves as a nice palate cleanser between bites.

Remember, since Champagne wine exclusively comes from Champagne, France, you'll want to savor the special and unique grapes and tastes of the region with this particular bubbly by keeping as much in the bottle — and your glass — as possible. However, you can naturally use the same gentle yet steady and firm method to open other corked bottles of sparkling wine like Prosecco, Cava, or Lambrusco. Equally important is to have fun with the process as you learn to pop your bubbly — as long as you open your bottle safely, some small splashes and spills are normal along the way.