As the New Year’s Eve celebrations are fast approaching, it is important to think about some of the dangers you don’t hear about. Champagne and sparkling wine is consumed in large amounts during all of the celebrations but take an extra minute to use the proper care so your celebration doesn’t end in a trip to the emergency room. Remember when you pop the bubbly to do so in a safe manner!
According to Friedrich Balck of Clausethal Technical University in northwest Germany, a champagne cork reaches speeds of over 20 miles per hour when it is popped and, theoretically, depending on the conditions, could reach up to over 60 miles per hour. There is more pressure from one bottle than there is in three car tires. When you think about that velocity, you can only imagine what can happen if that cork should happen to hit an eye. If you don’t lose your sight completely, you can pretty much guarantee it will never be the same as it is now. Even if it doesn’t hit a person, proper care should always be used because it can break anything it hits such as a light, a window, or even a television.
Opening a bottle under pressure such as a champagne bottle, sparkling wine, or prosecco safely can be done.
First, studies have shown a cooler beverage results in less pressure of the cork. Ideally, you would want the champagne chilled to around 39 degrees Fahrenheit (4 Celsius). This temperature also helps minimize the amount of champagne spraying out.
Next, remover the foil and the wire cage. Usually you just untwist the wire key at the bottom, under the cork, until it is loose enough to slide over the cork. Be careful not to do this until you are ready to uncork the bottle. Think of it as if you are removing the safety on a handgun. The minute the wire cage is off, the bottle should immediately be pointed in a safe direction away from anyone it can harm as the cork can pop out on it’s own depending on the pressure in the bottle.
Hold on to the main part of the bottle with one hand and place a dish towel or wine town over the cork with your other hand over the bulbous part of the cork and the towel.
Position the bottle against your hip or side to give you better control of the bottle and make sure it is aimed away from anyone and anything. Slowly begin twisting the cork with your hand gently working it out of the bottle. You will feel the cork loosen and get easier to work; then you should hear a soft pop when the cork slips out.
I know it is fun to hear that POP sound as the cork flies out. If you HAVE to hear that popping sound, make sure the bottle is facing away from you and others, including animals, and is pointed towards a wall or ceiling and nothing breakable. Look in the opposite direction UNTIL you hear the POP and then turn your head back.
While it is fun to enjoy any celebration with a bubbly drink, be sure to be smart and safe so the celebration can continue until YOU want it to end.
Happy New Year!
An added tip….if you choose to set off fireworks during your celebration, be sure to NOT drink too much champagne and always wear protective eye-wear and gloves!