Top 5 Tips for Opening and Serving Champagne for Celebrations
First, wipe the bottle with a clean cloth and show the champagne to everyone who will be drinking it.
If you’re splashing out on the real thing then don’t hide your light under a bushel!
PS watch the video demonstration above if you can’t be bothered to read all the tips below!
Tip No 1
Unwrap the top of the foil around the cork where it is already perforated and, holding your thumb over the cork to prevent it popping out, remove the wire muselet and metal cage by turning the twisted wire six times and lift this packaging off. Continue to hold your thumb on the cork of the bottle, wrapping your fingers around the neck (you can use the cloth if you like) and use your other hand to firmly grasp the bottle near its base.
Tip No 2
Always point the bottle away from your body at a 45º angle (ensuring it’s not pointing at anyone else) and begin to turn the bottle − rather than the cork − while still holding the neck and keeping pressure on the cork with your thumb. This will enable you to loosen the cork with a gentle sigh and avoid spilling any of the precious contents when the cork starts to come away from the bottle. The risk that the cork will pop is much greater if you turn the cork rather than the bottle.
Tip No 3
Wipe the mouth of the bottle with a cloth or the bottom of the cork and pour just a little champagne into each glass to let the foam die down and then top up to half way or maximum two-thirds (in order to leave enough room to appreciate the bouquet). Relax and enjoy!
Tip No 4
Don’t forget to return the bottle to your ice bucket or fridge to keep it chilled to the right temperature. If it’s a mature champagne, it’s worth putting a stopper in it (older champagnes are more fragile and sensitive to air exposure) but for a non-vintage, don’t worry unless you are keeping the remainder of the bottle overnight.
Tip No 5
There is nothing to be gained by putting a teaspoon in the neck of the bottle (yes its an old wives’ tale) and never turn an empty bottle upside down in the ice bucket in a restaurant or (heaven forbid) in Champagne itself as this is considered an insult to the producer!
Considered a friend to family members of many champagne houses in France, international award-winning champagne educator and author and Dame Chevalier Jayne Powell (known as Champagne Jayne) is a respected independent reviewer and expert in champagne. She holds a BA honours degree with distinction in French language, the globally recognised WSET Intermediate and Advanced Certificates in wines and spirits and has studied champagne at the Institut International des Vins de Champagne in France. Jayne particularly enjoys facilitating nights of champagne ‘edu-tainment’ for her enterprise and private clients.
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