It's New Year's Eve, and what better way to ring in the new year than by ceremoniously opening a bottle of your finest Champagne or sparkling wine?

Popping Champagne corks is the way to go! When you hold the bottle of bubbles and open it, you become the center of attention. It doesn't matter if you saber a bottle or pop it.

Special tricks with Champagne are always welcomed at parties. (Morena/

All eyes are on you, with cameras rolling and live streams buzzing. It's your moment to shine. But how exactly do you pop the cork with flair, and what are the key points to remember?

Here's our quick, stylish guide to doing it just right.

The Basics

The magic lies in selecting a traditionally fermented sparkling wine, such as Champagne, Cava, Winzersekt, or Franciacorta. This traditional fermentation process is crucial, as it creates the necessary pressure inside the bottle.

Remember, wines sealed with lower pressure may not provide that dramatic 'pop' we're all anticipating. And before we dive into the main event, do take a moment to read the safety guidelines provided below.

Spraying Champagne is the way to party. (Photo: Nikolay N. Antonov/

Popping the Cork the Classic Way:

When it's time to pop the cork, make sure you haven't shaken the Champagne, especially if you're indoors. This helps avoid any unexpected spills. However, if you're outdoors and feeling adventurous, a good shake can result in an impressive fountain effect.

  • Start by removing the tin foil and then carefully open the agraffe, which is the metal cage, by twisting it six times.
  • The top of the cork must be clear.
  • Once the cage is off, keep your thumb securely over the cork to prevent any premature popping.
  • Be mindful of your surroundings and make sure you don't point the bottle at anyone.
  • Gently place your thumb under the lip of the bottle. Carefully remove the bottle from its neck. Allow it to make a joyful popping sound.
  • Hold your thumb over the bottle, leaving a small gap for the wine to escape.
  • Celebrate.

Follow the seam of the bottle with the saber. (Photo: Dewald/

Sabering the Cork

Have you ever witnessed the dramatic spectacle of opening a Champagne bottle with a saber? Called sabrage, this technique is popular on social media, where a sommelier uses a saber to open a bottle.

The result is a theatrical burst of wine, with the cork soaring through the air, followed by a frothy cascade. The sommelier, standing victorious with the saber, makes for an unforgettable photo.

Surprisingly, the act of sabering champagne, a trick that is both dangerous and impressive, is simpler than it appears.

How to perform sabrage like a pro

  • Chill the bottle of sparkling wine to about 47-50 degrees fahrenheit (8-10°C)
  • Read and understand the safety guidelines at the bottom of this article.
  • Remove the foil and the agraffe from the bottle.
  • Keep your thumb on the cork to prevent it from popping prematurely.
  • Be cautious and make sure you do not direct the bottle towards anyone.
  • Rotate the bottle to locate the seam of the glass - this is the long horizontal line running along the bottle.
  • It's crucial to follow this seam closely, as it's the weakest point of the bottle. Otherwise it can explode and hurt you and surrounding people.
  • Position the saber below the neck of the bottle, aligning it with the seam.
  • In one fluid motion, glide the saber along the seam, striking the neck of the bottle sharply.
  • Watch as the Champagne bursts out, and don't forget to strike a pose for the camera!

What do you need for a successful sabrage

What's exciting is that you don't necessarily need a traditional saber for this trick. To open a glass bottle, hit the neck with a strong object along the seam. Different methods can be effective. Some creative options include:

  • A sturdy wine glass.
  • A table knife (be cautious with sharpness).
  • Ceremonial daggers or a custom collector's sword for added flair.
  • A wrench - unconventional but effective.
  • A screwdriver.
  • Even a Nokia 3310, known for its legendary sturdiness.

Remember, while sabrage is a fantastic party trick, safety is paramount. Ensure you've read all safety instructions and practiced the technique in a safe environment before attempting it.

Opening the Champagne Bottle Quietly

When you're in a situation where popping every bottle of Champagne isn't ideal, or if you want to avoid any gushing messes, here's a professional, quick, and effective way to open the bottle silently.

  • Carefully peel off the foil covering the top of the bottle.
  • Gently twist the wire cage, known as the agraffe, six times to loosen it.
  • Secure the cork with your thumb, holding the top of the bottle.
  • Ensure you’re not pointing the bottle at anyone.
  • With your other hand, grip the bottom of the bottle for stability.
  • Tilt to a 45 degree Angle. This angle helps in controlling the pressure release.
  • Turn the Bottle. While firmly holding the cork, gently rotate the bottle, not the cork, to ease it out.
  • Continue to keep the bottle at a 45 degree angle while loosening the cork gently.
  • After Removing the Cork. Maintain the angle to ensure the Champagne doesn’t gush out.
  • Pour and Enjoy. Now, you can serve the Champagne quietly and elegantly.

Safety Guidelines

Ensuring safety during your champagne opening festivities is crucial. Here are some guidelines to help prevent accidents:

  • Avoid Pointing at People: Never aim the bottle at anyone. A bottle of Champagne has about 6 times the pressure of a car tire due to its fermentation process. This can cause serious injury, such as loss of eyesight, due to flying corks.
  • Hold at a 45 degree Angle: Always hold the bottle at a 45 degree angle. This position helps control the direction of the cork and reduces the risk of it flying off dangerously.
  • Thumb on the Cork: Keep your thumb securely over the cork while loosening the agraffe. This provides control and prevents the cork from popping prematurely.
  • Caution: When using a saber or similar tool to open a bottle of wine, be cautious. The pressure typically removes glass pieces, but there is still a possibility of small particles ending up in the wine. Consuming these particles could be dangerous. Always follow the seam, as its the weakest part of the bottle.
  • Show your Friends: If one of your friends wants to pop a bottle, make sure he is aware on how to do it correctly. Maybe he will take center stage at the next special occasion.

As we eagerly await the party and the commencement of the new year, armed with our newfound knowledge of popping the cork, we can start the year with a celebration.

Cheers to the New Year from the VinoVoss Team!

Peter Douglas

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