HOWTO: open a champagne bottle

Look like an aggressive moron: Remove foil and wire basket around cork. Clasp bottle with both hands by the neck and work cork out with both thumbs. Shaking optional. For safest results, this method is only recommended off the side of a boat.

Look like a sommelier: Remove foil and wire basket. Place palm of left hand over cork. Clasp and gently twist cork. Pour chilled champagne into nearby flute. Switch hands if you’re left handed or want a “10” for degree of difficulty.

Look like a ninja sommelier (champagne sabering): Remove foil completely from the neck of the bottle and wire cork basket. Find the seam of the bottle with your thumb. Find a saber, machete or other sword-like instrument lying around. Holding the bottle firmly in your left hand, position sword at the base of the neck of the bottle on the seam. Swiftly move the sword up the the seam and strike the glass lip right where the seam meets it. Ideally the cork and top portion of the bottle will fly off. Note: best done outside. Also note, this will require much practice so as they say, “don’t try this at home”–or on a date since you might end up looking like this guy and wasting an entire bottle of bubbly (not to mention looking like a dork).

Recommended boutique, grower champagnes:

Pierre Gimonnet, nonvintage, $34 find this champagne
A blanc de blancs (only from chardonnay grapes) that has pleasant notes of green apple.

Lamandrier-Bernier, nonvintage, $38 find this champagne
A fresh, crisp wine from a boutique producer who practices biodynamics, a sort of “organic plus” style of farming.

Jean Milan, Terres de Noel, 2000, $70 find this champagne
This is also a blanc de blanc although richer than the other two in part thanks to the single vineyard where the grapes are grown but also because of a dash more sugar though it is hardly perceptible.

See my previous notes on rose champagnes.

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9 Responses to “HOWTO: open a champagne bottle”

  1. Method 1 works even better if you don’t chill the bottle, yell randomly throughout the process of opening.
    Upon “successfully” opening, take a swig directly from the bottle if there’s any left in it! Insist your guests do the same.

  2. Richie Benaud, one of Australia’s former cricket captains, and a keen drinker of Champagne, always recommends holding the cork and twisting the bottle – I’d have to agree.

  3. Thanks for the laugh this morning. Your post reminded me of a “champagne” event I will never forget. Back in college when Andre (shudder) was the bubbly of choice for formal events, my now husband and I were sitting in the bus waiting to leave for the dance. Seeing as how I had been the purchaser of the um, I don’t even want to dignify it by calling it sparkling wine, Andre, I had gotten a slightly better bottle of actual sparkling wine for us. My husband, trying to be impressive, as this was only our second formal event, opened our bottle with a little too much gusto, and shot the cork all the way to front of the bus, smacking the poor driver in the back of the head!

    He has since learned better methods, but thinking about that poor driver still makes me chuckle.

  4. Paul,



    That’s a, um, twist, that I also endorse!


    Glad you made it out of that one unscathed! It was Andre after all…

  5. Hi!

    Happy new year, I hope you had lot’s of great bottles to open! Mine included Veuve Cliquet vintage Rose from 99 and a bottle of Lanson Black. 🙂 Yummy!

    Just a small correction: you don’t actually turn the cork, but the bottle by holding it from its base.

  6. My fella managed to completely screw up my new year by opening a bottle of champagne like a Neanderthal, thusly spraying me squarely in the face right on the strike of twelve. Mascara and champagne combination really stings your eyes like crazy by the way.

  7. Marisa –


  8. […] What’s the best way to open Champagne? Well, the best way bar none is to be like the Japanese bottle slinger. Next best, try to go for the world sabering record in one minute. But if you really want to open a bottle like a pro, see our How to: open a Champagne bottle. […]

  9. Great article, but you always twist the BOTTLE not the cork.

    Well known rule, have a read around, you’ll find this is the standard now.




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